Getting My Life Back... My Angel And Elvis
By Dan Hawthorne • May 27, 2018
My name is Dan Hawthorne, my girlfriend (Patricia Garber) and future wife (If She says Yes) Live in Winchester Virginia. I am a 20 plus year radio vet and she is a published author of two Elvis Presley Fantasy books. We have a very amazing story I would like to share with you. It's a little long, but i'll make it as short as possible. Back in 2010, my life was at a all time low. I hated life, I hated myself and I hated God, I blamed him for everything wrong in my life. I was in a deep depressed state. I was in a very unhealthy marriage, I weighed six hundred and fifty pounds. All my dreams had ended and I was expecting a visit from the Grim Reaper any day. The dreams of a successful radio career was over, the dream of knowing real true love and finding that soulmate was way beyond reach for me, or so I thought. Not much in life excited me anymore. The one thing that still made me happy was Elvis. I have always been a Elvis fan my entire life, he was my happy place when things went wrong.
Years earlier in my life I would talk as him on the radio, those were fun happy days for me. In 2010 I was in a Elvis fan club and made friends with people from all over the world. Friends for life. I would of course use old photos of a healthier happier me. I made one particular friend who lived close and we had several visits. I found out this friend had become ill and his time on this earth was limited. His dream was to see Graceland and visit Memphis. I decided it was time to swallow my pride and take him to Memphis. I knew I would see all of those folks I had friended in the Elvis fan club. I knew they would be surprised and shocked at my girth, but I also knew how important it was for my friend to make this trip, so I set it up and we made the 12 hour trek. The first night in Memphis we attended a big sock hop/dance. The Elvis tunes were blasting people was laughing and having a great time. I remained in my bubble, i was embarrassed at my appearance. I did manage to smile and several very nice people came over to me, I did as little walking as much as I could, my body was in such pain. People were very kind to me and many are now friend in person that i will have for life. Still I was in my bubble.
Then it happened, I saw a real life angel pass in front of me. She was so pretty and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I watched her dance and mingle. I saw her pretty smile and it melted me. I knew who she was, I recognised her from the fan club. It was that author...Patricia Garber. I wanted to talk to her, I wanted to say "Hello" but I wasn't ready. I just couldn't. I didn't even know if she would remember me or know who I was. I made sure not to make eye contact. She sat right across from me the whole evening, I felt I had the best view in the room. I left that night thinking, Dan Dan Dan, you should have spoke to her.
The next day, my group attended a ceremony at the same hotel. We went to support our fan club as they presented money raised to help charities in Memphis. To my surprise, I sat three rows right behind that pretty angel again. Here we go again, the angel on one shoulder saying, "Go ahead Dan go say hi to Patricia", The other shoulder was holding the little guy in red, saying "Don't do it you fat idiot, she wont know you, you'll look like a complete fool and she will see how fat you are, so sit down and shut up". We'll the guy in red won. That was the last I seen her on the trip. I spent the rest of it trying to be normal but the body wasn't working with me. I had to leave the Graceland tour and find a bench, the steps, the walking was to much on my strained body. I couldn't do much, but it felt good to see my friend enjoy everything. We went to Sun Records, I couldn't do the tour as steps and crowds were very much involved, so I sat and drank my milkshake while the others toured the legendary studio. We ate some great BBQ and took in all the Elvis vibes. It was a good trip and i'm glad I was able to help my buddy to live out one of his dreams.
My health continued to decline and it wasn't long after that I find out we lost him. I knew my time was short if I couldn't make a change. I knew I was dying both inside and out. I had to make a change. I was standing in front of a mirror in Ocean City Md one day. It was about 1 am in the morning, my wife was gone as usual and I was all alone. The marriage had been over for years, we were just roomates and making one another miserable at this point. I began to stare at that image. I hated him, I wanted to break the mirror. I called him every name in the book, I yelled at God and blamed him for my mess. After several minutes of this battle, I stopped, I leaned in real close to that mirror. I looked deep into the soul, and I began to cry like a baby. I heard Dan calling out for help. I saw his heart dying and I knew he wanted to live. I apologised to him and I apologised to God. I told that man in the mirror that somehow he would get his life back.
Shortly after that moment of Zen aka my mirror moment, I began a new journey. I started making changes in my life, I began eating better and making better choices, there were tons of roadblocks and a constant battle between those two shoulder guys I mentioned above, but I kept fighting, I kept going. People began to notice me, they saw my struggle and they saw my progress. My whole personality changed back to that happy guy I once was. I started to focus on the beauty all around me. I eventually separated from the marriage that was holding both of us back and were both ok now and no bad or hard feelings, as we both wish the best for one another. I made peace there. Lot's of people were asking me questions about how I learned to like "ME" again and how I made changes. Many were suggesting I write a book, but I had no knowledge on writing a book. More interest was coming so the thought entered my mind. Then I remembered that beautiful angel from the Elvis fan club, the writer Patricia Garber. I was friends with her on FB but very little exchanges ever occurred between us, a like here and there etc. I decided to write to her privately and ask her opinion and advice. IU was nervous as she had made a impact on me and I was still worried about how she would perceive me.
So I took the dive and sent her a PM, asking her advice and such I remember saying " I hope you remember me". She replied back and said of course she remembered me and had been following my journey on FB. She told me my story was very inspirational. Now she is a fantasy writer and both of her books were stories about a special angel that God sends to help a lady in desperate need, that angel just happened to be Elvis Presley. Patricia gave me lot's of words of encouragement and advice about the book writing process. I wrote back and thanked her and began searching locally for a ghost writer who would be interested in helping me to tell my story. Then one day out of the blue, I received a new message from Patricia. She said " Call me crazy, I'm always the story teller in my books, I create the worlds and the characters, but I believe a higher power wants me to help you share this story".
I was so excited, I couldn't believe it. Now the hard part. Patricia lives in Yakult Washington and I live in Hagerstown Md. We're thousands of miles apart. Thank God for SKYPE. That's were we began. As well as a published author, Patricia has also worked for a major airline for thirty years and that comes into play in a bit. I continued to journal daily, I would share everything with her, my horror stories, my dreams, my memories all of it. About once a week we would SKYPE and go over everything. The time had come now for us to sign papers and make a leagal agreement about the book. She also needed to see the places I spoke about, meet friends, family, taste those donuts that had become so important to me. A writer needs to know and understand. She came to Hagerstown and I was still legally married at the time and my still wife went with me to the airport to pick up Patricia. Patricia was also married and I knew little about that part of her life. My feelings for her weren't sexual or inappropriate, it was more like a crush. I knew she was married and I always respected that and I knew she was a good girl. I guess she was like a celebrity or tv star in my eyes.
Her visit was going great, she met several of my friends, we all hung out one evening sharing Dan stories with her, she had dinner with my family and got lots of stories from my sisters and mother. The next day or two it was my turn to take her around and show her all the places I spoke of, my childhood home on Pope Ave, the corner store were I enjoyed those chocolate milks and Hostess cherry pies, I took her to my old high school etc. We also need to talk book and go over things, we went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel early one morning to begin the day. She told me that she appreciated all my honesty and also told me if there were things I was uncomfortable talking about, I didn't have to do so. I told her I felt I needed to be as honest with her as possible so I began to share things about my broken marriage. Up to this point, it was the one thing I spoke very little about.
As I was talking, I saw a look in her eyes. She had become a little emotional and I wasn't sure why. I apologised and said "I'm sorry, am I upsetting you?". She replied, "I'm just relating to your story". Wow, I thought, she really does understand my situation and she is experiencing much of the same thing as me. That was a moment I will never forget and i knew we had a bond now, a special bond, she even began to share some things with me.
So the day came and she had to fly back to WA. We continued to SKYPE and work on the project. We also found time to chat after the book stuff. We would talk about God, Elvis, Ghosts, Movies, lots of stuff. I had a special friend now and I adored her. I had officially filed for divorce and moved out of the apartment now. My life was moving forward.
Patricia was still battling issues on her side of the world. One day she gets notified that the airline she worked for was letting go of many people and she would need to look for a new HUB. There wasn't many choices for her, but Dullas international in Virginia needed help. She needed a new start, as her marriage was also over at this point. I told her she was welcomed to come here and I would help her out. She was reluctant as any sensible lady would be, but I think she knew me pretty good and felt she could trust me. So she signed on with Dullas and come to the east coast. I was her only friend here until I began introducing her to more of my friends and everybody loved her. As time went on our bond grew, and I knew I was falling in love. I couldn't hold back much more, I began to tease her and say "Your going to fall in love with me Trish", and she would laugh and say, "OK Hawthorne, what ever you say".
We'll guess what? She did lol and my dreams were coming true. In this time we learned how similar we were to one another. We liked the foods, the same movies, the same songs. I could go on forever about that. Part of getting myself and life back was to get myself back out there in the real world. With still very big issues like joints and broken ankles and a ton more that I won't bore you with, there wasn't much I could do, but I could do radio. I also used to tease Patricia and tell her "One day your going to do radio with me, you would be a great partner and cohost". Again she would laugh and say "OK Hawthorne, what ever".
Just a little under two years ago, I had got wind of a little LP station in Greencastle PA. 93.7 WRGG was new and was looking for help. There a small community low power station. I thought, what a great way to get back into radio, no pressure as it a volunteer station and its tiny. I went in one day and sat in with the morning show host and manager Greg Hoover. I did some voices and such, had a great time. I started talking to Greg about my love for Elvis and his music. WRGG is a oldies station and Elvis is very loved in these parts for sure. I also told him about Patricia and a idea I had for a weekly two hour all Elvis show hosted by myself, Patricia and another friend and ETA Kevin Booth. Greg was sold and said, pick a day and time and we will make it happen.
In November of 2016, ELVIS NOW RADIO took to the airwaves. Greencastle was loving it and we were having a fantastic time. WRGG also broadcasts on line, and all of us had been sharring this on our FB pages. We started getting messages from all over the US from folks who was listening. Kevin had some issues and had to leave the show, so Patricia and I revamped the show and because we were starting to to get a lot of listeners in the US, we thought maybe it was time to change the name of the show, as we didn't want to get in any trouble with EPE aka Elvis Presley Enterprise. They own his image and likeness, so we had a artist friend create us a new logo and we officially became "Blue Suede Connection". As our show progressed and we began getting messages from Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, all over Europe and countries I cant ever pronounce, heck, I don't even know were they are. The word syndication started to pop up. We began researching and talking to folks in the radio world that had syndicated shows. Greg Hoover at WRGG gave us his blessings and even said, "I'm surprised you two have waited this long". Patricia and I started work on a little promo package with a small sample of the show and our info.
The next thing we knew we were on in Main, then Georgia, two more stations in PA came aboard. Ohio, OR, WA,CA, they just kept coming. Next to sign on was stations in the UK. I never dreamed back in 2010 my life would be were it is today. I was ready to get that knock on the door from The Grim Reaper.
Today, I know understand and have that true love I only dreamed about, I have my soulmate and its that angel I saw float across the room in that Memphis Hotel in 2010. We are currently broadcasting on over 30 stations across the globe playing ELVIS music and throwing our weekly party. We're on five stations in The UK, two in Canada and just started in Antiqua, Barbuda. Life is is just amazing, I recently had surgery on that bad ankle I spoke about and was out of commission foot wise for a long long time and a few pounds came back, but I know what to do and I will never allow myself to turn into that 650 pound giant again. I'm a very thankful and blessed man. I wake up everyday with a positive heart and spirit. I hope you like my story. I could share so much more as this is the very shortened version.
Have a great day.......Dan
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