Jonnita Brewer Barrett, Daughter of Anita Wood Brewer, Author

Hi, I’m Jonnita, the daughter of Anita Wood who dated Elvis Presley from 1957 to 1962.  I have spent my entire life enchanted by stories from my mother, grandmother, uncles and even my daddy about Momma’s life with Elvis.  During the summers when I would visit my grandmother in Tennessee I used to watch Elvis movies and listen to his records while imagining what it must have been like to be in love with this Movie Star, Legend, King of Rock n’ Roll.

Over the years many, many people have asked my mom to write a book about her experiences but she never has.  With encouragement from the family, Mom and I worked together for years recapping the stories of her life that are at last recorded in the book, Once Upon A Time: Elvis and Anita.  I hope you’ll enjoy it and let me know what you think!

66 thoughts on “Jonnita Brewer Barrett, Daughter of Anita Wood Brewer, Author

  1. I am so excited about this book! I have always been fascinated by the life of Elvis Presley. As a child, my parents would ask where do you want to go on vacation and the answer was always the same, Graceland. Thank you for writing this book.

    • It is so cool that you were such an Elvis fan even at a young age. He just continues to attract new fans regardless of age. I am excited about it too!!

  2. Jonnita, I am so excited for you and your mom!! This is great. I know years ago you talked about all your wonderful memories about her stories of Elvis. I saw the sparkle in your eyes when you talked about it then so I know how much this means to you. I know, this like everything else you do will be with your whole heart. Good luck and I can not wait to get a copy and read it!! You have grown to be a very blessed and beautiful young woman and I know you parents are proud of you!! Love ya !!!

  3. I’m so excited to see all your hard work, time and effort coming to fruition in getting this book out to the public. Many people have asked me when it would be published, so now they won’t have to wait much longer! Get ready for all the publicity and interviews that you and your Mom will encounter!!

  4. I can remember when your little brother was in my kIndergarten class and people would comment about Amita’s life. Our life “is what it is” as they say and her’s was unusual and people will enjoy reading it. She is a sweet lady.

    • Thank you, she is a sweet lady. I hope people enjoy her story, she still doesn’t see the big deal. Like you said, “It is what it is.”

  5. Jonnita,
    Please let me know as soon as this book is released for sale and where it will be available, I certainly want to purchase a copy!! I remember your mom from the times I visited with Elvis and Vernon at Graceland, she was a very sweet and nice young lady, and I thought of her as a very special lady!! Can’t wait to read the book of her life there!
    Mackey Hargett

  6. Jonnita! I am sooooo excited you are finally completing this work of love. I have waited FORTY + years to see the GOOD STUFF about Elvis & Anita in print. This is a long time coming, and I am possitive it will be a book no one will be able to put down. Anita is so lucky to have a daughter like you to compile her memories. I know your Uncle Andy is watching over you & your endeavors. All my best! LET US KNOW WHEN YOUR FIRST BOOK SIGNING WILL BE………. Sharon

  7. Hey there! Congratulations on your book! i’ve always wondered how their relationship was like. You and your mom are so beautiful, i’m sure she is very proud of you (: I know this might be too soon to tell but do you think you guys can make a movie someday about this?? that would be so cool! anyways, can’t wait to read the book. Lots of love, take care! xoxo

    • Thank you so much! It has been a journey for both of us. I have no idea if someone will be interested in making a movie one day. I think it would be great!

  8. Hello! I’m excited to know that your mom has finally done this book with your help. I can’t wait to read it soon, i’m sure it is going to be a great love story! I also agree with the whole movie idea, you guys should do it one day. God bless!
    With all my best,
    Lily.

  9. Hi Jonnita thank you so much for writing such an amazing book about your wonderful mum Anita. As an Elvis fan I have always loved it when Elvis was with Anita and as soon as I heard about this book I ordered it asap. I have since received it and love it so much, it is now with all my other loved Elvis books. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful love story and thank you to your mum for allowing you to share it with us all.
    Thanks again
    Laura

    • Hi Laura!

      Thank you for reading our book and letting us know how you liked it. Few people take the time to let us know how they liked the story but we love to hear what people think of the book and of Mom’s story. Moma and Elvis loved each other very much and I hope it shows through in the book. Thank you again for getting the book and for writing to us!

  10. Cannot wait to read your book “Elvis and Anita” ..Will your book be available in Orange County California and will there also be any book signings from your mother here also? Been to Memphis and Graceland the past 6 years for Elvis week and hope to have Anita be in on the “Conversations on Elvis” as a guest any upcoming news on this also?

    • It would be a small miracle to get Moma to fly to LA!! But the books are available here on-line. As far as being involved in an event in Memphis, she would probably do that if in the right venue. I hope you like the book!

  11. Hello, I ordered the book the other day, but did not get a confirmation of any kind. I tried to leave a “reply” to ask if it was completed and it did not show up. I wonder if I am doing something wrong? I would love to get an autographed book, signed “To Pam”… 🙂 Can you let me know if my order was completed?
    Also, I have some wonderful pictures of Anita with Gary Pepper and also with Albert Hand from 1962. I have Roy Barlows scrapbook from when they visited and Gary had a party for them at Gene Smith’s house. A couple of these pictures were used in the Elvis Monthly magazines.
    Let me know if there is an email address I can send the photos to, I would love to share them with you.
    Thanks for finally writing this book, i can not wait to read it! 🙂

  12. Jonnita,
    I am sure you don’t remember me, I am Sherry and Lanier’s daughter. The last time I saw you was when we were both children (my Mom & Dad came down for the battle with the Commercial Appeal)….anyway my mom told me about the book, then I see the facebook pics of the book signing and it reminded me. Just purchased a copy. Good luck to you both. I know you must be way excited to get your Mom’s memories committed to paper….

    • Lori,
      Yes, I remember you! It took me a little time to place your mom together in my memory with her teaching me to water-ski but I did! She looked great this weekend and I enjoyed seeing her. Thanks for getting a book, I hope you enjoy reading it!

  13. Dear Jonnita, my name is Angels and I’m from Barcelona (Spain). I always loved your Mom’s story with Elvis and I was very happy when I read that you wrote this book. As I could not find it in Barcelona, I asked my aunt that lives in Los Angeles to by it and this morning I just received it!!! I’m so happy. I cannot wait to start reading it. Thank you very much to share your Mom’s memories with us. I’m sure I will enjoy the book very much. All my wishes from Barcelona. I hope to meet you some day. Next January I’ll be in Memphis for Elvis Aniversary and then I’m going to Hawaii to celebrate the 40th Aloha Aniversary. Have a nice day!

    • Angels,
      You are so very welcome! I hope you like the book and let me know what you think after you read it. Hopefully we will meet one day! We’ll be in Memphis this January and who knows, maybe next year too. I’ll keep you posted on this site. Take care!

  14. Dear Jonnita,
    I ordered the book on line, a very simple and quick transaction.
    ( Add special instructions to the seller, leave my message for you.)
    I hope it is ok so..
    Thank’s you!
    Greets Daniela

  15. Dear Jonnita, I liked your mom’s and your book very much. Very good read. Your mom seems to be a very classy lady. And she sure was beautiful and very talented. I made a post on my German blog http://www.memphisflash.de with regard to her version of ‘Crying In The Chapel’ and will add another one within the next couple of days where I say more about the book itself. Best wishes, patricia.

  16. Thanks for the hard work you put into this book. I just finished it yesterday. I first met Anita in Graceland in December of 1960. On page 107 she is wearing a plaid skirt and it could be the same one I saw her wear. At that time I was the American representative for Albert Hand’s Elvis Monthly magazine. Anita graciously invited me to her wedding and I rode with Gary Pepper and his mom. We stopped by her parents home for just a short hello before getting a bite to eat and going on to the wedding. She was absolutely stunning that day. I still have a box with one or two of her 45 records, an 8 x 10 glossy (the one on page 217), various newspaper clippings, and her sweet thank you note for the wedding present. It would be my pleasure to send these to you to share with your family. .

      • Finally, after 2 days searching I have found the 8 x 10 glossy photo but the clippings, thank you note, and record(s) are still eluding me. I thought they were all in one place but I found the photo safely tucked in a box with family photos. I remember thinking that it could get bent but didn’t recall putting it there for safety’s sake. Should I send the photo to the address in the front of your book? You have my email address in case you want me to send it elsewhere.

  17. Hi Ms. Jonnita:

    I sent you a message on this site and did’t get a reply so I don’t now if you got it or not. My name is Barb and I live n Calgary, Alberta Canada. I was wondering if your book will be at book stores here in Calgary? I would really like to read it. I have always enjoyed reading tidbits about your mom and Elvis. Will sign off for now and hope you get this.

    B. Goodwin

    • Hi, thank you for writing. I’m sorry you didn’t see my response. I’ll repost it here. Have a great day!

      Submitted on 2012/11/02 at 1:38 pm | In reply to Barb Goodwin.
      Thank you, Barb! Our book is not in book stores yet but it is available online here under “Purchase Autographed Book.” It’s also available at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com but it’s not signed on those sites. There have been several people say that they wished Momma had married Elvis but then I wouldn’t be here! Ha ha! They had a beautiful romance during a magical time in music history and I just thought it had to be told. I hope you can get the book and enjoy the read. Best to you!

  18. Thank you for the Book….I’m very lucky about the Message from your beautiful Mom.
    Greets from Switzerland, Daniela

  19. Hey, so I’ve been watching Michael Jackson music videos with my dad and we’ve been talking about how Elvis had another daughter. I was just wondering, is Elvis your father? And if so, is any of your past with him mentioned in your book? And if it is mentioned, how can I get ahold of a copy of your book? A response to this would be much appreciated. Also, fun fact, around 1978, my father met you in San Bernardino. And you have been in his prayers ever since. Thank you so much for your time!(:

    • Hi, Hannah,
      No, I’m not Elvis’ daughter but I have been asked that all my life. You can order a signed copy of the book on this web site. It’s a small world, tell your father thank you for the prayers!

  20. Dear Jonnita and Mrs. Brewer
    I just received your book yesterday afternoon and could not put it down it was so good to read about the relationship your Mom had with Elvis it really was so sweet and I just wanted to thank her for sharing her memories. He was truly lucky to have such a wonderful lady in his life. Thank you again the book was wonderful and very well written. God Bless you both

    Lisa

  21. I have always been fascinated and wanted to know more about the time your mom spent with the KIng! Elvis was absolutely gorgeous in his day and your mom was no exception. By the way, you look exactly like your mom when she was younger. Thanks for writing the book as I just ordered it last week and can’t wait to read about the time your mom spent with Elvis.
    God Bless!

    P.S. Your mom is a class act as she could have written her story decades ago!

  22. Hi Jonnita,

    the second post in my German blog about your wonderful book and of course the love story of your mother with Elvis is online: http://www.memphisflash.de/2012/12/elvis-presley-und-anita-wood-once-upon-a-time-teil-1/. A second post will follow next week. I already did an article about “Crying in the Chapel” a couple of weeks ago: http://www.memphisflash.de/2012/10/anita-wood-und-elvis-presley-crying-in-the-chapel/.

    If you need any help with translation, please let me know.

    Best wishes,
    patricia

  23. Hi Jonnita,
    I’ve been an Elvis fan my whole life and will be sure to buy your book.
    Thanks for writing it. I always thought your mom was stunningly beautiful
    when she was young and she seemed so classy to me. Elvis and your mom
    were both from the South, someone Elvis could relate to. And nothing against
    Priscilla, but I always wished Elvis had married your mom. I just feel they had
    a connection, you know, same backgrounds and such…. I also believe they would
    have stayed married and that she was good for him. Maybe his life would have
    turned out different! Anyway, look forward to reading your book. All the best to you and your mom!
    Marina.

  24. hi jonnita+anita,i would like to say ive not long purchased your book{waiting for arrival,to england}i did send message but no reply from you,i know life is busy,but hoping you did receive it?im a elvis fan like so many others but not lucky enough or old enough to seen elvis live,but now ive been graceland twice{not as often as i would like,lol}but pennies are hard to save,ive read soooooo many books,by soooo many friends and try to see elvis as a human not just a mega star,cause we all have lives problems+cruel upsets,so i do like to know he was human.and im sure your book will give some true and interesting different read,cant wait to get it,and all our love from england,junexxx

  25. I just ordered your book and am looking forward to reading it. I’m one of the original Elvis fans from the 1950’s and have collected many books about Elvis. My Elvis room is full and I have very little room left for any more books, but decided to get this one. Wish I could have been in Memphis when you and your mom were there. Is there a way I could get a recent photo of you and your mom? I would love to have one. Thanks so for taking the time to write this book! Best Wishes, Dina Angus

  26. HI,NOT SURE IF YOUR ABLE TO READ MY MESSAGES,I ORDERED YOUR SIGNED BOOK AROUND 20TH FEB,I SURE YOU HAVE LOTS TO SIGN AND WILL PROBALY TAKE LONGER THAN NORMAL,BUT GOT NOTHING TO SAY WHEN APPROX IT WILL BE DELIVERED,JUST HOPING ALLS OK(JUST DESPERATE TO READ.LOL)AND WORRIED IF THERES A PROBLEM AS NOT SURE HOW TO GET IN TOUCH,I DO HAVE REF;NO.AND RECEIPT TO SAY ALLS OK,THIS END,THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND HOPE THERES NO PROBLEM,CHRRS JUNEX

    • HELLOOOO,MY BOOKS BEEN DELIVERD TODAY(NEARLY SNATCHED IT OUT OF THE POSTIES HANDS,LOL)NOT DONE ANY READING YET DONT WANT BE DESTURBED,HAHA,JUST WANT TO SAY ONE BIG THANK-YOU,TO YOU&YOUR MUM,BEAUTIFULLY SIGNED,HOPE YOU GET MY MESSAGE,LOTS OF LOVE FROM ENGLAND&THANK YOU,AGAIN,JUNEXXX

      • I’m so happy your book has been delivered! I hope you get a change to read the book soon! Thank you so much for ordering from us! Love and Enjoy! Jonnita

        • hi,finnished book awhile ago,just still in dreamland,haha,showed lots of things from the past+future of meeting priscilla after elvis passed,i wanted to give hugs to your mums feelings,mustve been hard for her,shes got such a loving family,thanks for sharing, didnt want the book end,hope to say helloo to you all one day from england,THANK YOU AGAIN,JUNEXX

  27. hi jonnita just finished reading your book it was great pity it did not work out for your mum and elvis
    will there be a second novel did your mother ever go back to graceland
    thankyou for sharing your story with me
    god bless you all

  28. Hello… just curious about when the book will be sent out. Hope I get it by Mother’s Day.. Happy Mother’s Day to you and your Mom and many more.. I will let you know when I get the book. I am sure it will be here soon…

    • Hi,

      Mom came by and signed the book so now it’s signed and packaged ready for shipping Monday morning. It should be there by Mother’s Day.

      Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

  29. Hi Jonnita:

    I knew your mother in 1960. I was a teenage fan and worked at WHHM when Anita was a DJ there along with George Klein and others. I would love to get in touch with your mom and re-visit those times. Can you help me? My e-mail is billfarrar@cox.net.

  30. Hi Jonnita,

    I have spoken to your mom by phone several times including this past Christmas. She is so nice and down to earth I can see why Elvis loved her. I write short Elvis stories both real and fact/fiction. I mean what can we write about Elvis that hasn’t already been said? My brother and I lived in Memphis from 1976 until just nine days before Elvis passed when we flew back home to Philly. One of my stories is called “Suppose Elvis Wasn’t Drafted.” I think you and your mom would enjoy it as your mom plays a significant part of Elvis’ life in this love story that might have been. I have sent it to your mom by email but she says she doesn’t go on much. Maybe you can find it for her and show it to her. My email is Lwilt13@aol.com. Thanks so much,

    Larry Blong

  31. Hi Jonnita,
    Found your book on amazon last week and received it on Friday night. Finished the book Sunday evening. Wonderful book, so kudos for the hard work. I was always fascinated by your mother, as she was always so so beautiful in the pictures of her and Elvis. I wish you and your mother all my best and wondered if you have any other personal appearances coming up, and book signings?

  32. I Love Elvis and I am enchanted with the many stories about his life. Anita is gorgeous and a fellow Tennessean.Anita was successful herself and I admire that in her. I have listened to her songs for years but I never knew that she dated Elvis.I ordered my autographed book and I can’t WAIT to read it! I am sure that she was crushed to end it with Elvis but I am happy that she survived. I hope the best for everyone who dated or loved Elvis; he sure made them all pay for loving him. I wished that he never cheated on anyone. I am happy to see the songs and video footage. I am happy that we all had Elvis in our lives and he is singing up in Heaven. We will all see him again someday. He had such a great voice and was truly loved! I am glad that you finally talked your mom Anita into writing her book. We will cherish it for years!Thanks! for sharing your life and memories with us.

  33. Thank you so very much for writing the book. Please thank your mum for sharing her memories .Please thank her for all the love and care she gave to Elvis. I hope she keeps well. I have just finished reading the book for the second time. I have had it since December 2012.It moves me greatly.

  34. Jonnita, I have just finished your wonderful book and wanted to tell you how much I liked it! I, too, am a writer and bought your book in the course of my ongoing research for a book about Elvis. (My book is nearing completion). (You can Google my name to see some of my own books.) Here, I’ll say that I knew of your father when he played for Old Miss, not well, but he was a big part of their team. I was born in 1939, a year after your mom, and have lived my life in Texas except for a year spent in Vietnam away from my wife and family. Anyway, and I cannot share it with you, it was while reading your book that I saw an end to mine! It was exciting! At the start of my research, I’d never heard of your mother, or had forgotten. I was of course aware of Priscilla. In the Fifties, I wore blue swede shoes and had some of Elvis’s Sun Records. I decided to write about him only last summer, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyway, what I started to say, I hadn’t known of the love affair (chaste) between E. and her. Your story, told wonderfully well, elevated your mom to way above Priscilla, and I was so proud of her for walking out on Elvis. And glad for the detail you gave about the time he was physically abusive of her. At any rate, I’ll remember these things in writing the rest of my book and will cite your work where appropriate. I’ve read all the Elvis books, at least the main two-dozen. None has moved me like yours! Thanks and bless you!

  35. Jonnita, I just wanted to let you and Anita know how good it was to see you at the book signing in Jackson, TN. and how much I enjoyed the book. As you probably know I grew up as well hearing stories about your mom and Elvis that my sister (Carletta) would tell me through the years.
    I mainly knew your mom long after Elvis when she was married to your Dad and had little ones at home. I thought Anita was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
    Anyway I wanted you to know I absolutely got chills reading the first page of the book…..

    I wish much success to you and your mom!

    Martha

  36. Jonnita,
    I am an Elvis fan and recently purchased a letter size black and white photograph of your mother and Elvis on a ferris wheel hamming it up for the camera. If you do not have this image elsewhere would love to send you a copy.

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