Elvis Presley Vowed to Buy Mom a Home When They Shared 1 Bed in Shack — She Wished To Be Poor Again after Moving
Elvis Presley considered his mother the most important person from childhood until he passed away at 42. His father was imprisoned for not paying his debts, and Elvis and his mother moved from shack to shack together, but Elvis vowed to give his mother a beautiful home one day. He delivered on his promise. However, she was not happy with it.
Elvis Presley, who would have turned 88 on January 8, 2023, is widely recognized in the entertainment industry for what he achieved during his life. However, before the money and the fame, Elvis grew up very poor as his parents, Gladys and Vernon, struggled to make ends meet.
The pair met in 1933 at a Pentecostal church in Tupelo, Mississippi. Gladys, 22, was five years older than Vernon, 17, and worked as a sewing machine operator in a local clothing factory. Vernon, on the other hand, did anything he could find to make money.
They married that same year and moved into a two-room shack bereft of electricity or running water. After a while, Gladys got pregnant. Even though the couple knew they were too poor to afford children, they were excited to become parents.
Sadly, their financial situation did not allow Gladys to get proper health care. There were complications with her delivery on January 8, 1935, and they had to call a doctor, who a charity eventually paid.
The singer's mother gave birth to a stillborn, and Vernon was heartbroken when he lost his child, but he recalled, "But then my father put his hand on my wife's stomach and announced, "Vernon, there's another baby here." The other child was Elvis, but his twin Jessee was buried in an unmarked grave in the local cemetery.
Meanwhile, Gladys had also lost a lot of blood and was rushed to the hospital with her surviving son, Elvis. After leaving the hospital, Gladys did not return to the clothing factory; instead, she went cotton picking, which was a more demanding job. However, it gave her the chance to take Elvis along.
Sadly, things got worse for the family when Vernon received a three-year prison sentence for altering the amount due to him on a cheque; at the time, Elvis was just three years old.
After Vernon was sent to prison, Elvis became Gladys' sole responsibility. She could not afford the house rent, and they were subsequently evicted. The mother and son had to move from one house to another until 1943, when they finally settled in a house in East Tupelo, Mississippi.
The house built in the late 1920s by Vernon's uncle Noah Presley for his son Eack became their haven. The house with cobalt blue planks and white framed windows was Elvis's childhood home, where he and his parents enjoyed some stability.
Vernon, Gladys, and Elvis lived together in this house after the former got released from prison. The home located at 1241 Kelly Street in East Tupelo is just around the corner from the house where Elvis was born. Although Elvis grew up with both parents, he was more connected to his mother than his father.
As a child, Elvis always believed he would be the one to take his parents out of poverty, and once, when he heard his parents worrying about rent, he said to Gladys, "Don't worry, Mama. When I grow up, I'm going to buy you a fine house and pay everything you owe at the grocery store, and buy two Cadillacs, one for you and Daddy and one for me."
Wherever they lived, the trio always slept in the same room, but whenever Vernon traveled to other states for work, Elvis and his mother shared a bed and conversed in their own baby language.
Gladys also took religion very seriously, and whenever she and Elvis lay in bed, she would read him stories from the children's Bible. She would narrate the stories of Jonah in the belly of a whale and Joshua's battle at the wall of Jericho.
As a child, she encouraged him to believe he was destined for greater things, and she believed although his twin died, Elvis would grow up with the additional qualities of his twin. Whenever Elvis followed his mom to work, and the sun came out at two o'clock, he would promise to buy her a fine house and pay all her debts at the grocery store.
Elvis and his mother were so close they would call each other pet names or use gestures whenever they wanted to talk and put their faces close together. According to some neighbors, Gladys worshiped Elvis from the day he was born.
Since his birth, Gladys dreaded being separated from her son, and she would even race to the grocery store to ensure they were not apart for more than five minutes.
Whenever Elvis was not with her, Gladys felt intense pain. Although maternal love is common for mothers, and most often outgrow it as their kids grow, Gladys remained scared every time at the thought of Elvis ever leaving her.
Elvis rose to fame at 19 when he was signed by a record label in Memphis called "Sun." He would appear in the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly Country-and-Western concert broadcast live on the radio.
Elvis sent all the money he got from the show home to his parents, and his mother saved the money in a box. By age 20, Elvis had fulfilled his promise and cared for his parents.
In 1956, after scoring his first hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," he bought a ranch-style home on Audubon Drive, a serene residential area in Memphis. The singer moved in with his parents, but his mother struggled with living in such a big house, considering where they came from.
She often remarked how the house looked like a palace and never got used to living there. When they first moved in, Gladys would invite some neighbors over for a cup of lemonade and use their pool.
Before long, fans started coming over to the house and climbing over the fence, and Elvis and his parents were not used to this. Also, some neighbors began complaining about Gladys, where she washed and dried her clothes.
The neighbors started working on a petition for the family to move out of the neighborhood. During this time, Elvis overheard his mother's phone call where she was saying: "I wish we were poor again, I really do."
The statement broke his heart, and Elvis Presley subsequently moved his parents to Graceland, a mansion in Memphis where his mother could have all the privacy she wanted.
Elvis and his mother shared a bond like no other throughout his life. They loved one another fiercely, and he often expressed his love for his mother until his death at 42.
Gladys passed away from hepatitis shortly after he was drafted into the US military, but he was home on official leave to see her before she died. Elvis and his father were heartbroken at their loss and kept a piece of a broken window pane, which his mother had fallen into, as a symbol of their grief.
Talking about how Elvis reacted after his mother died, friends and family confirmed that he was inconsolable at the loss of his dear mother. Elvis' friend, Judy Spreckles, said, "He cried continuously. We were in the front hall at Graceland, and he stood there hugging me for a half-hour."
The King of Rock used to love listening to music with his mother and eventually got to share their love for music with the world. Elvis passed away on August 16, 1977, after suffering cardiac arrest. He was buried at Graceland and rests eternally at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, with his parents.
Graceland has become a legacy of the Presley family. Fans now see the display of Gladys and Vernon's bedroom, the necklace that Elvis bought his mother, and the pink Cadillac that he gifted her.
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