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1. Elvis Presley Childhood & Family background page of Elvis Presley biography site

This page is dedicated to providing the site visitor with quality Elvis Presley biography childhood information, Elvis Presley childhood pictures and articles for your entertainment. The contents of this Elvis Presley biography childhood site is written by a fan for his fans.

The Childhood of Elvis-

The humble beginnings of a Country Boy`.Into Elvis Presley ` `The King.`

By the time the Depression of the 1930`s dumped an extra load on their backs many people had found that their only real defence in life was a fierce independence and strong family ties that would allow them their only resource and joy.


It was in that setting that Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith fell in love.

"We should have been in school but we eloped," Gladys recalls.

"We didn`t elope very far. We just went down the road five miles to Vernon and got married.`

Elvis inherited his mother`s coloring.

Her once blonde hair (later dyed black for effect) and her velvety blue eyes could both snap and smoulder.

Both parents had an unpretentious deep natural dignity. They spoke frankly about their lack of formal education but their lively native intelligence made them intriguing conversationalists.

1935 the 8th of January, Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. This means that Elvis Presley`s Star sign is Capricorn. Read here about how his star sign explains the path of this future and personality.

The Elvis phenomenon has its roots in his birthplace where Presley began a musical journey that would take him from the wrong side of the tracks in Tupelo through Memphis to worldwide iconic status Elvis: Return to Tupelo Using interviews, recordings, photographs and rare home movies, Elvis: Return to Tupelo is the rock n roll adventure story of one of the greatest cultural forces of the twentieth century.

Note: The Presley family, including Elvis, spelled his middle name "Aron" throughout his life, although Elvis is said to have considered changing it to "Aaron". His birth certificate and tombstone both read "Aaron".

His twin brother Jesse Garon Presley was stillborn. Jesse was buried the following day in Priceville Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Vernon hoed cotton, corn and peas and Gladys worked as a sewing machine operator for Tupelo Garment Company.

The couple lived with their in-laws at first, while Vernon drove trucks, sorted lumber and also continued to work crops.

Elvis Presley pictures family 1937 Gladys had to quit her job when she became pregnant with Elvis.

With Gladys out of work money became scarcer than ever for the young couple.

Fortunately a dairy farmer named Orville Bean had loaned Vernon enough money to build a small `shot gun` style home in East Tupelo. The house was completed in time, before Gladys was ready to give birth.

1935 the 8th of January, a king was born Birth And Childhood Of Elvis Presley including comments from his fans

The house, raised on stilts to protect it from overflowing Creeks, was a small two roomed shack whose design was called `shot gun` because it was small enough that if the front and back doors were open you could blast a shot gun clear through without hitting anything.

Vernon Elvis Presley: "I thank God, He gave us you as our son."

Vester Presley: "I'm mighty proud of ma nephew El' the best any man could've had..."



Elvis Presley pictures with parents During the first year of Elvis`s life a ruthless tornado hit Elvis`s home town of Tupelo and was described as being one of the worst in history, taking many lives and sweeping whole houses into it`s black vortex of destruction.

Gladys and Elvis would reminisce about that tornado and both be considering themselves so lucky to have escaped with their lives.

Elvis would also remember his twin brother, Jesse Garon. Elvis would often ponder a sense of incompleteness at having lost a part of himself he could never know. He found comfort in his favourite teddy bear Mable Elvis' teddy all shook up by jealous hound dog

From Elvis`s first moment on earth, until his Mother`s death some twenty three years later, Gladys never stopped worrying about her son`s every waking moment, and when she discovered her boy was a somnambulist (sleepwalker), she then also worried about his sleeping moments.



Her love for her son was a fawning, all consuming emotion that never stopped growing.

At age three, Vernon was sent to prison for forgery. It seems that Vernon, Travis Smith, and Luther Gable changed the amount of a check from Orville Bean, Vernon's boss, from $3 to $8 and cashed it at a local bank. Vernon pled guilty and was sentenced to three years at Parchment Farms Penitentiary.

Vernon's boss, Mr. Bass calls in a note that Vernon signed to borrow money to build the house. Gladys is forced to move in with Vernon's parents. Vernon would only serve eight months. Afterward Vernon's employment was spotty and the family lived just above the poverty line.

`Don`t criticize what you don`t understand, son. You never walked in that man`s shoes.`
-Elvis often used this adaptation of a well-known quotation.

The Presley`s attended the First Assembly of God Church whose Pentecostal services always included singing.

Elvis Presley pictures with Gladys & Vernon

When Elvis turned five and started school, Gladys would walk him there every day and never stopped until he entered high school.

Gladys also insisted for him to take his own cutlery to school so as he couldn`t get germs from other students.

`When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book.
I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...
I learned very early in life that: `Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain`t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend — without a song.'
So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.`


-From his acceptance speech for the 1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award. Given at a ceremony on January 16, 1971.
(Elvis quotes from copyrighted material with lines from the song `Without a Song`.)

Entering the fifth grade, Presley is asked by his teacher, Oleta Grimes to enter a talent contest on children's day at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show.

At the age of ten, dressed in a cowboy suit, and standing on a chair to reach the microphone, Presley for his rendition of Red Foley's "Old Shep" won second place, a $5 prize and a free ticket to all the rides.

Elvis Presley pictures young



1946, Elvis asked his parents for a bicycle, but Gladys being very protective of Elvis was afraid he might fall off and hurt himself, and persuaded Elvis to get a guitar instead.

Over the next year, Vernon's brother Johnny Smith and Assembly of Good pastor Frank Smith gives him basic guitar lessons.Before long Elvis was listening to the radio, tuning into a variety of music as he tried to pick out melodies.

Note: It is also said that....... it was Hubert Tipton and his brother Ernest who taught Elvis to play the guitar.

Elvis would wander along the muddy banks of the Tupelo creek as he strummed his guitar at nightfall.

For Vernon Presley life was at it`s rawest as he struggled to put food on the table and a roof over his family`s head.

One night in 1948, Vernon packed up his family their belongings into a 1939 Plymouth and left for Memphis.

Elvis would later remember, `we were so broke, we just left overnight.`

They arrived, almost penniless, moved into a one-room apartment in one of the shabbiest sections of the City

Gladys Presley wasted no time getting a job; she worked in a cafeteria waitressing.Vernon drove a truck for a while, then ended up getting a job with the United Paint Company, were he earned eighty-three cent`s an hour, but held the job for five long year`s.

Elvis, at thirteen was shy and nervous, but always polite, (being a young gentleman); Elvis would always stand when a woman entered the room.

Elvis was enrolled at L. C. Humes High School he remained shy and unobtrusive. With no money, little confidence, and the only thing Elvis seemed to have was acne.

Read here for more of his early days High School & Early Stardom

Elvis loved football, of course, but was neither the build nor good enough to be a player on the school team.

Elvis would often be seen at the football games when Humes played, always on his own and usually just walking around the stands, Elvis was somewhat of a loner and bit of a dreamer.

After school, Elvis would occasionally wander down to the Mississippi, while strumming his old guitar where the blues could be heard being played.

After Elvis completed his first year at high school, Vernon Presley`s application for Public Housing through the Memphis Housing Authority, was accepted.

After over a year in Memphis, the Presley`s now move into a two-bed roomed apartment in the low rent project called the Lauderdale Courts at 185 Winchester Avenue.It was a welcome step up the economic ladder for Vernon and his family, but the Presley`s knew they weren`t out of the woods.

Elvis later remembers picking through garbage pails for useful things to bring home, to help get through those lean years.

Elvis got his first job, as an usher at Loew`s state Theater, he liked the job but was fired for having a go at a fellow employee over snitching on a candy girl for giving Elvis free food.

Some of Elvis`s earnings went to the household, with what Elvis had left, he would go back to the clothes store Lansky Brothers on the corner of second street Mississippi and purchased himself the slick duds he admired in the window.

As soon as Elvis was old enough to shave, he began growing his sideburns; he also grew his hair long and combed it back with so much gunk that it looked dark and lacquered, (Elvis would choose to have his hair cut at the local Beautician`s rather than the Barbers, to keep the look.)

With Elvis`s individual look, loud clothes and long hair with sideburns, he became a target for the tough, crew cut read neck kids at school.

The Harassment got Elvis into many scrapes, and there were several times he came close to getting his young behind kicked in.

Elvis wanted to be accepted because he was different and the only way to be apart of what was going on, was to be `himself` by setting up his own terms, — an unusual approach for someone so seemingly shy and insecure.

Nevertheless, it was a hard road.

Elvis got his first job after high school with the Crow Electric Company, delivering supplies in a Ford pick up.

In the evenings Elvis would study to become an Electrician, with the plan to one day collect union wages.

Elvis was also quite seriously thinking of becoming a Tennessee State Trooper at the age of Twenty-one.

Elvis Presley pictures highschool book photo





In 1948 after losing another job Vernon moved the family to Memphis.

Glady's brothers get him a job at the Precision Tool Company and the Presleys moved into a small apartment at 370 Washington Street for $11 a week.

On September 13 Elvis enrolls at L.C. Humes High School

Starting his sophomore year Presley works in the school library and after school at Loew's State Theatre.

In 1951, his receives his first driver's license, joins the ROTC unit at Humes High, tries out for the football team (he's cut by the coach when he won`t trim his sideburns and ducktail), and in his spare time hanging around the black section of town, especially on Beale Street .

In his senior year Presley gets his first car, a 1942 Lincoln Zephyr, from Vernon. At eighteen majoring in Shop, History, and English he graduates from Humes High in 1953.

Quote on what Elvis was like at High School:

"Odd. He was sort of loner. The thing we had in common, because we weren't that close, I had just moved from New York.

And Elvis dressed in very flashy clothes, which was different than the kids back then.

Most of the guys back then wore crew cuts and Levis and t-shirts.

And Elvis wore flashy clothes, wore his collar up, his hair was a lot longer than the rest of the people.

And basically, I dressed the same way, coming from New York.

And the kids used to kid us about who was going to outdress who the next day."

- MARTY LACKER

Next Page:
Chapter 2 ` Elvis Presley early fame and his family`s first fame & fortune

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