STORIES 7 - 12
In order to help support her family, Gladys was forced to get a job when Elvis was only a few months old. She found a meager yet back-breaking job picking cotton for the Tupelo Garment Factory. She could not afford and did ot want to leave Elvis with a babysitter, so she wrapped him in a blanket and took him with her. After walking over a mile in the field, Gladys collected two sacks. The first was used to collect cotton; the second was used to carry her son. Elvis rested on a sack while Gladys plucked cotton from the seed pods. As she moved down the row of plants, she pulled Elvis along. When Elvis needed a diaper change, Gladys stopped picking and tended to her son. When he was hungry, she stopped working and breast fed him until he had his fill. Gladys continued to bring Elvis to the cotton fields until he grew active enough to require her full attention.
A few weeks before Priscilla gave birth, she and Elvis had to decide what to name their first child. The four boy names they'd chosen were Vernon, Aron, Thomas, and John. Elvis suggested Vernon after his father, but Priscilla was not crazy about the name. She then came up with Aron after, Elvis' middle name, and both agreed to have that as a standby. Thomas was for the colonel, and John was chosen because it was a strong name. In the end both Elvis and Priscilla decided on, John Baron Presley. Baron was a play on Elvis' and his stillborn brother's middle names, Aron and Garon. The three girl names they selected were, Gladys, Josephine, and Lisa. Glady's was Priscilla's choice in honor of Elvis' mother. Elvis felt bad that he could not include or honor his paternal grandmother Minnie Mae, but neither he nor Priscilla liked the name Minnie. Priscilla then came up with Josephine in honor of her step-father Joseph Beaulieu. In the end the Presley's decided on Lisa. Lisa Marie was the name chosen by Elvis and Anita Wood when they had discussed having a baby in the 1950's. When Priscilla gave birth to a girl Elvis decided to keep the name. The name Marie was rumored to have been in honor of Colenel Parker's wife, but that is not true. Marie was Anita's Woods middle name, and Elvis chose his daughter's middle name in honor of his love for her, as well as because he genuinely liked the name.
When Elvis was offered a deputy's badge from Shelby County Sheriff Gene Barksdale in Memphis on September 1, 1976, he insisted on it being an authentic sheriff's badge with all its power and authority. Sheriff Barksdale did not want to give him such "powers", as Elvis called it, because Elvis was only a civilian, after all. When Elvis was refused the sheriff's badge, he became angry. He threatened Barksdale, saying he would run against him in the upcoming election. The sheriff knew that he would not be re-elected if Elvis did run. Once the threat was understood, you can be sure Elvis was given the sheriff's badge, complete with all its "powers".
A 10-year old boy named Donald Wilson had lost his immediate family to a horrific car accident. After the funeral, the court awarded his grandmother custody. A short while later, Donald suffered a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed as having a complicated kidney ailment. His grandmother did not know what to do or how to help her sick grandchild. The only thing that raised the boy's spirits was his Elvis Presley record collection. One day, as Donald blasted his Elvis music, his grandmother went to her den and composed a letter to the singer. She explained about Donald's ailments as well as his love for Elvis' music. When Elvis received the letter he sat down to write a few encouraging words to the boy. He put together a package which included several photos, current records, and a get well card. He had each of his secretaries write a little something to the boy to show that everyone cared about him. Elvis took the package to the post office himself and had it sent special delivery. When Donald's grandmother brought the package up to his bedroom, the young boy cried out with glee. He was amazed when he found the photos, records, and notes inside. After reading Elvis' letter, Donald knew his loving grandmother had written to his favorite singer about him. He ran over to her and hugged her tighly, crying as he thanked her. After Elvis' package arrived, Donald got better and both he and his grandmother felt that they owed his recovery to Elvis and the love he had shown.
Because Elvis and Priscilla held different religious beliefs, they decided that Lisa Marie would not be baptized. They wanted their daughter to be able to make her own decision about such things when she was of age. Sometime after Elvis died Priscilla became a member of the Church of Scientology. She is part of what is called the Celebrity Center branch in Hollywood., where discretion reigns and privacy is respected. When Lisa Marie was 16 years old, she followed in her mothers footsteps and became a member of L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology as well. She is still a member today. as are her two children.
Grandpa Vernon was ecstatic when Lisa Marie was born. She was the first girl in a long time to be born in his immediate family and he could not have neen happier. When it came time for Vernon to hold his granddaughter, Elvis roared with laughter. Vernon hadn't held a baby in over 30 years, and he was scared. Every time Elvis or Priscilla let Vernon hold Lisa Marie, he did so hesitantly. He would hold her, look at her, and then begin to shake uncontrollably. He was scared that he might drop or hurt her. Vernon's knees wobbled and his hands and arms shook as he passed his grandchild over for someone else to hold. The longest Vernon ever held baby Lisa Marie was about five minutes. He reasoned that the baby was too small and too frail and he did not want to be held responsible if anything happened to her. When Lisa Marie got older, Vernon lost his fear and played with the first girl in the Presley family everyday.