Little Darlin's post quoting the Daily Journal made me think of a post I made on AEK a few years back on when Albert Hand took Vernon for a drive back to the old shack. If anyone is interested, here it is,
In the early 60s Albert Hand of the FC "Elvis Monthly" and an
associate took Vernon on a drive to Tupelo. Below is a small taste of a more
thorough report later printed in "Elvis Monthly";
"Vernon had not visited his old hometown for 15 years and had not seen
Elvis' birthplace for 25 years. (snip) "Look 't that Mr. Hand, Hulme High
School. Elvis went there after doing the rounds at one or two schools, then
we moved to Memphis. A lot of fans think he went there all the time.
Probably the papers gave that impression, but this wasn't so. He wasn't
there very long at all". Vernon pointed out another school where Elvis had
previousely attended, but unfortunately he couldn't remember the name of it.
"Where is it, where is it", he muttered. Then suddenly, a sharp intake of
breath. "look Mr. Hand, he whispered fiercely, "my old truck company." There
before us on the right, stood a lenghty building with gaping archways where,
presumably, the trucks left the hidden inside yard. (snip)
Vernon stopped and his eyes lid up.
"Hey Red" he bellowed.
An overalled figure stopped pushing a trolley he was steering, and looked
round in faint bewilderment. Then he dropped the trolley with a heavy
clatter and roared: "Vern! You old son of a gun!"
And then there followed a lively five minutes chat between two old pals
Then the moment was over.
"There's the road", said Vernon quietly and he flicked his left-hand
indicator, before moving up a narrow road on the left-hand side of the main
"The house is along here", he went on. "Now there are thousands of
photographes knocking around, supposed to be Elvis' house. Once again it was
a magazine's fault. I told them where the house was, but they took the wrong
picture and lots of fans followed suit and also took the wrong one. Well,
there'll be no mistake this time, eh Mr. Hand?", and the Cadillac drew to a
I tried the door. I couldn't believe it! It was open! (snip) I pushed the
door open and stepped inside (snip) Vernon spoke quietly from behind me.
"My, my! Just as it was. In that corner, Mr. Hand, Elvis drew his first
breath". He pointed to the left hand side of the room. We were all three
*Note:* Vernon pointed out the corner immediate to the left when entering
the door, just inside from the window behind the hammock chair (or whatever
it's called) now located on the porch. BTW, was this hammock chair there
when the Presley's lived at the house? Vernon did not mention it not beeing
there, but he did mention that he used to sit on the stairs "on those hot
summer evenings". And also, on a picture I have of Vernon sitting on the
stairs it looks more like he's sitting on the porch with his feets on the
last tread of the stairs. But perhaps the ground has been sinking a bit
Vernon spoke again.
"Just look at the size of this room! Do you know it had two double-beds,
an`it don't look big enough to hold a cot!" He paused in true,
honest-to-goodness astonishment. "Little window there, little window there.
Oh yes, and this door over there, let's go see...".
Quickly, almost eagerly he went to the inside door on the right-hand side of
the bedroom, and passed through into the 2nd room. Vernon stopped and gave a
slow whistle of wonder.
"Mr. Hand", he muttered, it's just like yesterday". He pointed out imagenary
sticks of furniture and pointed to the place where the sink used to be.
Lovingly he fingered the fireplace, which now had no surround, then he
quickly jerked open the closet door on the right alongside it. He laughed
softly. "I put this in `cos we hadn't much room. Guess it left less room
than ever, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it's still here,
durn me if it ain't!"
And with the normality of the exit, so Vernon's tenseness seemed to go too,
and from that moment we were treated to a wonderful reminiscence of "the old
- Of how Elvis used to potter across the road to go up to his little church,
which is still in tip-top condition and used daily by worshippers, and
stands a few yards away from the front of the house, across the road.
*Note:* Does this description of location fit with where the house is
- Of the house itself, which "Paw and me built with our to bare hands".
- Of the well at the side of the home where they used to draw water: "And it
was a real good well, too".
*Note:* This well was located on the right side of the house. When looking
from where the statue is today it was located directly between the window
far back to the right and the corner of the house. Just a meter or two from
the outside wall. Any trace of this well today...?
- Of the tree which "Paw planted", and I remember Vernon made three wrong
calculations before he finally slapped the tree-trunk and said proudly:
"Yupp! This is the one."
*Note:* This tree was standing on the same side as the well was located,
with the boughs almost covering parts of the roof.
Well, that's all from Vernon's visit.
But, BTW, was this by any chance also his last visit to Old Saltillo
Road...? And how about Elvis, did he really visit his first home at least
once a year as some authors report? I think not, but would you care to
comment on this Marty?
I unsuccessfully tried to find a story in "Revelations" on one occasion
Elvis sent Lamar Fike (I think it was, or am I wrong here?) down to Tupelo
to get a firsthand picture of his childhood. I also seem to remember
something about Elvis himself taking some of the guys to Tupelo for a
sightseeing but this may very well be wrong as well. Could you please give
us the facts here Marty? Thanks.
But further... x wrote:
> Maybe I'm remembering this wrong, it was several years ago now, but
> I'm fairly sure that I asked the "guide" (if a woman standing in a
> room that small can be called a guide) about the house, and she
> confirmed that it was only the floor that was original.
Perhaps you are right, x, but the floor on the outside porch looks to
be completely different to me when comparing old pictures with newer. And I
am not thinking of the paint. The stairs is also totally different with no
hand rail except a couple of sticks holding a crosspiece on the right side.
Even the bricks holding the house looks different. But of course, the main
floor may still be the same, but I honestly doubt it very much. Remember,
this house was not lived in for a number of years and when there is no
upkeep whatsoever the disrepair start to show very quickly. Also, this house
was built more than 70 years ago. It's purpose was to house a small family,
well, only Vernon and Gladys at the time of course, but Elvis was born soon
afterwards. It was not built to handle crowds by the thousands 70+ years
later. BTW, isn't that one of the explanation why the 2nd floor at Graceland
is closed to the public, that the floor wouldn't handle it? Perhaps if
Vernon had done some joiner's work at Graceland as well it would've handled
Anyway, the house was first opened to the public in June 1971 so I would
immediate guess a potential house moving must have occurred before this
date. But when looking at a picture from August 1973 (on print in "Caught in
a Trap") it looks like the tree "Paw" planted is located on the right
But this fit nicely with what you wrote, xx, about the house being
located on different locations in the early seventies compared to the
It must be noted that I have never been to Tupelo, and have not seen the
house or the surroundings firsthand, except on film and pictures.
But, another thing, how about the infamous tornado that swept through Tupelo
April 5, 1936...
Where was the Presley's at the moment of the storm...? Is the somewhat
"standard" story on how Vernon and Gladys took refuge in Jessie and Minnie
Mae's home, with Gladys holding her baby tight really true..?
This is how Vernon remembered it, as told to Albert Hand:
"On the night of the tornado, when in silent horror, they had all three of
them sat in the house (Note: that is their own house!) and heard it go clean
past them a few hundred yards away. And how they woke up in the morning,
thankful and surprised to find themselves still alive and miraculously
unscathed whilst all around lay battered scenes of destruction at the hand
of the Almighty".
For pictures, please see; http://home.no.net/idse/tupelo/