Book Review: A Presley Speaks

Vester Presley was the younger brother of Vernon Presley.

When Elvis moved his parents into Graceland, Vester became the faux celebrity family member at the gate.

vester-clettes-patsy

Vester also married a girl from the Smith Family and Patsy Presley was Elvis’ double first cousin, but a girl, so not part of his Memphis Mafia like the other Smith cousins were.

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With the death of Gladys, the Family balance at Graceland shifted.

 

With Vernon’s second marriage to Dee Stanley, bringing three sons, Vernon found himself under his own roof, eventually living on Dolan Street behind Graceland.

 

Vernon’s  “A Presley Speaks” is a very sanitized text, mostly saying that The Presleys where hard working and non-drinking people, and a trace of scorn for the more social Smith side.

Otherwise, an interesting example of Folk Telling and a naive attempt at Public Relations.

It was sold in a few versions of blue or red paperback and there was a deluxe box set with a hard cover version with an Elvis scarf ordered from the same person who had made them for stage. Autographed of course.

Vester also co-wrote the Presley family cookbook.

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While Elvis Presley was the one who was famous, and his parents were subjected to some media attention, his extended family seems to have conferred an entitlement to celebrity.

What becomes most apparent to a modern reader, is just how Elvis’ money mostly went to 1. Taxes and 2. His Payroll. 3 Retail Therapy Binge Buying.

That payroll was partly the musicians he worked with in the touring years, a household staff, a secretarial pool to deal with fan mail and then there was his inner circle of on-call pals.

Now, Vester being the head of the Gate Guards did end up having to deal with a lot of media and fans, through the years, but especially after Vernon’s health failed.

What is most telling is the problems of scaleability, understanding one world and being thrust into rather another.

Vernon Presley was salaried as Business Manager and he supervised the Fan Mail Secretaries.

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Vernon Presley only outlived his son by 2 years and Grandma Dodger outlived Vernon.

aunt-delta-presley-cuts-the-1987-graceland-opening-ribbon

Aunt Delta Presley also moved in into Graceland in the 1960s, ostensibly to be with Minnie Mae. Delta cut the opening ceremony ribbon at Graceland’s official opening.

when I was there in 1987, the tour guide expressed relief it was one of her “good days”, so she was not seen.

she would often drink and become abusive to staff and fans that this was her house and to get out.

Ginger Alden’s book revealed Aunt Delta as the person who brought Elvis the ice cream and cookies, along with the final fatal batch of pills.

related on Dykewriter:

Elvis Books: The Staff books

ElvisBooks: Graceland Gatekeepers

 

Linda Thompson reveals: Gladys couldn’t read

Literally being able to read

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