Elvis Remembers His Mother’s Death

One afternoon upstairs in Elvis’ bedroom at Graceland, he and I were talking about his mother’s passing in 1958. It was the most turbulent, disoriented and confusing time in his life: drafted into the Army, leaving the career that had exploded two years earlier, uncertain what the future would bring.

“Man, you can’t believe what I was goin’ through back then. I mean everything was just crashing in on me at once, every dream I ever had. Just when everything was going my way, the Army calls me.  My career came to a screeching halt; all the movies I was starring in, my records, everything. To tell you the truth I actually thought that nobody would remember me after I served my time, that I’d be some kind of flash–in–the pan. You know, people would say, “hey, remember that guy, the one that used to shake his body, what’s his name?”

Then the first thing they do when I’m inducted is buzz my hair off!” Elvis shook his head incredulously. “Can you imagine that, Larry, my hair? Then, when I’m struggling to deal with everything, my mom suddenly died! My mom was the light of my life, my best friend; I mean, she’s the one I could always go to…man, no matter what. That’s a blow you can never really get over.”

“But no matter what happened and all that, I’m glad I served my country, Larry. I love America; where else can you dream the impossible dream? Believe me, no one knows better than I do. I’ve lived that dream. My mom kept tellin’ me, even when we had nothing, that I could be anything I wanted to be, if I tried hard enough.”

“And I’ll tell you this Larry; I didn’t have to go into the army like the way all the other guys did.  They told me that if I wanted to I could be in a special service unit; you know, represent the army and tour the other bases around the world, talk to the guys, maybe entertain and sing.  I didn’t even have to think about it.  I flat turned their offer down.  I didn’t want to be treated special or anything like that; I just wanted to let everyone know that I was just like every other guy.”

Elvis had a strong sense of history and was proud of his Southerner’s traditional love of country. He drew his energy and strength from the American soil and its people. “Sure, America’s not perfect, but it’s the best hope we have for this world. I mean, who else is as free as we are? People will do anything to get here; some even die. America represents hope for this world. I’m proud to be an American and I’m proud that I served my country.”

Elvis lived the American dream. He rose from the most desperate poverty to unprecedented fame and fortune. He also embodied the American spirit; he was optimistic, brash, daring and certainly a pioneer. Just like America, Elvis embraced everyone; whether it was a President, an office worker or a janitor, everyone was treated equally by him.

After all these years Elvis still inspires and touches millions of lives around the world. Many who weren’t even born when he left us. Elvis’ image, his music and the force of his personality continue as a vibrant, living presence.

Elvis goes beyond being a legend; he’s an historic icon. Yet one of the great ironies of his extraordinary life can be revealed in a comment he once made, “I wonder,” he said quietly…”I wonder if I’ll ever be remembered?”

I think it’s safe to say that we all remember him, and love him for the great human being he was – uniquely American, yet belonging to the world.

About Larry Geller

Before becoming Elvis Presley's personal hairstylist, spiritual mentor and confidant in 1964, I worked with the famed Jay Sebring in the very first men's hair styling salon. Our clientele read like a Hollywood Who's Who: Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Peter Sellers, Rock Hudson and many more. The last time I did Elvis' hair was for his funeral in August of 1977.
This entry was posted in Elvis in the Army, Elvis' career, Elvis' mother, Elvis' patriotism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Elvis Remembers His Mother’s Death

  1. Kelly Marsh says:

    Dear Larry,
    I have always had a strange inner, I guess spiritual(?) connection to Elvis.
    My father was born In Nov. 1941. the 5th to be exact. He wasnt due till Jan.
    He also had a twin who died at birth. The twin, who was named Johnny Clay (my dad was Jimmy Ray) was held back a day or two extra from burial because the doctor said my dad would die too. Obviously, that did not happen.
    My father’s twin was buried at the foot of a grandfather in an unmarked grave. (which was lost for years.)
    my dad grew up with that “connection” to his twin.
    when my dad entered the army at 18, he was sent to the same training facility after boot camp as Elvis. Here the connections get bigger:
    He trained in the same place as Elvis, for same job, tanks.
    He was in the “Hell on Wheels”
    He was sent to Germany, same places, some.
    My dad even slept in Elvis’ bunk in training. Truly !!
    there is more but id have to write my own book. lol
    if there is a way you could get back with me, id love to discuss more. : Kelly_marsh68@yahoo.com

    sincerely
    Kelly

  2. priyanka says:

    Mr Geller, I want to tell you how thankful, ecstatic and fortunate I feel because a man who was so close to Elvis shared Elvis’s deepest moments of grief and joy is communicating with us, and quenching our thirst to know about Elvis. The first word that comes from the name “ELVIS is LIVES”. Elvis is timeless he will live on and be remembered in generations to come because he was not just any ordinary artist he was the God’s CHOSEN ONE.Elvis often read Cheiro’s book of numbers and Elvis was an 8 . It is written there for the number 8s that they are remembered and admired greatly after death. And this is true in Elvis’s case but with a difference he was loved and adored even when he was with us on earth. That is why he is blessed.Please reply.

    • Larry Geller says:

      I appreciate what you have to say. You seem to have a very deep and sensitive understanding of Elvis. If you want to know more about what he read and what he thought, I suggest you get my book “Leaves of Elvis’ Garden.”

  3. Rich Towsley says:

    HI Larry: I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and spending our one on one time together in Palm Springs, at Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway Home. Thanks for the pictures we took together and I wish you all the best!!! Rich Towsley Sarasota, Florida

  4. jackson says:

    I am amazed by the decor of Graceland. And of course his bedroom and the upstairs for that matter. Can you tell us some unique things about his decorating of his bedroom? I have a aunt that once got to visit him, she was a fan at the gates, one night some of the guys let her in, Elvis gave a tour of the house. I have always been curious about this. Thank ya

  5. susie says:

    Hi Larry.
    Thank you for sharing . Elvis in my mind is the greatest entertainer that ever lived. Everything about his life is interesting.His beautiful voice to his generousity. I like how you talk so respectful about Elvis and you’re experiences. You’re cool. I love all his movies and his hair was gorgeouus.God bless you for being such a. friend to Elvis Presley.

  6. Sidsel Ferguson says:

    Hi Larry Geller
    I am a Norwegian woman, and my English may not be very well written. I am sorry about that. I have been Elvis fan since I was 16 and am now 63. I don`t adore him as I know many women do, but there is no doubt that there is something special with that man. I red that you have been Elvis`hairstylist. Hi hair where allways so very good. He had a thick hair, looked like it. Did you dye his hair, too? You know, Elvis is a very interesting person. I am memeber of Norwegian Elvis Fan clab, called Flaming Star. I want to read more about you, so I will turn back to your website

    Sincerelly
    Sidsel Ferguson

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