What you know of Elvis living in a mansion in Tennessee was nothing like his humble beginnings. Elvis didn’t have a ton of money starting out. In fact, his parents didn’t really have any money. And his childhood was much of a struggle, but little did he or his family know that one day he would make it out of low-income housing and into a life of luxury.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in a two-room, shotgun shack in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8th, 1935. The home was built by his father Vernon with the assistant of Elvis’ Uncle Vester. Throughout the mid 30s, a great deal of people in East Tupelo were poor and working in factories. These people even had more funds than Elvis’ family. In fact. Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon, relied on their $15 welfare check to pay for the birth of Elvis along with Elvis’ twin who didn’t make it. They had to rely on friends and neighbors to supply them with diapers.
Prior to Elvis’ birth, his mother earned $2 per day at a garment company while Vernon completed odd jobs like working on a dairy farm. Vernon borrowed $180 from Bean shortly after Gladys’ pregnancy in order to build a home. They moved into the home in December after their house was built. In the front yard, they even had chicken and cows.
The lack of material items didn’t affect how Elvis felt about his family because he had a dedicated father and a loving mother who cared about his more than anything. They ended up building a close bond with their son. She was very overprotected and followed her son everywhere. She went to church with him at the First Assembly of God Church. This is where Elvis discovered music. When he was only two years old, he was already developing his love for performing. He would get off his mother’s lap and stand before the congregation and try to sing with the hymns.
He didn’t socialize much during his first three years of life and never strayed far from home with his mom. In May of 1938, his father was caught and taken to prison over altering a check he got off of Orville Bean. He ended up being sentenced to three years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary but only spent eight months there. When this happened, Bean took the Presley’s house, which caused the mother and son to need to find a temporary home.
While Vernon was in prison, Gladys struggled to make enough money to support her and her son. She did laundry and worked as a seamstress. During this time, Elvis was having separation anxiety from his father going to a correctional facility. Right after Elvis’ fourth birthday, they went to visit Vernon in the state penitentiary. The family was still living with Frank and Leona Richards. The family then moved to Vernon’s older brother Vester’s house.