Elvis’ childhood pals recall the singer’s early years

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Everyone knows Elvis, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, but not everybody knows Elvis, the little boy.
Four people who knew Elvis as a child have written a book, “We Remember Elvis,” that recalls the singer’s childhood in Tupelo.
“We had a desire to do something to commemorate the real Elvis,” said Azalia S. Moore, who wrote the book with Sybil Presley, Lee Clark and Guy Thomas Harris.

Childhood tales
“We Remember Elvis” is 234 pages of memories and photographs.
Some of the photos are old ones contributed by the four authors or their families. One picture in particular is of Elvis at a carnival in Tupelo that has never been published. Others are recreations of what things were like when Elvis was a boy.
The stories cover Elvis’ childhood in Tupelo, from his love for comic books and his favorite swimming hole, to his time at school and church. His parents’ courtship and marriage are also given attention.
The idea to write about Elvis’ childhood had been tossed around for years by the authors. They finally got serious about it in 2008, when Elvis’ childhood church was dedicated at the birthplace grounds. The authors gathered in the chapel to share their memories.
“On that day, this place filled up, and it was a magical, sweet moment,” said Presley, who is a second cousin of Elvis – their grandfathers were brothers.
To write the book, they first needed to put their memories on record. The quartet sat at a table, with a tape recorder in the middle, and they pushed “record” and reminisced.
“One story would lead to another, and you’d have all four of us talking at the same time,” Moore said. “It was a volcanic explosion of memories.”
They even created a timeline, so they could accurately map their memories.
“It was the most fun I’ve had, and if we never sell a book, it’s been worth it,” Clark said.
The authors’ recollections of a young Elvis are all fond ones.
“He was a sweet playmate,” Moore said, and Harris agreed.
“Elvis had a good childhood, and I had it right there with him,” he said.
The authors wanted to tell the true story of Elvis’ younger years and not focus on speculation or rumor.
“A lot of times, the real Elvis is not portrayed,” Moore said. “People try to write about things that happened, but to be frank, we were there.”