priscilla-presley

The attic in Graceland seemed to call to me. Elvis’ paternal grandmother, Minnie Mae, who lived with us in Graceland, claimed she heard noises coming from Gladys’ ghost. Well, I didn’t believe in ghosts and was determined to see exactly what was up there.

One day while Elvis was off making a movie in Hollywood, I ventured upstairs. I can’t say I wasn’t apprehensive. It was a stormy afternoon. Heavy rain. Thunder and lightning. I slowly opened the attic door. It creaked like it hadn’t been opened in years. Inside, it was pitch dark. I took a couple of steps forward and found the light switch. The yellow bulb lit a long line of clothes racks. These were Gladys’ clothes. Elvis had saved everything. All her precious belongings were here. I could feel her spirit. I was excited and moved. One by one, I examined her blouses, skirts and dresses. They were simple, not extravagant, and gave me a sense of her character.

It might sound strange, but I would bring these articles of clothing to my face and breathe in their essence. I knew this was as close as I would get to Elvis’ beloved mother. I tried on a couple of coats. It was as if she were embracing me. And just as I was lost in a reverie, thinking of how this charismatic woman shaped my charismatic husband, the door flew open. I screamed! Seeing me, the woman who had opened the door screamed even louder! It was Hattie, one of our housekeepers. She was certain she’d seen a ghost. It took us several minutes to get our bearings. When we finally did, we were able to laugh, but the experience of discovering Gladys’ wardrobe and feeling her presence was something that lives within me to this day.

—  Priscilla Presley