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Imagine being a little boy and your mother suddenly marries the father of the most famous man in the world. David Stanley was still only five years old when his mother Dee married Vernon Presley on July 3, 1960. Elvis was deeply upset by the marriage, especially by the way his father had moved on so quickly from the death of Gladys Presley in 1958. Along with his brothers Ricky and Billy, David walked into the home of Elvis for the first time to meet his new step-brother and start his extraordinary new life.
David said: “My mother and father divorced in ’59. When I moved into Graceland with my two older brothers, I came in with Elvis’ new stepmother, Dee, which was my mother, and Elvis was a little reluctant towards my mother because he had just lost his mother.
“But he looked over at me and he picked me up and he gave me a hug and he welcomed me into his family. And he took me in and he shared his life with me.”
David gave a moving account of everything Elvis did for his new baby brother.
David said: “He was very generous to me. He knew that my dad had been swept out of my life, and he did that replacement thing.
“I was just five years old. So, when I met Elvis Presley, I didn’t know what a hound dog was, I didn’t know what The King was. And it was funny, when I met Elvis… you know, I walked in, and I was the little five-year-old snotty kid who just couldn’t comprehend what was going on.
“But I did understand one thing, I came from a boarding home and moved into Graceland. And I thought, ‘this is going to be a great ride.’ And it really was. It was a great ride.
“It was a lot of good friends and bonding. We stood up for each other, we took up for each other.”
Of course, Elvis was notorious for seeking and embracing fun at every opportunity. He famously hired out entire cinemas for his friends and family or bought out a fairground at night for his daughter Lisa Marie.
David described the incredible experience of being the star’s step-brother: “I got a lot of attention being driven to school in a pink Cadillac every day. I mean, when Elvis is your big brother… he was more like a father figure. He was 20 years older than I was.
“He taught me everything. He taught me music. He taught me how to be cool. If there’s any cool there, it came from Elvis. He taught me about girls. He taught me about spiritual matters.”
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Vernon quickly moved out of Graceland with his new family but didn’t go far. His new house adjoined Graceland and Vernon ran Elvis’ personal affairs from his office on the mansion’s grounds.
David also explained the extraordinary star-quality and charisma of his step-brother.
He said: “He (Elvis) went the extra mile to make you feel special. You know, there are a few people in the world that can pat you on the back and you’re good for another 10,000 miles. When he patted you on the back, you were good for another 10,000 miles.”
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