Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Streak: The Fifteenth Time, Out Of The Last 55 Times, That Clemson Lost A Basketball Game in Chapel Hill…

Gladys Presley was still alive.

The Streak: Game 15, December 7, 1957 – North Carolina 79, Clemson 58.

Year two of Press Maravich’s stint at Clemson looked a lot like year one.  The Tigers finished up 8-16 overall and 4-10 in the ACC.  They managed victories against conference foes Wake Forest, N.C. State, Maryland and South Carolina.  That said, they must have been a bit better as N.C. State finished second in the conference and Maryland won the ACC tournament.

Coming off a National Championshp season that saw their best player drafted by Philadelphia in the first round, the Tar Heels finished up 19-7 and 10-4 in the conference – tied for fourth.  They lost the tournament final to the Terps 86-74.  Maryland would beat BC in the round of 24 in the NCAA tournament and then lose in the second round.

North Carolina would have seemed to be a likely candidate for the N.I.T., but ACC were prohibited from playing in that tournament from 1954 to 1966.

Glady, Elvis and Vernon.
Elvis' Mother Gladys Love Smith was born on April 25, 1912 in Pontotoc County, Mississippi.

When she was 21 she snuck off to marry Vernon Presley who was just 17 at the time. Vernon’s brother, Vester, was married to Gladys sister Clettes – not that there is anything wrong with that.

In June 1934, Gladys knew she was pregnant.  At the time, she was earning $2 a day at the Tupelo Garment Company, while Vernon worked at various odd jobs, including one on the dairy farm. With $180 that he borrowed from his employer, Vernon set about constructing a family home, and he and Gladys moved in that December.

On January 8, 1935, not long before dawn, Elvis Aaron Presley was born. Gladys delivered a second son earlier that morning, a stillborn identical twin named Jesse Garon. Elvis would end up being their only child.

Elvis slept here. 
Elvis' family life was turbulent during his early years, largely due to the poverty and financial circumstances of his parents.  That said, Elvis grew up in a close-knit, working class family, consisting of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who all live near one another in Tupelo.

On November 16, 1937, Vernon along with Gladys' brother, Travis Smith and a friend Lether Gable were indicted for forgery and on May 25 1938, they were sentenced to three years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

For the next 15 years the Presley’s muddled about until Elvis made his first recordings with Sun Records after the family had moved to Memphis.  By 1957, Elvis was a big star and he and his parents had moved into Graceland.

In the summer of 1958, Gladys fell ill, suffering with hepatitis.  By early August her condition was getting worse, and Elvis who was scheduled to go to Germany with the U.S. Army was granted emergency leave to be with her.

She died of heart failure on August 14, 1958 at the age of 46.

Elvis' debut album cover.
Now, Elvis loved his mama and he wanted the funeral to be held at Graceland, but Colonel Tom Parker convinced the grieving star to hold the service at the Memphis Funeral Home for security reasons. 

The young King sobbed hysterically while Gladys' favorite gospel group, the Blackwood Brothers, performed at the service, and he was equally inconsolable at her Forest Hill Cemetery grave site, crying out, "Oh God, everything I have is gone" and “'Goodbye, darling, goodbye. I love you so much. You know how much I lived my whole life just for you.”

(This, of course, made Elvis' father feel just great.  Vernon would get the last laugh, outliving his son by two years.)

The mourning continued through the next few days as Elvis was granted extended leave. Evidently his fans were grieving too -- they sent him more than 100,000 cards and letters, around 500 telegrams, and more than 200 floral arrangements to express their sympathy for his loss. 

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