Priscilla Presley Was ‘Afraid’ at School Because of Her Relationship With Elvis
When Priscilla Presley moved to Graceland to be with Elvis, she was still in high school. Elvis promised her father he would ensure Priscilla got a good education in Memphis, and she enrolled in an all-girls school upon her arrival. Almost immediately, word got out that she was Elvis’ girlfriend. She said this made her fearful of making friendships with her peers.
Priscilla Presley worried people at school would use her for her relationship
Priscilla’s move to Memphis only happened because Elvis promised she would finish high school. At her all-girls school, many of her fellow students were fans of Elvis, and they quickly uncovered her identity.
“In the beginning Vernon [Presley] drove me to and from school, where word of my identity soon leaked out,” she wrote in her book Elvis and Me. “As I walked down the hallway, heads would turn and whispers would start.”
In a study hall, someone passed a note by her, and she noticed her name on it. Priscilla took it to read herself.
“‘Her name’s Priscilla,’ I read. ‘She’s supposed to be Elvis Presley’s new girlfriend. If we make friends with her, maybe she’ll introduce us to him. Oh, God, wouldn’t that be neat!'”
Priscilla realized that any friendliness from her classmates was likely performative. They wanted to use her to get to Elvis.
“I didn’t know who the writer was, but I couldn’t mistake the meaning,” she wrote. “The friendly smiles concealed intentions to get to Elvis through me. Consequently, I was afraid to get close to anyone at school, and began to feel lonely and unhappy.”
Priscilla Presley ultimately used her relationship to finish school
While Priscilla didn’t want people to use her for her connection to Elvis, she did capitalize on it at the end of high school. Her late nights with Elvis made it difficult to study, and she worried she would fail her algebra final. If she did, she wouldn’t be able to graduate and would incur the wrath of her father. Desperate, she turned to the student next to her.
“Her name was Janet and she was a straight-A student,” Priscilla wrote. “I tapped her on the shoulder and flashed her my brightest smile, whispering, ‘Are you an Elvis fan?’ Taken aback by my question, Janet nodded yes. ‘How would you like to come to one of his parties?’ I asked.”
Janet immediately pushed her test to the edge of the desk for Priscilla to see.
“Janet instantly grasped my dilemma and, without a word, slid her paper to the edge of her desk,” Priscilla explained. “Now I had a full view of her answers. I spent the rest of the hour furiously copying them down and I not only passed, but I got an A on that test.”
Elvis didn’t care much about Priscilla’s schooling
While Priscilla said Elvis was proud of her for graduating, he didn’t put much thought into her schooling. She explained that she never even considered higher education because of his attitude about it.
“I had no real goals after graduation, but I did sometimes dream of becoming a dancer or possibly enrolling in an art academy,” she wrote. “Now I realize that I was deeply influenced by Elvis’ casual attitude toward continued schooling. He figured I didn’t need it and I agreed.”
She believed Elvis wanted her by his side at all times, and higher education would get in the way of that.
“Just being with him most of the time would provide an education — not to mention experience — that no school could give me,” she wrote. “He wanted me to be his totally, free to go to him in an instant if he needed me.”