LONESOME TONIGHT: Shortly after the death of his mother, G.I. ELVIS PRESLEY writes from Germany: “I can hardly wait till I am back singing and making movies.... I miss mother more over here than anything”
Outstanding and very rare ALS signed “Love ya kids, Elvis Presley,” one lightly lined page, 8 x 10, no date [envelope postmarked November 14, 1958]. Elvis writes from Friedberg, Germany, to Frances Forbes in Memphis, heading the letter “Frances, Heidi, Gloria, Diane, Earl, Dottie, and the rest of the gang.” In full: “Well I don’t know what ever made me write a letter but I guess it’s because I am so homesick and lonely. I just want to tell you that I miss and love you all very much, and I am just counting the hours until I can return and we will all be together again. I can hardly wait till I am back singing and making movies and above all seeing the old gang again. I guess I miss mother more over here than anything because I am just now realizing that she won’t ever be here anymore. I remember the last few wonderful days at Ft. Hood. Someday we will all look back and talk about it. Tell George, Allen, Lewis, Bobby, and little Billy I said hello and that I miss them very much. Also Uncle Travis and Loraine, and everybody at Graceland hello. If you see Uncle Vester and aunt Cletes tell them I miss them. Tell Patsy I love her very, very much and to be a good little girl till I get home. Well I will go for now just wanted you all to know that I was thinking of you. All my love Frances.” Presley writes a few additional lines on the reverse: “Have a merry Christmas kids, I wish I was with you, we’d have a ball, but maybe next Christmas. ‘Eri Vian Ditchi.’ Quote from ‘Hog Ears’ [“Memphis Mafia” member Alan Fortas, nephew of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas]—‘I’d kill to go to Germany.’” Elvis was inducted into the Army on March 24, 1958, months before his mother’s death on August 14. After completing basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, he was posted to Friedberg, Germany with the Third Armored Division. Presley served with the division from October 1, 1958, until March 2, 1960; three days later, he was discharged from active duty with the rank of sergeant. The letter is accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in Presley’s hand to Forbes, including his return address and signature, “Elvis Presley, Friedberg, Germany.” Also included is a copy of a snapshot of Elvis and Forbes embracing as they say goodbye in September 1958, before Presley shipped out, as well as a 2007 letter from Forbes, stating in part, “I received this letter in the late fall of 1958 and I have held on to it for 49 years.... The day I received the letter I didn’t believe it was real until I opened it and read it.... I immediately called George Klein & Alan Fortas ... they were as excited as I. We all knew we had something special because Elvis didn’t write letters. I was 15 years old and head over heels in love when Elvis left for Germany. I thought my life had ended until I received his letter.” In very good condition, with intersecting folds, scattered light toning and staining, and some light creasing and handling wear. Letters by Elvis are of the greatest scarcity, as evidenced by the virtual absence of genuine examples on the market; Elvis’s cousin, Billy Smith, once remarked that if Elvis wrote ten letters in his lifetime, it would be a lot. The present example, so intimately documenting the personal side of Elvis’s military service and his fabled love for his mother, is, with his songs, among the most remarkable documents ever to come from the King’s pen. COA Roger Epperson/REAL and R&R COA.