As the story is recorded in Forrest L. Bobo’s letter dated October 2, 1979, Gladys Presley brought her son Elvis to Tupelo Hardware in January 1945 to buy him a birthday present. According to Mr. Bobo, Elvis would have preferred a rifle, but his mother succeeded in buying a guitar instead. The boy strummed the new guitar for a while, before his mother paid $7.75 and a 2% sales tax. The rest is history!
A Letter Written October 2, 1979
on Tupelo Hardware Company letterhead
* GOOD MORNING –
My name is Forrest L. Bobo from Tupelo, Mississippi. I an 78 years young today, but I can well remember the afternoon when Elvis Presley and his mother came into Tupelo Hardware, where I worked for twenty years. He wanted a 22 cal. rifle and his mother wanted him to buy a guitar. I showed him the rifle first and then I got the guitar for him to look at. I put a wood box behind the showcase and let him play with the guitar for some time. Then he said that he did not have that much money, which was only $7.75 plus 2% sales tax. His mother told him that if he would buy the guitar instead of the rifle, she would pay the difference for him. The papers have said that the guitar cost $12.50 but at that time you could have bought a real nice one that amount. The small amount of money that he had to spend had been earned by running errands and doing small jobs for people.
* I am proud to have a little part in Elvis’ life. I had supper with Elvis the night he left for his first audition. We all wished him a great success, and he sure made a great life for himself and the rest of the world.
* Thank you for your time.
Forrest L. Bobo