On our way to Florida, we decided to stop off at Memphis Tennessee.
I sheepishly waited with my husband to buy tickets for a tour of Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. Elvis was not my favorite musician, but I still felt compelled to tour his house. I wasn’t sure why.
At the ticket office, across the street from the mansion, things were lively. Via modern technology, the King of Rock-n-Roll was still performing. His voice was everywhere.
We decided to go for the most inexpensive tour, $58 for the two of us. I didn’t need to tour his two antiquated jet airplanes for the extra price because I could see them from the road.
After watching an introductory performance video, I walked to the bustling gift shop: pink toy Cadillacs, Elvis shirts, socks, teddy bears, and an assortment of items were for sale.
While we waited to get on the bus, taking us to the actual property, a photographer posed me and my husband in front of a cardboard facade depicting the gates of Graceland. I gave her my best smile, not thinking I’d want to buy the picture.
I impatiently waited for some ladies with walkers get on the bus. Some of his original fans range in age from 50’s to 90’s and beyond.
Highlights from the tour
Ipads were handed out while on the tour bus. Sexy John Stamos from “Full House” was our narrator. There was a button to push for extra information. Ex-wife, Priscilla and daughter, Lisa Marie, narrated some personal reflections about Elvis. (My ipad was not working that great and Stamos’s voice was difficult to discern.)
I felt a little rushed going through the house with this Ipad because the video automatically changed from room to room. The IPad served as a people mover.
When we walked in the house, the first thing I saw was the living room. It looked stopped in time, and decorated in a classy country type style. (Better than I expected).
Pictures of Elvis, and his parents, eerily looked out from a table.
The dining room was not that different from anyone else’s . The table, where Lisa occasionally still brings her family to eat, was set with the china pattern that Priscilla picked out for their short-lived marriage.
The infamous kitchen where Elvis ate his southern fare, was not enormous, but looked comfortable. Supposedly, the kitchen was always open 24/7.
A “jungle room” with a 70’s shag rug, glass table, sculptured animals, a water fountain coming out from the wall was unique. This was my favorite living space.
Another room contained an assortment of TV’s playing at once. Reminders of Johnny Carson, and a long forgotten battle were playing out on two of the screens.
The trophy room was next. There were countless gold records staring back at me. I looked for the record, “Blue Suede Shoes”. “One for the money, two for the show”. I remembered my Dad and I reciting those lines together before I went to sleep when I was a little girl.
Costumes from his Vegas shows were carefully displayed, along with all his movies props and outfits. There was more to see than I ever expected. It all evoked memories of my own life.
Suddenly, I realized why I wanted to see Graceland. It was because his music played throughout different stages of my life until he died. (From “Blue Suede Shoes” through “The Ghetto.” )
The last stop for me was at his racquetball room. Before he passed, he played a game of racquetball. Then he died in a very undignified manner: he fell over while sitting on the toilet, from a drug overdose.
Elvis is dead
Elvis is buried in a pretty garden. A statue of an angel watches over him and his family. Surprisingly, this statue was a gift given to him while he was still alive. The music icon’s grave was disturbed at a regular cemetery, so he ended up in his own backyard.
People, including me, were gawking at his headstone and taking pictures. (Also included are his mother, father, and grandmother’s headstones. There’s a marker for his still-born twin brother.)
After looking at Elvis’ headstone, we were directed to wait for the bus.
While waiting to get back on the bus, I talked to a couple, younger that the rest of us, from Italy.
The man said in broken English, ” We checked into the hotel and came right to Graceland. We had to see where the king of Rock-n-Roll lived.”
In the end, I almost bought that photograph taken in front of the cardboard facade. I thought $35.00 was just too much.