Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walkin' in Memphis ~ Touring Graceland and a Reflection on All Things Elvis.......

This.
This guy.

Are you lonesome tonight?
 Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a bright sunny day?
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?


Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

<<sigh>>
One of a kind.


How do you remember him?
Young, carefree, riotous,
 emblematic of  1950s rock?


Or 1970s Vegas icon?
THANKYOUTHANKYOUVERYMUCH

My memories are an ethereal combination of both.....
the young, carefree, genteel Southern boy,
and wow, what an accent,
 more-surprised-than-his-fans
to be taking the nation by storm 
AND
the confident-in-front-of-a-hundred-thousand-screaming-fans
on a Vegas stage
rocking sideburns and a sequined polyester jumpsuit .
With tails. 
Would you call them tails?
Whatever...no one else could pull that off.
No. One.

One hot, sticky August night when I was 12,
we got the news...and I mean all of us kids on the block....
we all  heard.
Out playing in our Queens street...ringalevio, hide n seek,
running bases....I'm not sure by now what...but I do know for sure
we were captive to
the freedom, the heat, the laughs, the knowing that it would all
 end in a few weeks' time and 
we'd soon be sitting in row upon row
 in Sr Mary Alice's classroom.
Seventh grade? Eighth? 
It's hazy now.
Someone, somewhere, a parent, an older sibling heard, read, saw.
 News was received in those days at a snail's pace....
you remember, right?
Delivered by Walter Cronkite or every few minutes on the AM channels
and that was it. Not at lightning speed and from across the 
globe within seconds as it is now. 
So there it was. 
We came to a screeching halt.
Not  our game.
But a small part of each of us.
Because if you weren't an Elvis fan on August 16, 1977,
you fast became one. 
That's how it was.
That date became The Line between Then and Now.

Seen on Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis

Legions of kids and adults everywhere seemed to recognize the
importance, like his music or not, of The King's presence........
 here one day and not, the next.
And at the tragic young age of only 42.

Fast forward a decade and "sightings" abound.
Now, four decades after his passing, given time and distance,
 we see with clarity not only Elvis's stamp on our culture
but his legacy of generosity.

So how about you??
Are you a fan??
Frankly, I don't see how anyone can not be......
but this, from someone who grew up with a pink Elvis clock,
swingin' hips and all in her room and 
knew all the lyrics to all the songs by the time
I entered kindergarten.
Yeah.
Well, this is our third time walkin' in Memphis,
first with our boys.

Let me take you along on our tour of the inimitable...Graceland......




What an address...............:

Here it is~
The one and only Graceland:
THOSE  ICONIC GATES!
The boys were more excited about  them,
than  the Canyon, I think!

My little man, guitar  and music freak that he is, ( ! ) 
may or may not be gettin' a whole bunch of
Elvis paraphernalia come a certain birthday in December!

Here they are, 
up close and eager to head in  and stand amid The King's digs.

We took the audio tour, which
describes each room, almost each item, in scrupulous detail.
My family and I were, in fact, furnished with complimentary tickets to tour
Graceland as well as Elvis's airplane and his car collection 
in exchange for me bloggin' 'bout it.
Me? Small time blogging girl?
Yeah, they laughed, those sweethearts at Graceland.
Of course, you......we love Mommy bloggers, they said.
As if Elvis needs PR.
And from the likes of me.
But....they said...they aim to keep his legacy alive
across all cultures, all faiths, all generations.
And so...lucky us!
So, journey with us, won't you?
Let's start here in the formal living room:



Formal dining room

The "television room" in the basement!


I think the "jungle room" might be our favorite!


The gold album/costume building adjacent to Elvis's home:




Impressive.
We were awed.
These are just a sampling of his gold and platinum albums
and his Vegas costumes.
The rest are in another building.

~The Gardens of Graceland~

The backyard and the back of the main house:
 Pool area:
See the crowds toward the back of the picture?



That's Elvis's grave and graves of several people special in his life.....:


Despite the crowd, you could hear a pin drop here.


~Elvis's Car Collection~
Each of Elvis's cars has a "story" attached.


Whether it's taking it to visit friends for a holiday or birthday
or gifting it to a loved one, Elvis was sentimental about his possessions.
here are a few~

Elvis gave this  special pink car to his mother one Christmas:




I took these pictures:


outside the car museum specifically
for my friend Sue who has the coolest last name ever.
Hi Sue!

~The Lisa Marie~ 
On April 17, 1975 Elvis bought a Convair 880 Jet, 
recently taken out of service by Delta Airlines, 
for the then-substantial sum of $250,000.
He immediately rechristened it the Lisa Marie. - 
And here's the legendary jet~




~Elvis's  Legacy of Charity and Humility ~

Most people are in the dark when it comes to Elvis's extraordinary generosity.
Here's one small peek:

In addition, Elvis was a huge supporter of the March of Dimes

 In 1956, before appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show that evening, Elvis was not only inoculated with the new Salk polio vaccine, 
he also recorded a public service announcement for the March of Dimes. 

In January 1958, Elvis posed for photographs at Graceland
 with March of Dimes poster girl, eight-year-old Mary Kosloski. ~~
This photo hangs in Graceland:


Below, you can see the awards lining a hallway 
of a building adjacent to Graceland
which were presented to Elvis for his contributions,
benefit concerts and random acts of kindness.
It's said that Elvis could not hear of someone in need 
without writing a check,  and anonymously most of the time!

From St Jude's Children's Hospital,
to flowers gifted to Moms across Vegas hotels on Mother's Days
 of his performing years there,
to various individuals who needed groceries,
to the Marine Corps toy drive for impoverished  kids at Christmas,
to various children's hospitals all ove the country,
Elvis was driven to give.

Elvis and Dnnny Thomas, founder of the St Jude Children's Hospital, in 1961
One act of charity is perhaps the least known, 
and yet most generous of all.
 Elvis contributed much to
preserving our  great nation's history:
He  performed in 1962  at Honolulu’s Bloch Arena 
 for the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 
Over $62,000 was donated by The King
 to the monument upon the completion of this show!!
Photo of show, below, from Graceland wall:

And by the way, while in Hawaii in 1965 on location for
 Elvis and Colonel Parker visited the completed memorial 
to lay a bell-shaped wreath in honor of the servicemen killed aboard the Arizona.

Did YOU know that Elvis Presley donated so  very much
 ( in 1962 dollars!)
to the development of a memorial honoring
our US serviceman aboard the Arizona,
 bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941?
Wow.

Can I tell you how happy I am to share our trip with you??
I'd like to, once again, thank the good people
of Graceland for offering complimentary passes to my family.
So generous.
Seems like an Elvis thing to do, no?
Other posts in my 
 Visions of the Southwest series~~ 
Here they are if you're interested:

 Journeying Through Time, Digging for Fossils at 
UDig Trilobite Quarry in Delta, Utah
( coming soon!)




Riding the Rapids with 
Mountain Waters Rafting


 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

 Since the Christmas season is almost upon us,
if you find yourself  shopping at amazon
would you consider clicking through my link?
Here it is:
http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&linkCode=ur2&tag=campfandcleat-20
I'm an amazon affiliate and
in this way, I will receive a teeny tiny portion of purchases made 
when clicked through my blog.
If YOU are an amazon affiliate, please send me
your link and I'll be happy to shop through your link!

THANK YOU!

I'd love it if we could be in touch regularly.........
so please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats~!

Enter your email address:



You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,

~Chris

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your trip. It looks like loads of fun. My memories of Elvis include my stepdad who has since passed away. I was around 8yo when he was wooing my mom and I remember listening to Elvis on his 8-track tapes while riding on the hump in his Chevy Blazer. Your post made me smile at that memory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, I love that.....that's what connecting on soc media's all about, right? Great memories, Tara, thank you!

      Thanks for visiting too!

      Delete
  2. My husband and I went to Graceland for our honeymoon 23 years ago. Love this post! Brought back great memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, who could believe 1991 was 23 yo?? So happy you stopped by, Anne, and remembered some of those fun day!

      Thank you!

      Delete
  3. What a tour! Thankyouthankyouverymuch (sorry, couldn't resist. Might go make myself a peanut butter and banana sammich just to top things off). Fun to see inside Graceland ..I saw the outside once, from a car.... wooo hooo. What you wrote gave me in interesting perspective from your age group (younger than mine ;) ). I was a child when Elvis came on the scene, and I just looked at him as someone my much-older sister and her friends seemed to totally lose their minds about! Only in adulthood did I appreciate his talent as a singer. Enjoyed your tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're hilarious Nancy!

      Thanks so much for the fun....always love when you visit the blog, friend! Seems we each have our own strong memories of that era!

      Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  4. I love posts like these. I've always wanted to see Graceland. What a fun place, that pool looks amazing! Wow, look at everything. It looks like a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leslie~~ THANKS so very much...so happy you visited and enjoyed a little walk through Elvis's home!

      xoxoxox

      Delete
  5. What Fun! My nana was a big Elvis Fan! We played his version of Amazing Grace at her funeral. Thanks for sharing at FTF!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, what a great idea to play an Elvis song at her funeral! How wonderful!

      Jen, thanks so much for stopping by!! I appreciate your visit

      Delete
  6. Very super cool. Now, I really want to go.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.. .....
I LOVE YOUR COMMENTS!!
I will reply right here in the combox; so please check back if you'd like to continue the conversation.

Unfortunately, I've had to reactivate comment moderation due to frequent spam. So sorry you have to deal with this inconvenience.

If you'd like, you can contact me instead via email ~
campfiresandcleatsATgmail DOT com.