May 23rd (part two) “Finally my destination is in sight”

The question to ask is why am I actually doing this. Not sure there is a clear answer. Because I can? Because I should ?

I think perhaps everyone is an Elvis fan although some have yet to openly admit it. I think apart from a great voice and good looks Elvis stands to symbolize the American dream that through your talent and hard work you can achieve anything and everything.

I am a fan not a huge one. I have maybe 2 CD’s but whenever you hear his voice ringing out there is that familiar comforting feeling. He sang well and never seemed to stretch for the note it is crystal clear and annunciated and generally something you can either follow or sing along to.

When I first arrived in the US and found he had a whole station to himself it was my Saturday morning treat to turn Sirius on and blast him through the home theater singing along as well as I could. Not sure Judi felt the same appreciation as generally she was still asleep however what better was to start the day than with a duet of Elvis and Steph singing “There will be peace in the Valley” (although maybe not in the house) anyway it was something I did for quite a while. On a trip back from buying wine in France I once bought a CD in a service area and sang along with it although Judi was in a different car so Elaine had the dubious pleasure that time but I as usual had a blast.

So the answer has to be because I want to

You might find it useful to follow this blog along with the pictures

So here I am Graceland, in my mind it would be quaint and quiet, I really should know better. Turn into the car park past the two jet planes and park near the camping ground across from all the coaches. Follow the crowd and find the ticket office there are half a dozen positions. I ask for the Mansion tour and the girl informs me the wait is probably 60 -90 minutes for the shuttle (Graceland is on the other side of the road) and suggests I might want to tour the planes and automobiles first it will have calmed down in a while.
Fine I think why not I doubt I will be back ever so $33 passes between us. The planes are interesting big chairs and beds and bathrooms, phones which the audio says actually worked which is interesting given we are not even allowed to do that on flights now! (Coming soon I am sure). There are also a few Tv’s of the tube type for tapes.

Whilst interesting they only waste 20 minutes so off to the cars. On the way I check the shuttle queue a “helper” checks my ticket and says this is 3-7, ok I give up and look puzzled she explains this means the 7th shuttle after 3pm. Not sure of the logic as it seems anyone can just wander into the queue but no matter it is open until 5pm so lots of time. To the cars, each one has a little plaque which explains which film it was used in or how / where Elvis acquired it. Of special interest is the small run about’s as these would have been very new at the time and these little quads look very out of date next to the Rolls and the MG and Ferrari. There is the Pink Cadlillac well I assume it is pink being colorblind is sometimes a drag anyway it is not white or gray so pink it shall be to me. You can check the photos.

Back to the queue after picking out some suitable souvenirs. The line moves regularly and pretty soon headsets are given out. Very useful as they begin to set the scene for us. There are people of all sizes and nationalities which is hardly a surprise. We are off across the road. The gates have their own traffic lights which is, whilst cool also only to be expected. A driveway of around 150 yards leads to the house. Graceland is one of those places like the Eiffel tower or the Sydney opera house you know what it is going to look like before you get there and id does not disappoint. It is of course smaller than your mind imagines and also fairly small by today,s American standards but that is not a put down just a comment. There is the group before us getting briefed outside the door.

Our turn ok no video and no flash but anything else is ok. I am actually first through the door and primed for action. The first thing you see is a lounge with huge white sofas and some stained glass creating a small room at the end where a baby grand piano rests along with a TV set. There is a large clock above the fireplace which is surrounded by glass tiles and gold drapes. A simply stunning site. Off around the corner to see the bedroom for the Presley seniors then onto the dining room very ornate furniture and cabinets. Black marble tiles underneath the table and a large chandelier. Purple drapes and silverware settings for six. 

Through to the kitchen which the audio says was refurbished just before Elvis died. It looks kind of dated. It is large even by today,s standards and I think maybe a lot of time was spent in this area. Large refrigerator and cooker toaster TV so everything you would have yourself. Down the stairs to another lounge. Large sofas a bar, 3 TV’s, stereo system. It seems Elvis learned the then US president had 3 TV’s so he could see all three networks running at the same time so he did the same. One could only imagine with the proliferation of stations today the whole room could not show them. Anyway in it’s day this was as good as it got.
Next door the pool room is covered top to bottom in heavy patterned fabric. The same fabric is used on the couches and chairs and the pool table dominates the center of the room. Ever so slightly weird but fine we are not judging taste here we are getting an insight to someone who could have whatever they wanted. Up different stairs to the “Jungle room” which is fitted out in interesting wooden furniture African style with large carvings on some of which are animal heads. Everything is covered in what looks like animal skin but cannot detrmine which animal. Not sure what I was expecting probably zebra skin but it must have been awesome when he put it in.

Next out of the house and into a small office complex. Old filing cabinets typewriters phones. A moment captured in time. Across the back of the house which looks very calming. Through a trophy and gold disc exhibit including the famous Gold Lame suit. Outside again and across to the once racquet ball court Elvis had built. It is not another trophy room and floor to ceiling discs and plaques. It also has those show suits he was so famous for. A showman he understood you had to create a spectacle which the paying public would enjoy and he always gave them what they wanted.
Out once again and across to the garden of remembrance where mom dad and Elvis lie. Moved here after a failed attempt to steal him from a local cemetery (there are some strange people). I snatch a couple of photos at the front of the house as there are no new guests. Get a Japanese guy to take a couple of snaps of me and get dizzy with all the bowing afterwards.

I hang around the souvenir shops for a long while all themed for different items, cars, shows, sun records, films, kids.

Thinking about the house I realize there was nothing at all in the house relating to the fame or the glamour which was Elvis. No pictures, discs, posters. This was where they escaped from all of this. Nothing specifically inside the hose would actually give a clue to who owned it or what they did. All of that was outside the confines of Graceland. It was very well set out but that is to be expected however it was a family home inside if a little grand.

So worth the effort? You bet. Would I recommend it? Yes definitely if you are within 500 miles then take the detour. Would I go back? Probably, and why not (not on my own though I think it needs friends so Bev when you are ready let me know). It is quite an adventure and something I am glad I made the effort for all that was missing was some friends to share it with so “you reading this will be them” so
in the word of the icon

Thank you, Thank you very much