Wednesday, September 17, 2014


You can't go to Memphis without visiting Graceland, home of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.  I was born an Elvis fan and it hasn't diminished one bit!!  For $33.00 (senior price) you can visit the house, the museum, the cars and much more ... well worth the cost and enough to keep you busy the entire day!!
From Graceland RV park, you just walk across the parking lot to the complex where you catch a bus that takes you to the front door of the mansion.  That whole process is time consuming, but allows you lots of gift shop time ... take a backpack to haul off your goodies!!
Of course there is the usual obligatory picture before boarding the bus ... and although I was told there would be NO picture-taking, I snuck one in as I was walking away.  Hey, I wasn't the only one...
You can even take pictures at the front door of the home ... this one with their blessing!!  You just have to convince the foreigners that you really would like YOUR picture without THEM in it!!!  I'd also like them to know they really CAN share pictures, instead of playing the camera shuffle game for 15 minutes while the rest of us lose our place in line for the bus!!  We were all given interactive iPads with earphones that showed pictures of each room and told some stories about the goings on.
 This is the Elvis Presley I remember ...
He purchased this 13 acre colonial mansion at the age of 22 and moved his parents, his grandmother and half of the "Memphis Mafia" in ... his buddies and body guards.  I can't imagine trying to keep this white furniture and carpet clean.  I never did hear anything about maids!
The dining room table is set with his and Pricilla's wedding china, and they said on occasion, his daughter Lisa Marie (who inherited Graceland by the way) eats here when she comes to visit.
Gorgeous chandeliers hang everywhere!!  We weren't allowed upstairs to the bedrooms, or to the bathroom where he died in August 1977.
This is the only bedroom on the ground floor and belonged to his mother Gladys.  Those are her clothes hanging in the closet, behind the glare and reflection from the glass door.  The mansion is much more understated that I imagined, but you have to like looking at yourself.  There are mirrors on almost every single wall.  Floor to ceiling ... all the way up the staircases ... mirrors everywhere!!
Here's a good example.  Kind of makes you crazy, right??  This is a shot of the stairs going to the basement, with mirrors on both walls and the ceiling.  At the very bottom is the head of the girl in front of me ... all the rest is mirrors!!!  It almost made it hard to walk down the steps!!!
YAY ... a room with no mirrors ... but this one had a thousand yards of fabric pleated on the walls and ceiling instead.  With a low ceiling like this, it was definitely a little claustrophobic.  The couch is covered in the same material!!!  Who the heck picked THIS out!!!  Psychedelic for sure!!
You might think this is pretty gaudy ... but since this blue and yellow combination is one of my favorites, I liked it ... but again with the mirrors surrounding the fireplace.  I suppose it was to make every room look bigger.  Since he saw someone on TV watching three TV's at once, he wanted the same ... so three are set up on the counter, right side middle.
Pretty wild ... all the cushions have crystals and sequins ... I'm not sure about the monkey ceramic figure ... maybe it was a house warming gift!!!
Then it was on to the jungle room.  Okay, I'll admit this one is weird!!  The green shag is just as bad as it was in the 70's and in many places it covers the walls.
Elvis loved Hawaii ... and maybe this reminded him of being in the islands.  I laughed however when I saw the black ceramic panther on the coffee table.  My family had one exactly like it!!
I think pretty much every room had a bar, and this one was no exception.  You are allowed to take pictures, but NO flash is allowed.  They keep the rooms very dark so most probably don't come out well ... but my camera takes pictures in almost pitch black!  Even so, it took a little to make these visible!
All around the house are pictures of Elvis, I think one of Priscilla and Lisa Marie and one of his parents.  Be sure to visit the archives exhibit.  They change the show often, but ours showed receipts and proofs of images Elvis had taken of himself and his parents ... costing $169 in the early 60's.  That's pretty pricey!!
I think I had a kitchen that looked like this one ... I KNOW I had the same harvest gold refrigerator!!  Nothing fancy about this ... except he had televisions everywhere and a camera security system that was monitored from here.  Do you love the kitchen carpet??  Yup, I had that too.  It's horrible ... no offense Elvis!!!
Out in the back yard were corrals for horses and a huge barn that we could barely see, along with a racquetball court and a swimming pool.  They make no mention of his death other than he went to the racquetball court in the afternoon and upon returning to the house, died.  Liar liar pants on fire!!  I was glued to every radio and TV news report back then!!
There's so much more to see, including the Trophy Room where all his gold records hang along with many of his costumes.  Just below the pool is a small water feature and meditation garden where he is buried.  Colonel Parker had Elvis buried here, then moved his wife Gladys to the back yard.  When the Colonel died, he too was buried here.  Funny ... Elvis' grandmother outlived them all and was buried here also.  I followed one lady for the last 30 minutes and she just wouldn't move out of the way so others could see and take pictures.  I swear I heard her crying!!!
All around the property they are playing Elvis interviews, tapes and music ... this one of course the famous Ed Sullivan show where they didn't want to show him from the waist down.  Yes, I was glued to the TV that night ... and watched every news show and rerun after!!
I loved the black leather outfit from his comeback in 1968.  He was really great in that show ... but then he got kind of weird with the jumpsuits, sparkly and dangly things.  Who knew there was an owl on this belt??  Another had thunderbirds .... 
You can actually buy his costumes in the gift shop.  Reproductions of course, and I'm sure they were 3 sizes smaller, but really nice none the less.  If you want to be an Elvis impersonator, this is the place to spend your $2,600.00
This is one he actually wore ... a little more understated, but with unicorns on the lapels.
And of course the one that looks like water running down his front.  They have lots of his costumes, including the paisley tuxedo he wore for his wedding to Priscilla ... and her "different" wedding gown.  Do I seem a little testy??  Yeah, we were all jealous to be sure!!
All in all it was a great experience not to be missed!!  We hit every gift shop and I came away with cd's, T-shirts, bobby socks and a beautiful Elvis watch!!  If you look at the number of people getting on the busses here, I'm sure he's making MUCH more money now than he ever did ... or at least SOMEONE is making money!!

Back at the rigs, a quick phone call to Marlowe's restaurant gets you a pink limo at your door to take you to one of the best eateries in Memphis.  It was packed to the brim when we arrived, and service was a little slow at first.  The food was terrific and the dessert of a Krispie Kreme donut covered with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and peanut butter sauce was outstanding!!  So good and so much food that I didn't sleep all night!!  LOL  

Thanks for the memories Elvis .............

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