Today we visited Tupelo and the tiny house which was the birth place of Elvis Presley. Back when he was born this was a tiny village really but it’s a pretty large place now although you can still get the country feel around the house. Elvis’ father, grandfather and uncle built this house although Elvis only lived here until he was 3 when his father was arrested for cheque fraud and they lost the house. It was really the only place that was actually theirs until many years later as they moved around a lot after here. The Tupelo house is what’s known as a shotgun house which means the rooms follow on from each other, you have to walk through one room to get to the next. It’s a pretty common type of house at this time but this was just a two room house. The first room being a lounge and bedroom and the other a kitchen diner. There was a little film that gave you an idea of Elvis’ life here (they stayed in Tupleo until he was 13 so it covers up to then) as well as stories from people who knew the family etc. You can visit the chapel Elvis went to and where he started singing (it has been moved a couple of streets and is now next to the house) and they have a presentation there to give you an idea of what a service was like. Loud is the answer. It was lovely here too, really gave you a feeling of what life had been like for the Presley family. You can even go into town and see the shop (still running) where Elvis got his first guitar, although stories seem to differ on whether it was his mum or dad that took him for it. He wanted a gun or a bike but his mum said both were too dangerous so he ended up with a guitar lol.
After lunch (including an amazing watermelon water!) and a wander round town we had to get back on the road again heading in the direction of Birmingham, Alabama (cue more singing!). We found a hotel just outside the city, nothing special but we have a couple of things nearby planned for tomorrow. Tomorrow is Rickwood and Shloss.
Today was Elvis day baby!!!! We arrived at Graceland at about 10 am and surprisingly there really wasn’t much of a queue! We had a bit of a wait until the next tour at 11, so we went to look around the cars first. Yeah, he certainly had a few. I’m not really a car person so I can’t really remember what most of them were but he certainly like his bright colours, think purple cars or I think I saw one with red leather seats lol. Not exactly a wallflower was he, but you only need to see his costumes later on to know that! He also had a lot of golf carts and snow mobiles which he had converted to run on grass (cos there isn’t much snow in Memphis :p). Elvis, his family and friends used to race them all over the place and Elvis would often lead them off the property and onto the main road lol. He wouldn’t be able to do that today, far too busy :p
We went round one or two other collections too before the tour of the house, one of which contained some of Elvis’ costumes as well as bits and pieces of memorabilia. The best thing was in all of the different displays they had videos. In the car display they had video clips of either films he was in or home movies with him driving different vehicles, in the costumes place they had different videos showing Elvis wearing the costumes on display. It was cleverly worked really. So much to see. Later there was a Hawaii presentation where they showed clips of Elvis in the big Hawaii concert as well as clips of him filming there etc. I found it so amusing that his mum had made him promise he would never fly unless he had to so he took a boat all the way to Hawaii because if that promise lol. Amusing that he had his own planes too when he had made this promise lol.
Then it was time for the house itself! Upon stepping through the door I have to admit it was not what I expected. It get much smaller than it looks in pictures, from the hallway anyway because I guess I was expecting a big hallway and there really wasn’t one. It was kind of open plan into the lounge and dining area which was a surprise. It’s only when you walk further back in the house to the extensions they added that you see that it’s larger. There is a large basement as well as the famous jungle room at the back of the house. Elvis never allowed anyone other than the people that lived in the house to go upstairs, apparently the minute he walked downstairs he was in showman mode even if it was just his friends there, so we were not allowed upstairs. They had lots of grounds and outside buildings too each with other displays happening. I could have sat and watched the videos all day but we had other plans before moving on for the night so Glen basically had to drag me away. It was amazing, something I have wanted to do for so long and I’m so happy I finally got there. Oh, incidentally, don’t eat there. Meatloaf may well have been one of Elvis’ favourite meals but I’m pretty sure that would not have been the case if he had eaten in that restaurant! The others might be better, idk.
After Graceland we went to a huge local cemetery called Elmwood. We hired a CD to do a drive round tour which covered all sorts, including one woman who killed all of her husband’s, at least 5 I think. But still people kept marrying her lol! Busy day, tomorrow off to Tupelo to see where Elvis was born 🙂