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[personal profile] terracinque
I feel wonderful this morning. I usually like Monday mornings anyway, unlike most people, because I love knowing that the week looms unwritten before me, and it can still become any story I choose.

I'm in particularly good spirits this Monday, because I got a decent night's sleep last night. Nine hours, probably. Sweet. Now I can have tea (Earl Grey, purchased at Harrod's back in January) instead of coffee.

(Breakfast Club digression: I drank a Diet Dr Pepper on my way in to work, and brought a grapefruit with me. Once at work I made tea and poured a Diet Coke. I ate the grapefruit and drank the Diet Coke while browsing SDMB, and while my tea steeped and cooled.)

So, Friday morning I flew to Memphis. [livejournal.com profile] _sophie met me at the airport, but it was too early to check into my hotel, so we went to Graceland, which was one of my checklist items for the visit.

My first impression of the place was how small it is. Don't get me wrong, it's a big house, and I'd love to have that much square footage. But it's not the size I think of when I think of mansions and it's certainly not as big as I'd expect someone as fabulously wealthy as Elvis to live in. The kitchen, for example, was only about twice the size of my own. The swimming pool was no larger than many middle-class folks have today.

I'm not much of an Elvis fan, but I gained a new appreciation for him. Granted, Graceland would present him in the best light possible, but it matches what I've heard about him from other sources, namely that he remained humble and unassuming, even when he became rich and famous. He didn't put on any airs or act like he was better than other people.

And his single biggest pastime seems to have been charity. We were given electronic audio guides to take us through the house, and Lisa Marie said on it that she never saw anyone leave the King empty-handed. The famous "pink Cadillacs given away to strangers" were just the tip of the iceberg. He gave money to friends, strangers, organizations...anyone who needed it and who got his attention.

I'd like to know who his gatekeepers were, and who was turned away before getting his attention. But [livejournal.com profile] _sophie assures me his estate has continued his charitable giving. That made me feel better about the $16 price to get into the place.

Part of the reason Elvis is seen as such a ridiculous creature today is because of when he died: the 70's. Everything looked ridiculous in the 70's, but because we can't update our image of Elvis, he's trapped forever in that rhinestoned white jumpsuit. His kitchen's refrigerator will forever be that "harvest gold" color that half the refrigerators in the 70's wore (the other half being "avocado").

The "jungle room" next to the kitchen will always look like a set stolen from a 60s Rat Pack movie set in Vegas, with its plush green carpet, artificial waterfall and African furniture and objets d'art. I half-expected to see Dean Martin sitting in a corner, conferring with Joey Bishop.

What would an 80's Elvis have been like, post-rehab and decked out in braces and power ties? We'll never know, and this makes me rather sad.

Did you know that Elvis won only four Grammys during his career? One was a bullshit "Lifetime Achievement" award, and the other three were for gospel recordings. There's another reason why it's a shame he died when he did; these days you can shit on a CD and win a Grammy for it.

After Graceland [livejournal.com profile] _sophie did what we absolutely had to do: we went to a restaurant across the street and ate fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

More about the trip in my next entry.
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