(The following was written at a time on the road with a bit “grrr” – but not to be mistaken for the people or experience with them. Just grumpy at the time – I decided to leave it as is.)
I was always more of a Beatles fan personally but there has also always been this stupid “him or them” division. Hey, they BOTH did it. He, alone first! Give the kid credit. Even ‘they’ give him credit. “That’s a good job!” – John Lennon said while watching an Elvis movie before being a Beatle.
I accidently found myself in an area close to Tupelo, Mississippi, birthplace of young truck driver, Elvis Presley. “Gotta go!” I says to me.
I was actually in neighbouring Alabama and trying to wind my way into Ol’ Miss and found myself lost at a crossroads. (No phone cell bars and no, they don’t have maps as they .. well, don’t use them because they don’t travel much beyond them county lines!) I had to buy some more ‘jerky’ (which I hate, but it breaks the ice). Anyway, I asked how to get to Tupelo? (1 or 2 hours away, birthplace of Elvis Presley.) She looked at me with scrunched face … paused, … then said “FRANK!” Hubby (?) waddled out from the back to help. “Where ya gettin’’ to?” “Tupelo” I said. (Insert long pause and stroking of chin here.) Eventually I said ..”Mississippi?? It’s just over there, somewhere ….” pointing to the west.
He thought a lot, then kinda burped, “well, .. ya go left … then look fer a sign … that says ‘HA–Way’, and ya turn there!” (Now, normally I don’t mean to make fun of folk as they exist everywhere, including my home town – but ….). This took me about 2 hours in the complete WRONG direction. Thanks ‘Frank’.
Finally arriving in Tupelo I grab the first place avail. (Ma’am reads me the usual riot act, then points to the ‘pool’ (to which there were obviously no well-respecitng mosquitoes who woud dare raise their young). Tupelo, Mississippi is still ‘small’ and I mean that in the best sense. I purposely walked down by the older buildings thinking “Elvis may have touched these stone walls..” I even went to the worst, oldest liquor store (only to learn liquor stores can’t sell beer in Mississippi? Period ???). Elvis would not have gone here!
The next morning I went to see his childhood home, bright and early. (Tip – Good tip!) Nobody was there except me. (10am?) The house where he grew up in the early 50’s was probably ‘typical’, but VERY small in today’s standards. (Hey, they had a house!). For some reason the Presley’s were kind of ‘shunned’ from their neighbours while they lived there. (I’d never heard of Elvis or his family to be involved in anything ‘bad’, so the stories are probably just local gossip from long ago.) Raspberry bushes and such still surround the area. They literally moved his church onto the property as well. (Didn’t have time to pray.)
While going through his house, I noticed a very famous “hat” (belonging to his dad Vern, in a very famous early pic of Elvis – which I can’t post for copyright reasons), simply hanging on the wall.
The woman (curator) sitting behind the red, felt, stanchion was older (Elvis’ age), acknowledged that yes, that was indeed “that hat”. I immediately thought of grabbing it, running, and selling it on eBay …but didn’t. She was cool and could have probably caught me. We got to talking. She knew Elvis before he went to Memphis (to record his first) and said “always the gentleman!” Years later, he even invited (paid for) her and her Mom and Dad to come to Vegas to see him. Begged the question – “well .. um … just how WELL did you know young Elvis, Ma’am?”
“We don’t talk about that sort of thing!”
Hey, I met a woman who ‘probably boinked Elvis’! Top that!