Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Visiting Graceland

For Easter weekend, my mom and sister came to visit Memphis. Every time my family and friends comes to visit, it can be kind of stressful to think about where to take them.

Well, my sister is completely different because she was ready with a list of places to visit and one of those places was Graceland. Why? I have no idea since we both know nothing about Elvis nor did we grow up listening to his music. I guess the only thing we grew up knowing about Elvis was that Uncle Jesse on Full House was obsessed with Elvis; which ironically, John Stamos had a very important role in our visit to Graceland. He was our digital tour guide during our entire visit.

Anyway, even when you know nothing about him, he is talked about in other music, movies, and in a multitude of high-demand, popular cultural images in America and in the rest of the world… and he hasn’t been alive since the 70s. I wish I could write a comprehensive research paper or some type of analytical essay on Elvis Presley, because I learned so much from my four-hour visit to Graceland. To spare everyone from boredom, three of the best things I learned from my visit were…

1. He had very eclectic taste.

2. He loved Memphis.

3. He loved his one-and-only daughter Lisa Marie so very much.

The first place we visited during our tour was his very beautiful, well-decorated, mansion. We got to see the majority of his property, which included his “Jungle Room” and a room that I could only describe as an exploding chaos of all things 70s in America. One thing I got from walking around his mansion was that he definitely had an interesting taste in interior design… but not too far out there for the time period he lived in. I definitely don’t think I would be able to live in his house because of the busyness in the interior design, but after learning so much about him, his personality was completely engraved in how his house was decorated and all his cars and what he spent his money on. He really liked nice things and made sure that was loud and clear in the way he lived.

White Room GracelandOne of the most beautiful places in his house was his living room, the all-white everything with blue and yellow accents. I found it to be the room that showed his classy style but also it created this appearance of purity and perfection. Sadly, we couldn’t go upstairs to his bedroom because it was his sanctuary and wanted to keep it private.

Another thing that I learned about Elvis was how much he loved Memphis. There was a video that kept repeating during the tour about an interview he had about living in Memphis. Basically, he planned on living in Memphis for as long as he possibly could, which is where he died. There were also a few clips about how happy he was when he purchased his home in Memphis and some recalled how content he was every time he came home from touring and traveling. I don’t blame him, Memphis is a great place to live, especially as a musical artist! Elvis wasn’t born in Memphis, but he is currently buried here along with his parents and grandparents. It’s also really nice to know that Lisa Marie and her family still come to Memphis and Graceland to have family dinners.  

Lastly, I quickly learned how much Elvis dearly loved his one-and-only daughter. So much so, that he named one of his airplanes after her. From our visit, it was the biggest plane he owned. He had another smaller jet plane. She had a lot of artifacts in the “Trophy Room” that he bought her and made sure that she shared his high-end lifestyle. Even though she was his only child, her interviews, pictures, and relics of her childhood depicted his love for her.

Banana Peanut Butter sandwich from Gladys' DinerOne other thing that I definitely had to try out was his favorite grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich from Gladys’ Diner. It was delicious! I’m pretty sure I can’t eat that very often, but the simplicity and familial combination of the ingredients of the sandwich completely made sense to how I learned Elvis was – so family oriented and having the comfort of his family every day until he passed away.

So, though I may not have grown up listening to his music, in one way or another I got to know the larger than life, world-renowned, widely celebrated Elvis Presley, quite intimately with my Graceland visit. My mom and sister undoubtedly enjoyed their time as well and mentioned that it was the best part of their visit. If you decide to check it out, there have been a lot of recent updates to the area surrounding the mansion, including a new resort hotel and a multi-million dollar expansion that you can read about here.

What else am I up to? Keep up with my Year One adventures here.

What is Year One? Go here to read more.


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