Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Went to Memphis, Memphis Tennessee

Dear Blogger friends, I have not abandoned you! I've been on hiatus while having a little vacation in Memphis with the fam. What a great trip- we left Sunday morning and arrived at our destination at about 7pm that evening. It would have been 6pm, but Mapquest let us down. For the most part, it was fine, except for this strange I-55/240 deal that made us look for an exit that did not exist and caused us to end up in not such a nice part of West Memphis, Arkansas.

We made the pilgrimage trip to Graceland, which I found to be all at once overwhelmingly tacky and touching. The kitchen is surprisingly small and very homey- very 70's in its decor. Lisa Marie is right around my age and her swingset is still in the backyard- and it's just a regular ol' swingset. I' ve never been much of an Elvis fan, so I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the whole Elvis enigma. He was incredibly talented and seems to have been an intelligent, interesting man with good Southern manners who loved his parents. And then there's this whole fake fur and white jumpsuit thing...That's when I'm like WTF?

We had lunch on Beale Street in glorious sunny, 80 degree weather and then proceeded to make the trek to Sun Recording Studio, where Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Mr. Johnny Cash first recorded. We decided to take the trolley, which was kind of dumb on our part, since it's not really on the trolley line, but whatever. We got there and purchased our tickets for the next available tour, which wasn't for another 20 minutes. So, we browsed the gift shop and were looking around, when I hear a male voice say my husband's name, followed by an "Oh my God! What are you guys doing here?". It was this guy Mr. T used to play music with - and with whom he has recorded a few songs- there with his family. Is that not weird? They live in our city, although we've not seen them for years, except for one chance meeting at an ice cream shop a year ago. And then, in a large city like Memphis, to run into them? They have a little girl around the same age as my girls, so we decided to hook up- a Rendez-vous at the Rendez-vous barbeque -yum. We ran into them at the Peabody Hotel- they were there for the ducks at the same time. The were at the Civil Rights Museum with us the next day, too. Almost like being on vacation together.

The OTHER weird coincidence was that while planning our trip, we discovered that the National Civil Rights Museum was closed on Tuesdays, so we decided to hit it on Wed. Wed, April 4. April 4 is the anniversary of his assassination. Isn't that crazy? They had a vigil that evening- George Michael sent a piano that had once belonged to John Lennon and supposedly composed the song "Imagine" on said piano. We figured the vigil would be too crowded, so we didn't go. We figured wrong. But, we did go to the museum earlier that day. It's built around the old Lorraine Motel- it's kind of erie- then you go across the street to finish the museum tour and it's in the old boarding house where James Earl Ray stayed and from where he shot Dr. King. You actually stand in the spot where he stood and look over at the motel balcony- very creepy.

I have kind of a history of travelling to places right at the same time as significant events happen. We were in Savannah, Georgia right after they finished filming "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"; we were in Littleton right after the Columbine shootings; I was in Chicago this fall when Oprah and Bono did their big RED promotion- so I got to see all kinds of celebs. When I was really little I was in Washington DC during the Nixon trials- of course I thought it was nothing short of BORING, but I do remember it being on my grandmother's television.

I always like to come away from a trip with little funnies- like my Beef a Roo sighting. Today's was this crazy billboard around St. Louis that had this cute picture of a baby with the message "WHO'S MY DADDY?"- an ad for DNA testing. And does the state of Missouri really need to have towns called Cooter and Festus? Really?

The other funny is hearing my 6 year old say in her best Elvis voice: "Thank you. Thank you very much."


Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

You totally need to upload a video of the Elvis impersonation.

4/06/2007 1:07 PM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

I often say that "Thank you, thank you very much" thing. Once, my then seven-year-old daughter replied, "Elvis."

I asked, "How on earth did you know that?"

"I saw it on Full House," she said.

4/06/2007 3:23 PM  
Blogger Bellezza said...

What a great post! I've never been to any places you described, except in books. I agree with you on the Elvis fur thing...he looked so good when he was in leather and skinny pants, and then what happened? Inglebert Humperdink influence? It must have been amazing to be there for the King vigil. I've always thought he was such a man of integrity, one truly worth a place of honor in our history. Who's My Daddy? reminds me of a (horrible) disc jockey here who holds some kind of radio show where he keeps saying, "Who da baby daddy?" I just made a cheap connection to the billboard sign you saw. It's probably not that relevant. :)

p.s. It was fun seeing "new!" by my name in your links. I'm going to add you to mine, okay?

4/08/2007 6:37 PM  
Blogger Mr. Lawrence said...

I'm jealous. Everywhere I keep reading about people I know going on vacations. It's making me itchy for my trip to Costa Rica in June ....

Also, I spend only ONE (1) day in Memphis. I got the feeling I missed a LOT.

4/08/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

Ah, isn't Memphis fun? (And only 3 hours from me!) Hubby and I don't get there all that much, but it's a fun time when we do. Although, truth be told, my first glimpse of Graceland was a 2 am (we were actually passing through on our way to somewhere else) and I thought it was the most bizarre thing...people standing around like they were waiting for Elvis to rise from the dead or something.

Tennessee is just a wonderful place to visit - and live!

4/10/2007 8:45 PM  

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