Visiting Graceland would not be my first choice of vacation destination, but if you’re doing a road trip which passes through Memphis, well, it would be foolish to not stop. I was still in single digit age when Elvis was ‘King’ but it didn’t stop a brief flirtation with the swivel- hipped heart-throb before allegiance passed to the Beatles. There’s very little I remember about him other than the early songs and a controversial appearance on
The Ed Sullivan Show when he was only televised from the waist up. So, my ideas on what I would see at Graceland were somewhat negative: I was wrong. If you accept that it is a time capsule of ‘70s décor and know the shag pile is coming your way, it’s all very well done. I did rather feel like I had stepped into The Twilight Zone at times, but
aside from that, enjoyed the visit. Of course, it’s all highly edited so no photos of Elvis in the bloated years are shown, no mention of divorce is made, and certainly no whiff of drugs. It’s the sanitized version of which Col. Parker would have approved.
After a lunch of Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken—one
hiccough in our healthy eating routine—we went on to the National Civil Rights Museum, housed in the Lorraine Motel. This was definitely not sanitized. It starts with a gut-punch on how whites kidnapped Africans in the 1600s, and goes on through the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. at that very same Lorraine Motel and the capture of James Earl Ray. The museum doesn’t mind pointing out that Lincoln only instigated the Emancipation Proclamation as a
political act to subdue the South rather than to actually free the slaves, and that the wealth of the North was as much based on slavery in the South as the South’s own economy.
I’m not going to get involved in this argument; I’ll leave it there. I did, however, buy a baseball cap—something I never wear—which says, “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”