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I just got back from a trip I took to Memphis with my mom. She’s 81, banks on-line, spoils her grandchildren, and gets around quite well for someone with a knee replacement. My mother carries traces of her English accent and colloquial mannerisms. The English will sometimes add the pronoun “our” prior to the first name of a close family member or friend. It’s endearing and identifying. Such as “our Amy’ or “our Mike. ” Well anyway “our cousin Mike” passed in 2006 and we went to see his wife, “our Evelyn,” who retired and moved to Memphis Tennessee to be closer to her daughter. So my mother and I, after months of saying we would visit her, booked our calendars, pulled out the maps and set off.
As driver, I initially felt dutiful. I prepared myself for the potential irks which may occur between companions while traveling together in prolonged close confinement. I maintained composure despite repeating everything twice to my mother who’s hard of hearing. I vowed to leave work at work. I resolved myself to remain socially open and flexible to any situations that may present themselves. I left in a positive state and once the wheels got rolling a funny thing happened. I realized I was no longer a considerate visitor, I was on an adventure. After all, I was going to Graceland.
I was born to rock and roll, so visiting Sun Record Studio, where it all began, for me was trip to Mecca. It’s just little hole-in-the-wall converted store space, but it’s the story, not the store that had a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. Memphis is also home to the blues, and Beale Street is a must for any art lover who likes music.
Letting the good times roll, we took the Graceland V.I.P. Tour. The place is a perpetual commercial moneymaker, keeping vigil that will immortalize Elvis well into the next century. Regardless, the sun was shining, the grounds were blooming and the crowd was down. Critics will sight the mansion as showy and tasteless, but I’ve seen shades of fads like his at several DaDa exhibits. What a beautiful and handsome young man he was. Elvis loved to dress and the King’s clothes and costumes are in a league of their own. But come on, who doesn’t have a little kitsch in their closet? Whatever the opinions, one can’t discredit his laurels and his art. He sold over one billion records worldwide, 131 certified gold albums and singles, stared in 33 films, and appeared in 1,100 concerts before dying at the age of 43. Having extended our stay a day longer than planned, we said our tearful good-byes and departed. Our drive home was rainy and gloomy. We covered 600 miles in one day and drove I-94 right through Downtown Chicago. What can I say, it was surreal. I’m home sweet home now, with lots of ideas, and experiences from my adventure to draw from. “Don’t hide your eyes, plagiarize.” I’m excited for it to get green. I’ve rearranged a few things around the house and wore added accessories to work. Most fun of all, I’m practicing “Don’t Step On My Blue Suede Shoes.”
By Victoria Schaefer