Ok, you can rest assured that we did not leave Memphis without visiting Elvis.
I knew a couple of his songs, but mostly knew about the jumpsuits and sideburns. My mom was a fan so she often played his music (repetitively), so that’s where most of my Elvis knowledge came from. Until the Country Music Hall of Fame, however, I had no idea how profoundly he shaped the path of popular music and culture, or how enormous his fan base was. Today when we were in Graceland, I actually saw a lady crying.
First, let me tell you of a small disaster that happened to Johnny this morning: we ran out of dental floss. If you scoff, then you don’t know Johnny and his fixation with his teeth. That man flosses and brushes more than anyone else I’ve ever known – all put together. So you can imagine his distress when he went to floss and there were only two inches left:
Anyway, back to Elvis. This is the front of the Graceland mansion:
We have pictures of all sorts of things (let me know if there’s something in specific you want to see), but suffice to say that it is both substantially smaller and substantially tackier than anything that would impress us today. For example, here is the famous ‘Jungle Room’:
Movie poster: “It’s Elvis with his foot on the gas and no brakes on the Fun!!!”
All in all I have to say that our visit to Graceland made me feel very sad.
Elvis had a huge effect on music, popular culture, and just happened to show up at an important time for equal rights. He was profoundly affected by black musicians in his youth and incorporated a lot of their sound in his own work, which angered a lot of white folks. Parents hated him (no doubt fueling the fire of his popularity), and apparently psychiatrists thought his onstage antics would cause ‘sexual depravity’. He was enormously wealthy, enormously generous, crazy in love with his kid, and was a huge philanthropist. He was addicted to sleeping medication from a young age and it sounds like he was pretty depressed for the latter part of his career. Some people think he died from a drug overdose, others think it was an allergic reaction to codeine prescribed to him by his dentist. (Still others think that he is an alien who has gone back to his own planet.) Regardless, it seems so sad to think of such a person dying such an undignified death at such a young age – and then both revered and caricatured for generations thereafter.
I guess that after living such a short and intense life, I would wish the man some peace, and Graceland didn’t seem peaceful at all to me.
Johnny and I are really torn about this picture. She looks so great – – except for the vomit. This is as pretty as vomit can get, my friend:
Aili does not like cucumbers. I think she may have tried one once (ie. put it in her mouth, didn’t actually consume any, and it came RIGHT back out again), but ever since then as soon as she smells or even sees one we get this face:
Poor kid is genetically doomed to be an internet addict like her mommy and daddy. No TV for you, muffin! Here’s a laptop instead.
We’re now in Jackson, Mississippi. Woweee what a place. Johnny was actually getting stared at in Walmart when we went to get him some new dental floss. We have already encountered several communication breakdowns because we can’t understand these people and they can’t understand us. At lunchtime all of the restaurant patrons were white, and all of the employees were black. What does that mean?
Johnny managed to find an all-black radio station on our drive today, and they were discussing, of all things, inter-racial dating. People called in and said that there was nothing wrong with it and the hosts agreed, but then proceeded to sum it all up by saying that they were open to love from any race, but they would prefer that they be black.
Upon reflection, I usually forget that Johnny is Asian and I’m all pasty-like. His is the face that I see everyday and it’s what I like to look at. Johnny says that he forgets he’s Asian too, and that he doesn’t think of me as white, but rather as his wife. Just as it ought to be. I can’t think of a description I like more.