The past week was a travel week for me. While I am working on six separate manuscripts, I have one that has taken the lead. It is a romantic comedy in which an Elvis impersonator falls in love with a lady clown. The problem is my Elvis impersonator is afraid of clowns!
After finding out what I was working on, my husband told me that in order to write a proper book about Elvis I would have to go to Graceland. Even thought I had never really thought about going to Graceland, I did not argue. As a matter of fact I decided I like his reasoning so much that I need to find a manuscript that has something to do with Spain, Vegas or something else that I will need to research in the future.
As time for our trip approached I found myself getting more and more excited about the adventure we were about to impart on. At first, I told myself that it was just because I was going on a mini vacation and was excited about spending some quality time with my hubby. While both things were true, the real reason I was excited was because I was actually going to Graceland. This kind of shocked me because while I really love Elvis I have never considered myself an Elvis fanatic. As a matter of fact it kind of surprised me when I first decided to write this manuscript as I was not sure what caused me to come up with it. Again I like Elvis. I can remember watching him in concert on TV and will never forget the days surrounding his death, but I have never been obsessed with the man.
We left late in the afternoon so we took two days to drive to Memphis. We arrived at Graceland in the morning shortly after they opened, parked the car in the lot, and walked to the main building to purchase our tickets. As we walked in, I could feel the excitement building. I was here I was going to visit Graceland. While my hubby paid for the tour, I browsed the gift shop, where they sell all things Elvis. I was happy to see that the photos all showed him in his prime, the King most people prefer to remember.
When it was time, we stood in line waiting our turn to get on the bus, to be whisked away across the street to start our tour. As I stood there, I felt the butterflies take flight in my stomach, but still I could not explain why I was so excited.
My husband had been to Graceland two years prior. He had warned me that everything in the house was just as it had been when Elvis passed away, that the house stopped living in 1977 when Elvis died. I am not a fan of retro so I was not sure if I would like the décor. To be honest when Don had suggested we go I thought it was just a check in the box-just a place to go to say that I had been there but strangely, as I stood on the steps to the mansion I actually had tears in my eyes.
When we entered the house, I can honestly say I felt welcomed. For some reason in that house that had supposedly stopped living thirty-five years ago, I felt alive. To me the house felt alive. As I walked from room to room, seeing the décor that has not been in style for decades I felt this silly grin on my face and could almost picture the man moving from room to room with me saying look at this and look at that. I felt his presence and the pride he took in having the latest and greatest technology in his home.
I also felt chills run through me when I reached the bottom of the basement steps and saw the bar area because sitting on the counter on either side of the sink were two glass statues of clowns. Not only did those two little guys give me fodder for my manuscript but also in some strange way I felt as if Elvis himself had just given me his blessing on the project.
As we continued our tour, the warm hug feeling continued for me. I felt him in the out buildings as well and even while I was standing looking out over the horse corrals. The only area I did not feel him was by the graves. There are five graves at Graceland. Elvis, his twin brother Jesse, their mom, dad, and paternal grandmother are all buried behind the house. Even though I was surrounded by people I felt alone as I stood near the graves. It was the first time since I had stepped foot into the house that I did not feel Elvis’s presence. I cannot say I blame him for not wanting to view his final resting place.
I am thankful to my husband for taking me somewhere I did not know I needed to go and I am grateful for what I truly feel was my own private tour of the home where I believe that Elvis still “lives.” For me it was abundantly apparent Elvis has not left the building.