"THE KING'S" CASTLE-
It was the summer of 1987.
Ten years after the death of “The King”.
My boyfriend at the time wanted to visit his friends in Dalton,Georgia.
“Dalton,Georgia?”, I said.”What the hell is in Dalton,Georgia?”
“Dalton,Georgia”, he said is “the carpet capital of the world.”
“If you are dragging me off to god forsaken- carpet country U.S.A.,I’d like to take geographic advantage of this tour and go to Memphis.To Graceland”, I said.
It was not a request.
I was raised as an Elvis fan
My mother covered my snowsuit with “I LOVE ELVIS” buttons
She took me to Elvis movies
At my core, I am an Elvis fan
I started to plan my Memphis wardrobe:
big straw hat with veil
vintage Italian silk printed dresses
red and white bandana top and fringed denim skirt.
pink plastic cat eye sunglasses.
My version of a Southern belle.
Off we went.
Do you know what you do for fun on Friday night in Dalton,Georgia?
You go out dancing in Chattanooga Tennessee.
It was the longest weekend of my life.
Off we went.
Home to Beale Street and Lansky’s where Elvis bought his clothes.
Home to Sun Records where Elvis made his first recordings.
Home to Graceland where Elvis lived.
We arrived on time for our tour.
Greeted by the famous musical note gates
The manicured driveway wound it’s way up
To “The King’s” Castle
The great white washed and gilded cage
Of the myth of the American Dream
That had housed a King
And all of his men.
One week after his death day
The driveway was lined with floral shaped
Inside the dining room table was set
the “good” china
A small chill ran down my spine.
I suspected that the A/C was turned up just a notch higher in that room.
“Now we will go down into the Jungle Room”, said our young tour guide.”It is said that Elvis decorated this room himself .He chose everything from a store in downtown Memphis.It took him half an hour.”
It was the height of faux leopard Tiki Room chic.
“Could this get any better”,I thought
As if she read my mind,the tour guide said,“There used to be a waterfall right there on that wall.But it was leaking so we don’t run it anymore.Now,will those in front please move to the back so that those in the back can get a better look.”
At that moment I thought, "I have found my dream job- tour guide at Graceland."
It was everything I had hoped for
Headless mannequins in “The King’s” clothes
The pink jeep from “Blue Hawaii”
The Meditation Gardens
Where I stopped
And reverently shed a tear.