Thursday, November 1, 2012

Elvis, George, and Me

Originally written in 2004
On May 15th, Saturday, my Grandmother, my Mom, and I started our road trip, first stop to sleep the night: Tallahassee (Florida- since I live in Miami). We got there in early evening and found our way to the hotel with our reserverations. The next day, we went around Tallahassee because about 20 years ago, we actually lived there for a year and my Mom and Grandmother were trying to find where we lived, however we found that they tore down the apartment building and made it a home community. We made our way to Birmingham, Alabama and spent the night. The next day, we made our way to Memphis in order to explore Graceland where Elvis Presley lived. My Grandmother thought that it would be a great idea to do so since it was on our way. We do like Elvis, we may not be major fans of his, but we appreciate his music and what he has done for music- so seeing Graceland was a treat. We didn't exactly went there when we arrived, it was already near evening and we needed to find our hotel. After finding the hotel, we went someplace to eat. The next day- Graceland! We were there for 4 hours, we weren't allowed upstairs because Elvis had never let anyone upstairs unless you live there or you were called up there. So Lisa (his daughter) decided to continue the tradition and the upstairs is closed. However I can't help but wonder if anyone has ever snuck up? I realize while touring the house was that he was real- well, I knew that he existed but on some level, I thought more of a fantasy kind of way. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but that's how I felt while walking in his house. After the house, we went to view his many many cars, had lunch, went to an another little museum of his life- all his old school report cards, some clothes, Elvis and Priscilla's wedding outfits, Lisa's old nursery furniture...and there was even a little showcase of the Beatles! My Mom and I got shirts and keychains, and I got some postcards, little keepsakes and proof that I actually went to Graceland. We didn't take any pictures of inside of the house because my Mom misread the letter saying that there was no flash photography, thinking that there was no photography allowed. Well, the next day, we pulled over before we left and I took picture of the house the best I could, the gate, some little diddies, and my Mom took a picture of the street sign, Elvis Presley Boulveard (I can't spell that)- so we kinda made up for that. Oh! Before we hit Memphis, we were in Tupelo, Mississippi, where Elvis was born. We didn't go into the house but I did manage to take a picture of the house. Anyway, back on track of the story: later, after Graceland, we explored Memphis, finding Beale St. which seemed to be a popular street in Memphis. After we arrived at the hotel with our dinner, we watched Larry King and it was there when we learned the sad news of Tony Randall from the Odd Couple. Early next day, we headed out of Memphis (after we took some shots of Graceland) and made our way to Benton, Illinois where in 1963 Beatle George Harrison was the first Beatle to arrive in the US to visit his sister, Louise. Since then, Louise, who doesn't live in the house anymore yet lives nearby, saved the house from construction into a parking lot and convert it to a Bed & Breakfast Inn called A Hard Day's Nite. She doesn't own it thought, 3 couples do- I met 3 of the people out of six and they were very kind. My Mom and I were in awe! Screw dinner and getting settled in- we wanted to explore and explore we did! There was a room of a mini- musuem of the Beatles...the same room where in 1963, George and his brother Peter slept. Louise had a couch there that she had in her New York apartment in the mid-60s where George sat and slept whenever he visited her when in town- however there's a ribbon across it- you can not sit on it. There was also a BOAC bag that the airlines have given to the Beatles that George left behind. My Mom and I playfully tug-of-war it and I checked to see if there was any "secret" pockets in the bag in case George forgot anything! There was none. Later on, my Grandmother dragged us out of the house and took us to Barnes & Noble and dinner. The next morning, after breakfast made by two of the six owners, my Grandmother left to do some laundry. My Mom and I asked the couple, Jim and Daryl about the couch and they allowed us to sit on it! Jim told us that they did meet the Beatles and even attended a concert- invited by themselves. Later on, Jim and Daryl saw Ringo perform, but they weren't invited- which was okay by them. My mom and I sat on the couch for about 15 minutes, just in a daze. I wanted to take the couch with me back home! We decided to get off of it since my Grandmother didn't want us to be on there (even tho we got permission) so shhhhhh! I took pictures around the house, trying to include everything in. My Grandmother came back and we went out for lunch, searching for birthday presents for my cousin (who's birthday was yesterday) and saw a movie, Laws of Attraction which was pretty good. The next morning, we were all eatting breakfast when out of the blue, someone I didn't expect (neither did my Mom or Grandmother) walked into the front door and Jim and Daryl chimed "Hi Lou!"...Louise Harrison, George's sister! I couldn't believe my eyes. The car was already packed and loaded, with the camera, and my mom was telling me to rush out to get it, but Lou said no- she looked awful (no she didn't). So we decided to respect that and didn't take a picture with her. Instead she came in with a bunch of photos of her and gave each of us an autograph. She even sat down, had some hot tea and chat with us. My mom and I didn't exactly ambushed her with questions- we were just numb, but we did ask a few- mostly of which date was George actually born, the 24th or 25th...She confirmed it- the 25th. February 25, 1943, 10 minutes after midnight. It was a nice chat, she was very nice, sweet about coming in the morning and visiting us. Jim said that the day before, he called her up and told her about my Mom and me being Beatle fans and she came. After about 15 minutes of some stories (not just about George, but herself too) my Grandmother told us that it was time to go. Lou gave all three of us a tight hug (which I couldn't really breathe- but I didn't care) and my Mom and I got some little keepsakes of shirts.  The three of us hit the road- stayed the night in Atlanta, Georgia, and came back home on Saturday night.

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