Graceland, In My Eyes


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The boys and I stopped in Memphis and took in Graceland as part of this year’s summer vaca.

Technically, this wasn’t my first visit to Elvis’ home, but I was too young to really remember the first time.

My first observance as the tour bus pulled us through the gates and up to the front of the house was that it looks smaller from the outside than I thought it would. It was a mansion back in its day, but today it’s the size of the average two-story home.

Two — and I kinda remembered this from when I went as a kid — you don’t get to see the whole house. The entire upstairs is off limits. The recorded audio tour said it was out of respect. Hmm. What sort of respect makes it OK to look at the downstairs of my home but not the upstairs? Is it because he died upstairs? Is it disrespectful to look upon the place where someone died? I don’t know, is it? I mean, he died in a bathroom so maybe you cordon off the bathroom but let the bedrooms and other areas be open. And at some point does the statute of limitations on respect for the dead run out? I just wonder are those rooms like the rest of the house and preserved still like Elvis had them? If not, are they empty? Used for storage? (which being used for storage seems more disrespectful to me than letting visitors in)

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Another thing I noticed — Elvis liked mirrors. There were mirrored walls, mirrored ceilings, an entire staircase of mirrors even. The pictures above were taken in the mirrors. So was Elvis trying to use the designer trick to make small rooms look bigger, or did he just like to look at himself or the cool effect of multiple reflections?

His decorator style — which the audio tour said was his, so no blaming Priscilla or a decorator — was certainly … how do I say it … unique? Although I’m sure I’m not the first to call it somewhat tacky. Even for that era, rooms with upholstered walls and green carpet ceilings are just … strange. But then, I’m talking about a man who wore sequined jumpsuits and capes before Bedazzled was a thing, so maybe all of that and the uniqueness of the music and the dancing was just who he was.

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Probably no one else in the history of Graceland has ever taken a picture of these letters on the wall in Elvis’ racquetball court building. They were visually intriguing to me because the font is very representative of the 60s/70s era. But did Elvis really hang these or did someone come along in the decoration of the property as a tourist attraction and stick these up? I also liked how the light cast the giant shadows.

Interesting tour. I think I was I more impressed as a kid, slightly proven by the fact that Caden, who is the age now that I was when I came as a kid, said it was the coolest house he’d ever seen. So there ya go.

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