Thursday, January 11, 2007

One Night



My husband loves me very much. My husband adores me. He would go to the sun and moon and back again for me... or at least he would take me to Graceland.

He loves me so much that he knew what I felt for Elvis since I was a young girl. He knew I experienced the King's magic in the 68 Comeback special. He knew what an out of body experience it was like for me. He knew the King could make me swoon. And my Beloved was okay with it.

So when we were courting he knew that he 'had' me when he suggested that we go on a road trip. He knew that I was in love. For who else could or would, want to share the true Elvis Experience with me?

We went to Graceland,Memphis, Tennessee. The home of the King. We went singing a Blue Christmas and Heartbreak Hotel at the top of our lungs while eating peanut butter sandwiches. We went to Graceland saying'Tank ya, Tank ya very muuuuch'

I loved the camp of Elvis. And as fate would have it we descended upon Graceland on Elvis' Birthday, January 8th, in 1991. There were Elvis impersonators everywhere. There were young Elvis' old Elvis', there were Chinese Elvis' there were Rasta Elvis'. There were women with their best Pricilla bee hive hairdo's , there were old and young alike. They were coming to pay their respects to the King. And me not even knowing it was the King's Birthday...

We stayed across the street from the home of Elvis in the Memory Lane Inn and our room came equipped with the twenty four hour Elvis channel. The swimming pool was in the shape of a guitar and the 'art' on the walls were old album covers that were nailed into the veneer. Our 'consierge' at the front desk looked as though he were Elvis had he lived to age 65 with jet black hair still greased back, weighing a modest three hundred pounds, with gold rings on each finger and a sneer that followed. He walked with his head held on a slant, wearing black high heeled boots coupled with black polyester pants, a ELVIS belt buckle and a shirt unbuttoned to show off his lightening bolt TCB gold necklace. I was living the moment.

'Will you be staying for the continental breakfast?' he asks in the great Tennesee drawl looking at me through his eyebrows.
What is in the continental breakfast? I ask politely.
'Ahhh, doughnuts popcorn, coke and a coffee...'
'Sounds like a breakfast fit for a king! Count us in!'

And with that we checked in and hankered down to watch the Elvis station, where we learned from Elvis' cousin twice removed that Elvis was/is not dead, He informed us at 1 am that "He knows Elvis and that was not Elvis in the coffin that he saw.' We watched bad films, other relatives with various speculations on where Elvis may be living but there was no 68 Comeback Special to be had.

I do not know what I had expected about Elvis' home, collection of Cadillacs, airplane or bus. I do not know if I wanted some sense of connection to this man who reached me over the televison and through records. I do not know if I thought if I perused his home I may have that tingly sensation of his presence.

But Graceland does not give you this. It is just a home, a suburban home that has tour guides who give out scripted antitdotes about Elvis, through an ex-wife's voice. The furniture has all been covered in plastic just as his afterlife seemed to be. The feeling of Elvis had indeed left this building. There was no sense of Elvis ever being in da' building. But I suppose his house does not really have a soul or for that matter his sweat. The sweat has already been tweeked out of all his clothing and has been sold in the officially sanctioned Elvis store across the way.

That is until we walked downstairs into his costume area. And there were all his famous outfits. There it was the leather suit. There is was, and I felt 'tingly'. It brought me right back to being a girl and watching his Comeback Special as a rerun. It brought me back to my parents wreckroom,me lying on the floor,for I certainly could not get up. With the song 'One Night' I thought, this is the man, this man with that voice, the man with the sneer that belts his guitar on his chest, this man in clad in leather,this IS the man I am going to marry. And as I stared gleaming I just kept hearing 'One Night' in my head...

And when we came to his wedding tuxedo. Ohhhh how I just stared.
I remember turning to the Man Who Brought me to Graceland and saying' A brown paisley tux... How utterly cool is that??? Brown Paisley!!! And he just nodded in agreement.
'Did I ever tell you, I thought I was going to marry Elvis?' I inquire, not really to him, but more to the manequin that sported the brown paisley tuxedo behind the bullet proof sheilding.

I should have stayed in that section and not meandered over to the Las Vegas suits but that was also part of his being. And part of his style. And if anything, Elvis had his own type of style. I preferred to remember him always in the 68 Special but acknowledge that the movies and the Vegas years did happen.

But the tour did not seem right, even with all the camp all around us.

I had a good laugh at the King size bed in the Lisa Marie Airplane with the seat belt across the middle for when Elvis had long flights. Sure I had a giggle seeing the eternal flame right beside the swimming pool. And I had a good laugh knowing that Elvis' great Aunt was still living upstairs while we toured her nephew's home. But it left me feeling pretty void. How everyone was cashing in on Elvis. How they were cashing in on his being instead of his music. In Graceland there is no music to be had.

But we decided to get off the tour and explore Memphis ourselves. And in the rain we came upon Sun Studios.
We found Elvis and he was in the building. It was just a small recording studio where Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis first got their start.

The recording engineers who purchased the studio had a real love of music, a real love for the sound that came out of Memphis. They saved the studio as it had been made into a autobody repair shop. They painstakenly brought back the tiles and refurbished the studio back to its grandeur of when Sam Phillips had a vision. These sound engineers brought the Elvis and the other hometown boys home for the tourists and they knew we were all looking for them.

We were given an audio tour. We stood transfixed in the centre of the studio as they played the tapes they had recovered. We heard all of the good takes and the bad. We heard the banter, and we heard them jam with each other. We heard them. We heard them while they were still struggling, or in some cases rising up. There was laughter and artistry in those walls. We heard Elvis come in and interrupt Carl Perkins recording to show off his new Cadillac, we also hear him leave as he curses the kids who were playing on the hood of his new car. We heard Johnny Cash enter from Christmas shopping and wanted to wish Elvis a Merry Christmas as he just saw the Cadillac parked out front.We heard Jerry Lee, enter to find out where his song was on the charts and was startled to meet Mr. Presley. It would known later as the Million Dollar recording session. And we get to hear how these men heard music in the Delta and re-interpretate it for the masses. We heard them jam. And we heard an interpretation of rock and roll history and the sounds of some of the bars in the South. We heard a part of America.

And at the end of the audio there was a sense of satisfaction with all in the room. We took in all that the walls had witnessed and produced with the Memphis rains pouring in the back ground.

And as we stood in the centre of the room, the engineers pointed as an afterthought to the various instruments and props around the studio ' Dat dere is de piano dat Jerry Lee Lewis recorded Great Balls of Fire, and dat dere is the guitar of Mr. Johnny Cash And over dere, dat dere is the microphone dat Elvis is holding in dat dere photograph.'

And to my utter amazement as the sound engineers let us have our moment, a group of elderly women who were with us on the audio tour, the ones with their white hair held high in their bee hive lids, these respectable grannies, these women, these women, looked around to make certain that no one was looking and then they grabbed the microphone and licked it.... I could not believe my eyes... But indeed Elvis was in the building and maybe they could just taste a bit of his saliva.

My Graceland companion gasped and I howled.

And through the years I have met various people who knew Elvis.I have met people that have jammed with Elvis and were given the Elvis trademark TCB lightning bolt necklace instead of the Cadillac. And they could bring Elvis into the building with their stories and their songs.

And in 1994 when I wore a giant merrangue dress, with a veil. for the man I truly love, I found that he, my soul mate, my road companion for life, had worn a brown paisley suit.

And all I could do as I swooned at the alter was to say "Oh baby, for me?'

And I know I am a bit late... with all due respect, Baby,may I call you Baby? Mr. Elvis Aaron Presley... Thank ya Thank ya very much...And Happy Birthday... From your adoring fan # 15,675,393.

51 comments:

carrie said...

Wow. The things you do for love...amazing!!

I'm glad you got to visit Graceland and I will make note to encourage my husband to NOT lick the microphone when he finally gets his day in Tennesse! He's a fellow Elvis fan too.

Carrie

Catch said...

brilliant post Pen!!! I can see you now gazing in awe of all things Elvis! How I miss roadtrips....they were the very best werent they? Your husband sounds like a true gem wearing the paisley suit for your wedding!!
When I was a teeny bopper I had a huge crush on Joe Namath. I was bound and determined to meet him. My best friends sister was a telephone operator, she got us the number to his home in Beaver Falls, Penn. I talked with his Mother on the phone...all the while Im thinking...this is gonna be my future MIL.lol.

The crazy things we do when we are young make us the interesting people we are today! Great story Pen!

Dirty Birdie said...

And in 1994 when I wore a giant merrangue dress, with a veil. for the man I truly love, I found that he, my soul mate, my road companion for life, had worn a brown paisley suit.

Oh my God you made my throat catch, and the tears flow. THAT my dear is a good man.

You gave me chills talking about Johnny Cash. Now I'll have to go to Memphis just to visit that studio.

{{kisses}}

Dirty Birdie

Gina said...

A brown paisley suit! Awesome!

I cannot believe that those ladies actually licked the microphone. When people have an affinity for Elvis, they go all the way. I had a friend who is really into Elvis, with the records and the lamps. He was an extremely handsome man though, wasn't he?

Lisa said...

You have the BEST stories, lady! And yes, it sounds like your hubby really does love you lots!

Oh, The Joys said...

Licked it? For real? Ha ha ha! Amazing!

Also, I saw Jerry Lee Lewis perform once and it was amazing. I was not expecting it, but he brought the house DOWN - people of all ages were dancing and going crazy. He even kicked the piano bench out from under himself.

h&b said...

OMG - the licking of the microphone - how GROSS !

I knew you were working up to a brown paisley suit wedding, I just knew it ;)

And i'd love to visit Memphis, Tennesee, if only for the continental breakfast ....

jen said...

this is a TERRIFIC post. absolutely priceless.

and your husband, well...good show, sister.

St Jude said...

Brilliantly written I felt like I was there, thank you.

Christina_the_wench said...

My mother has all of his movies. *cinges* Yes, movies. The man could sing but let's be honest. Acting was not his forte.

I never got into the Elvis hype but I understand the allure he possesses.

Attila The Mom said...

What a wonderful "memory tour"!.

But that licking the microphone thing is kind of freaking me out. LOL

mad muthas said...

and you thought the donnie osmond fans were weird!

BV said...

I am transfixed as always.

kim said...

awwww what a sweet hubby you have...

i love when you write ...its like im there with you *hugs*

chelle said...

Awww that is true love, taking your baby to Graceland!

hehe on licking the microphone I would never have thought to do it myself!

hautemama said...

yes, kudos to your hubby!!! He deserves a gynormous lick of appreciation (;

shoparound said...

Great post!

I've always been an Elvis girl too. A few years ago my daughter and I went to his childhood home in Tupelo, MS. We sat on the porch of his little house and kidlet got to swing on his porch swing. It was bittersweet.

It was an interesting day and I almost got thrown out of the place too, I need to do and Elvis post. ;)

Sayre said...

I saw Elvis filling up his gold Ford Torino with "TCB" lettered on the back support posts. It was in Lordsburg, New Mexico.

What exactly does "TCB" mean? I wondered what it was when I saw the car... (oh, and this was 1985).

Pendullum said...

cCARRIE: Sun Studios... And I doubt he would be taken to lick the microphone...

CATCH: I can not believe yo calledJo and talkedwith is mother... How cute is that? If you are interested he now resides at the Dakota in NYC.

DIRTY BIRDIE: It certainly gave me shivers seeingmy man in that suit....And you must,you must goto Memphis...and Sun Studios really gives you a feel for the music... It really does... They give tours in the afternoon and it is used asa real recording studio in the evenings... U2 used the studio for Rattle and Hum

GINA:Goodness was he handsome and sexy and charming...But licking a microphone??

LISA: He certainly does.

OH THE JOYS: Elvis and Jerry were the only singers of the bunch that I have not seen in person... Saw Johnny three times,Carl Perkins once ....
How long ago did you see Jerry?

H&B: It is worth it just to swim in the guitar shaped swimming pool!

JEN: I'll tell my husband you said so.

STJUDE: You're back! Your're really back? Yippeeee!!!!

CHRISTINA: Does not the video say anything to you? Oh sister you are one strong woman... I ignored the movies and the jumpsuits just for the moment of him jamming with these boys...

ATTILA: It was something to behold... Taught me to NEVER judge a book by its old cover...

MAD MUTHAS: Touche!

BV: THanks Sweetie!

KIM: I do and thank you... I feel the same about your blog,too...

CHELLE: Yeah, I took my baby to Graceland... and I doubt that you would ever lick a microphone!

HAUTEMAMMA: Or at least a sneer in his general direction.

SHOPAROUND: Do post it... I would love to read about it...

SAYRE: Hahahahaha... and TCB stands for Taking Care of Business... Elvis loved that song and he used it as his motto... It was on everything...

Wendy Boucher said...

Awesome tale. I love the licking part. Too funny.

Jodi said...

As always....great great story! Your stories are always sooooo good.

i too have a love for Elvis. And I also remember staying up very late and watching his TV specials with my Mom. We didn't have VCR's in those days, in the 70's, so I had to stay up and watch or miss it forever. I have had a crush on Elvis since I was 5 years old! :) I want to go to Memphis some day and see where he lived. However, i too find it sad that Graceland has become so cheap and just ugh...I liked the idea about the recording studio tho, that sounds very cool. And Boy Wonder is a keeper, I think that much is postively clear!

Open Grove Claudia said...

Liked the microphone? Ew.

I showed my husband the video and he named all of the people on the stage - I was impressed.

Pendullum said...

WENDY BOUCHER: It was 'classic'

JODI: Sun Studios is pretty amazing. My husband has bought me the Million Dollar recording Session... and I love listening to it. Brings me right back to Memphis.

OPEN GROVE CLAUDIA: Pretty cool....

Sheila said...

Dear Pendullum,

I had this dream that you wrote a book. In fact, my dream started at a bookshop where I bought the book. It took me a day to read it and it was one of those can't put down ones. The end of the book had all these alien sculptural pieces that you could take out and have a look at. I guess that's about your post on your dear friend's painting.

I was talking about Graceland just the other night to my sister - its one of the first places I'd go to in the States. I'm one of those Elvis fans that loves him for many reasons apart from his talent (I remember when you guys in the States had some vote on what sort of Elvis to have on a stamp - I think skinny won but I would have preferred dear ol' fat Elvis).

strauss said...

What a excellent expereince you had together. That si what life is really made of ...memories, and that sounds like one that will live for ever. Thanks for sharing it with us all. Loved the microphone licking grannies bit. hee hee.

Attila The Mom said...

My dad, who was newly divorced from my mom and living a newly "hip" lifestyle took my brothers and I to our first concert when I was about 12.

It was the Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever tour.

We had fabulous tickets. Like 5th row center.

In the middle of it, some older (to me elderly) woman flipped her shirt up and shook her bare boobs while screaming "Sing it, Barry!"

Totally traumatized me! LOL

Kim Ayres said...

I love the grannies licking the microphone. All I can think of is that they'll have gathered up a bit of the saliva of all the other grannies that had licked it over the years.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

That is such a sweet story! Just when you think we can't stand their silliness, they go and do something so wonderful....we have to keep them around us! Thanks for making me smile!

Waya said...

"Elvis has left the building folks!" I love his music and those beautiful eyes. And eww to that old granny who licked the microphone. Disgustingly fanatic!

pinknest said...

that is awesome!!!

i've never been to graceland.

Kevin Charnas said...

And Wonder Boy has a new adoring fan as well...I actually got tears in my eyes.

Kevin Charnas said...

And she "LICKED" the microphone??? At least she didn't rub her boobs on it, or something like that.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Licked the microphone. Oh to be a fly on the wall!!! Can you imagine what and who else may have licked that microphone!!!???

Loved the stroll down memory lane!

mama_tulip said...

She licked the mic? *snort* I'd do that if I got close to a mic that was sung into by any one of the Beatles.

Pendullum said...

SHEILA: Now tha is a great dream for me...
Really, fat Elvis iswhat you would have preferred in the stamp? I am not American... And do not know how they went about chosing their stamp...I have a few of them somewhere, but I imagine you are not in the minority with wanting the older Elvis.

STRUSS: Thank you... It is what it is all about!

ATTILA THE MOM:Okay that visual is something...and now I keep thinking at least the grannies only licked the microphone it could have been worse!

KIM AYRES: You are so right..The definitely were not the first not the last

QUEEN OF MAYHEM: You are right. He continually makes me smile and drive me absolutely crazy 17 years later...

WAYA:Me,too.

PINKNEST: Worth a road trip from NYC I would say...

KEVIN:We are both your fans here...And THEY those three 'respectable,' spectacled grannies licked the microphone!

GRIMREALITY GIRL:I hate to conjour up the image of how many people have actually licked that microphone. Maybe THAt is why all of Graceland is covered in plastic!

MAMA TULIP:Even The Beatles went to Graceland to pay homage to the king!
Did you know that John was such a Beatles fan that he allowed Paul to join The Quarrymen because he looked like Elvis?

IzzyMom said...

Dude, you tell the craziest stories. I swear you've lived more in one lifetime than most old people I know.

And 'Ahhh, doughnuts popcorn, coke and a coffee...'

That is priceless. Thanks for sharing :)

something blue said...

I was raised on Elvis so I completely understand the fascination. I would love to go to Sun Studios.

You must have the most amazing wedding photos! That is true love.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

What a lovely post! I enjoyed it so much!

And I almost swooned when I got to the part about your husband wearing a brown paisley suit for your wedding. What a great act of love.

Happy birthday to Elvis, and many, many happy anniversaries to you and your road companion.

Big Pissy said...

Great post!

I felt like I was there at Graceland!

Kristen said...

My future mother in law is so jealous right now I'm sure!!

Mrs. Chicky said...

A brow paisley suit? That man must truly love you.

Great story. I will remember it if I ever make it to Memphis. I will definitely go to the recording studio. I loved that part of the story!

Kristin said...

I love LOVE love this post... not just for the sweetness of your hubs or the beauty of your writing, but for the travel tips - we're heading to Memphis in May.

Pendullum said...

IZZYMOM: Tank ya, Tank ya very muuuch...

SOMETHING BLUE: You just gotta go to Sun Studios...
and as for our wedding shots... well, I have to do a blog about our wedding..it is a story of stories I tell ya...

HEARTINSANFRAN: The brown paisley suit was so unexpectd and it was between us, no one knew the significance... It was so very special to me...

BIG PISSY: Thanks.

KRISTEN:Ha!

MRS CHICKY: He truly does.

KRISTIN: YOu have to be one of the best, the best bloggers out there... you always write the nicest things!!!! and as for Memphis, you have to go along Bourbon Street as well...Bourbon street is abtly named...

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh what a fun trip! And what a story you both have to tell. Especially the licked microphone.

ablondeblogger said...

Awww....how cool of your husband to take you there!

When I was a little girl, I'd take all of my parent's Elvis albums and play them in my room. I'd line up all of my stuffed animals to be the "audience" and pretend that Elvis and I were on stage together, lol.

Pendullum said...

LAWYER MAMA: Curious as to how my husband would tell the tale...

A BLONDEBLOGGER: What a marvellously sweet image...

Marcie said...

Old ladies licking a microphone? Priceless!
My husband and I took a road trip to Graceland when we were dating too. It's an American experience that everyone should have.

Neurotic Mom said...

Thanks for dropping by. Great blog.

Pendullum said...

MARCIE: You are so right there sista!!!

NEUROTIC MOM:Glad you reciprocated as it makes it easier for me to find your blog again!

urban-urchin said...

i just this image of little old ladies licking microphones like big ole' ice cream cones. Too funny.

You're posts are the best stories.

Pendullum said...

URBAN-URCHIN: Thank you and all these years have passed and I STILL can not get the image out of my mind....