If Elvis were still with us, he would be 88 years old today. I remember well the day his death was announced on the radio. He was only 42 at the time he died in his Memphis, Tennessee mansion known as Graceland. While having been through and to Memphis several times, I have never visited Graceland, which became and still is a tourist spot.

This past November, however, on our way to the Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina, we spent the night in Tupelo, Mississippi, the place where Elvis was born. The next day on our way out we visited Elvis’ birth home in Tupelo. That house, where his mother actually gave birth, is as modest as Graceland is reported to be opulent. Excluding the front porch, the Tupelo house exterior measurements are about 16 x 21 feet, the size of an average middle-class living room today. Modest though it was, Elvis’ father was unable to repay the loan, and it was foreclosed only a few years after he was born. The family lived in various places in Tupelo until they moved to Memphis when Elvis was 13. The rest, of course, is history.

Elvis’ house is in a park located at 306 Elvis Presley Drive. The park has a museum dedicated to Elvis’s memory, as well as the church building where the family attended and where he sang in the choir as a child.

Except as a pilgrimage by the dedicated Elvis fan (which I am not, particularly) the visit is probably not worth a special trip. But when passing through or otherwise being in Tupelo, it would be an interesting visit to show that humble beginnings in our country do not foreclose the possibility of fame and fortune. Also, during his career, especially at the beginning stages, his “cultural appropriation” of what was called Rhythm & Blues, or “race music” probably was instrumental in the civil rights movement that began in the 1950s.

Elvis Birthplace


Note: During my high school years, I, and at least one of my readers, worked a part time job at the Circle Theater, a neighborhood cinema in Dallas (the building still exists, but hasn’t been a film venue for several decades). One of our tasks was to change the marquee when a new movie was to be showing. That required putting up a ladder and spelling the name of the show and star with individual 10″ letters on a lighted background above the theater entrance. When one of Elvis’ films was to be shown, I complained to the manager that there were not enough of the right letters in stock to spell the name of the film and “Elvis Presley” on both sides of the marquee. The manager said to just use “ELVIS” — there is no one around who will not know who he is. Of course, the manager was right – celebrity rules; then and now.

By bobreagan13

My day job is assisting individuals and small businesses as a lawyer. I taught real estate law and American history in the Dallas County Community College system. I have owned and operated private security firms and was a police officer and criminal investigator for the Dallas Police Department.

I am interested in history and historical research, music, cycling, and British mysteries and police dramas.

I welcome comments, positive, negative, or neutral, if they are respectful.

One reply on “88”

Remarkably is not enough Mr Reagan, you have walked the walk and have shared and contributed so much that only you can share,,, thanks for being interested in our country’s history and passing your take to so many that can only scratch the surface of your intense knowledge and understanding 👌

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