Into town early enough today to start the Tupelo, Mississippi Elvis Driving Tour. Their are 12 stops on the tour plus the Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum. The tour is said to feature "the places he frequented in his youth."
We visited five of them before parking at Bancorp Arena for the First round of competition. The fiver: Milam Junior High, Lee County Library, Previous site of Mayhorn's Grocery Store, Lee County Courthouse, and Tupelo CVB and Previous Site of Shakerag. Quite interesting. How different this area would've been back then.
Also saw another magnificent magnolia tree.... so big, the tree and the blossoms. I imagine they have been here for a long time.
The day was just starting to heat up when we moved inside for the competition. We were impressed with the quality of the organization and the calibre of competitors. Though the program listed 20 competitors, we heard 17 -- four listed were not in here and one other was here but not listed. To those who know me, I usually take notes but being dark in the arena I just enjoyed and tried to keep track. Once we returned to Harvey in the afternoon I wrote my 10 that I believe will move on; Denis came up with 5. After about 6 or 7 it was a bit of a toss-up. We saw some names we have seen in the past. For those of you who might be interested, these include: Mark Anthony, Lee Alexander, Ted Torres, Matt King, Michael Cullipher, and David Allen. It's always nice to see them and see how they've developed. My photos inside and from the distance we were are not good.
After the competition we headed to Elvis' Birthplace. I was slightly surprised that Denis did not with to take in everything (museum, house where he was born, church the Presleys attended). I, of course, did. However, even without purchasing a ticket, you are free to walk the grounds, taking photos and feelin Elvis' history and watch a small film in the theatre about Elvis' birth and years in Tupelo. They moved to Memphis in 1948 "seeking a better living" and that was where the film ended. Denis was content to just have outside photos. Not me. I wanted to experience it as fully as I could. Still, I thought it was nice how much anyone could experience without a ticket. Thank you Tupelo.
A couple interesting tidbits about the house. The house I thought I could pick out anywhere but I found there are others looking quite similar in Tupelo - a style of the era and demographic, I guess - looked much as I recalled. To see it in person and sit on that porch swing still moved me and until the earlier film I really didn't recall having a sense of what the inside might look like. Two rooms, that's all; one bed. The Presleys lived in this little house that Vernon (Elvis' father) and a couple relatives built for only some 4 years and then it had a variety of owners/renters. In 1957 when Elvis performed a concert in Tupelo donating all the money he earned to the city of Tupelo and asking them to buy the house to be kept.
I also sat in the church Elvis attended with his parents. The church was not always on the site it now lives, near Elvis' birthplace, but eventually was moved here and remodelled to look like the original (in between it had been turned from a church to a house). The only original piece of furnishings in the church is the pulpit. There was a multi-media presentation in the Church to feel what Elvis grew up feeling. It was very well done.
The heat getting to us a bit took us back home to the campground. It is such a nice one and the office area and washroom so welcoming.