Boy from Tupelo, Mississippi

Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

The next stop on this journey west across the US was Tupelo, Mississippi, after a quick pass through Alabama.

Our lodging:
Motel6 – 1500 McCullough Blvd

This is a comfy yet bare bones motel, but it’s dog-friendly (no charge). Breakfast was at a down-home and busy diner called Shockley’s. I had my usual: 2 orders of crispy hash browns with mustard. Happy.

Tupelo is a hand clapping, knee slapping Gospel driven town complete with relics of the past. It makes sense that the roots of Elvis are at this place. His musical upbringing was on Gospel and Blues. Guitars can be found at every street corner in the city center, and the Tupelo Fair Park has a statue of Elvis and a bench reading “Elvis Was Here”. Turns out, there was an Elvis festival on the day we departed.

Elvis Aaron, born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935, had a twin, Jessie Garon, who was stillborn. I imagine what could have been had Jessie survived and had he also had the dreamy voice of his younger brother (by 30 minutes). A potentially powerful duo. Or perhaps Jessie would not have had the same talents but perhaps would have kept Elvis on the straight and narrow instead of an untimely death perpetuated by prescription meds.

It was an interesting place, his first home in Tupelo. He and his family lived there for 13 years before they had to leave. When Elvis was three, his father, Vernon, borrowed $180.00 for the building materials of this modest 2-room home. The Presley’s were so poor that the poor folk called them poor. Being a man of little education, he was a sharecropper lacking the know-how to manage business ordeals. He sold a pig and the buyer wrote a check for $4.00. This was less than the value. Because Elvis’ dad, Vernon, was lacking the wherewithal to collect the proper amount, he took it upon himself and added a ‘1’ in front of the ‘4’ increasing the value by $10.00. Naturally, he was caught. Surprisingly, he was given a 3-year prison term for the crime. Fortunately, Gladys Love, Elvis’ mother, took it upon herself to bail out her younger (by about 4 years) husband. She fanagled and managed to get the man who pressed charges to sign the petition. Vernon was released from prison serving only 8 months of his term. Eventually the family moved to Memphis (when Elvis was 13) looking for a better life.

Elvis promised his mother that he would make it big and one day buy her a Cadillac. Determination or self proclamation?

Check out this a cool lil clip of Boy from Tupelo by Emmylou Harris and friends. And click here for a detailed history of Elvis’ life.

The shotgun shack that Elvis and his family lived in for the first 13 years of his life.
A family of three lived in a 2-room house.

Did you know?
Elvis was considered a nerd when he was a young man?

A woman at the ticket counter knew Elvis when she was younger. Her older sister hung out with Elvis. She and her friends didn’t want him to ask them out, because he was such a shy geek. I have a sense there were herds of girls in the early 50’s who were incredulous in the mid 50’s when they saw this nerdy guy become an overnight hottie.

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Do something worth remembering.
~Elvis Presley

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do.
~Elvis Presley

Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ’em all together, I guess. 
~Elvis Presley

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Our Journey West Across the US

Post #1: Macon Music in Georgia
This is Post #2: Boy from Tupelo, Mississippi
Post #3: Two Must-Sees in Memphis Tennessee
Post #4: Mosey Through the Arkansas Ozarks
Post #5: Gettin’ Our Kicks on Route 66 from Missouri to Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Post #6: More Route 66 Kicks from Sapulpa to Oklahoma City
Post #7: Don’t Mess with Texas on Route 66
Post #8: Route 66 Texas Panhandle
Post #9: Bound for Tucumcari, New Mexico
Post #10: Santa Fe’ed Your Soul
Post #11: The Winds of Taos
Post #12: The Good, the Bad, and the Heinous of New Mexico
Post #13: Dusky, Durable Durango
Post #14: Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde Colorado
Post #15: Moab Rocks
Post #16: No Clever Title for Richfield, Utah
Post #17: Leavening Las Vegas

 

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