Elvis Birthday Celebration

By Mary McLaughlinJan 14, 2001
I just got back from Memphis and I must say there are quite a few changes there. First of all, the presidents luncheon came off smooth and interesting, and good food too. What a well kept surprise it was when the special guests arrived. It was Joe Guercio and the whole TCB band. Each one spoke telling a short Elvis story. We loved it. A representative from TV Guide was there talking about the 4 Elvis hologram covers for this week and how to get the 5th. Presley Place was discussed and we were told we could take a tour of the buildings. Just wooden shells for now but they have accomplished a lot. A few of us went and Jack Soden of EPE and others were there and we were told that Lisa Marie will be at the ribbon cutting in June and that she is very concerned and interested in the project. EPE will still be contributing I believe thru their MIFA charities. Back to Graceland for the special fans tour. The mansion was the same as other years ,all dressed up for Christmas. But the extra addition on the tour that used to be Charlies apartment was the most impressive . After Elvis had passed away, his father Vernon had moved in here till he passed two years later. And now it has become a sort of annex to the trophy room. To see the jumpsuits in there were thrilling. On display there were the two red velvet couches that were in Elvis' living room that he and Linda had picked out to re-furnish some of Graceland. There also was a desk, two leather chairs, one of them red, an ornate table, lamps, an aquarium and a rug all brought down from the office upstairs. Also they showed a big furry chair from Lisa Marie's room. There was a bed of white fake fur that we were told came from the dressing area. The top of it arches out halfway over the bed ,and in the headboard was a complete music system. Throughout the vast space in different but well organized sections, were dozens of proofs of interests and hobbies that interested Elvis and also the clothing, for instance football uniform, Karate Gi etc. You can't absorb it all in one visit . The trophy room is very changed. On the left side all the way down are giant movie posters covering the entire wall. The honorary plaques and honors from all over the world are no longer there. I'm not too happy about that, but they felt a change was needed and I'm sure that someday they will all be returned in yet another layout. The right side display was wonderful. The wooden arrangement from the hall of gold that encased the bronze reminders of all the charities that Elvis gave to, had a place of honor at the end as you turn to the right to continue. Jumpsuits and tuxedos were next with info as to when and where they were worn, such as the Jaycees Award along with two gowns of Priscilla's that she wore while accompanying him. TV monitors were showing scenes of the concerts . The room past the racquetball court had many jumpsuits from the archives displayed. You had to just stand there at first and just stare. Many more jumpsuits that had been removed from the trophy room were in there also I believe they will be on display in there from now on. The gold records and distinguished honors that fill the walls from ceiling down are just mind-boggling. Most wonderful surprise to me was the continuous showing on the large TV of clips from the 1977 Last Concert. As I went out to meditation garden I knew I wanted to say, Elvis, they have finally realized what this concert means to us. Your very important final tour is now appreciated as it should have been all along.

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