I got an email from my sister last week reminding me that it was Elvis' birthday, his 78th one to be exact. I have Elvis socks that feature his name and musical notes and a small guitar with his name on it that is a Christmas ornament bought at Graceland. But that's it. My sister has more Elvis memorabilia than anyone I know. It all started on a whim.
In 1991, she and her daughter were home alone for a week as her husband and son had gone on a fishing trip. They decided they should take a trip as well, and my niece chose Graceland. While they were eating breakfast at a McDonald's near Graceland, they spotted Elvis ordering an egg McMuffin. My niece cuddled up to Elvis and my sister got the picture.
When they returned home, they told everyone of their meeting with Elvis, and despite evidence to the contrary, they poo-pooed the notion that he was dead. Soon after, my sister was in Walmart and saw a life-sized stand-up Elvis. It was a young Elvis wearing a red sweater and white bucks. She bought him and placed him in the back of her classroom. (Teachers are not strange; they just do strange things to grab the attention of their students.)
From then on, friends, students and even acquaintances who happened on Elvis stuff in any form or fashion purchased the items and brought them to my sister. When she retired from teaching, she brought the life-sized Elvis and her memorabilia home with her. It all lives in a part of her home she calls the Elvis museum. She says give her 15 minutes warning and she will arrange a tour.
She has at least 15 Elvis Christmas ornaments. One sings "Blue Christmas" and another "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and features Elvis in his Army uniform.
She has an original (one of 300) Elvis Little People doll signed by Xavier Roberts. He is dressed in gold lamé and has shaggy black hair. She has a Madame Alexander Elvis fan doll. She is dressed as a bobby soxer and has I love Elvis embroidered on her skirt. She has an Elvis Barbie doll and an Elvis fan Barbie doll to accompany him. She has magnetic paper dolls with various outfits you can dress Elvis in. She has Elvis and Priscilla dolls dressed in their wedding finery.
She has a Teddy Bear that sings, you guessed it, "I Just Want to Be Your Teddy Bear."
She has an Elvis mouse pad, a lunch box, two Christmas stockings, a watch, a clock and a snow globe which contains a pair of blue suede shoes and plays the appropriate song.
She has mugs, coffee cups, jiggers, hats, towels, socks and even a pocketbook with Elvis on it. And too many T-shirts to count. She has signs. One says Elvis Presley Boulevard and another no parking, tow-a-way zone, for Elvis fans only.
She has a Pez collection of Elvises, one is young and similar to her life-sized Elvis, one is in his Army uniform and one is older Elvis in a white satin jump suit. She has a miniature Graceland complete with the musical symbols on the gates, a View Master with a collection of pictures of Graceland and Elvisopoly. She probably has Elvis painted on velvet.
She has a pair of sunglasses which have Elvis sideburns attached and feature Elvis's logo TCB (taking care of business). She has a magic wand with sparkles and little Elvises in the liquid filling the wand. It is a Find Elvis Wand.
She has too-many-to-count tabloids of various persuasions which assert Elvis is alive and living in (you fill in the blank) or that Elvis has been abducted by aliens. There haven't been any Elvis sightings in this century. Maybe the tabloids have lost interest or maybe
Elvis is too tame for the tabloids these days. They have more sensational stuff to print.
After receiving my sister's email of Elvis' birthday, I saw my youngest granddaughter and decided to share that information with her.
I told her today was Elvis' birthday, and she looked at me and asked who is Elvis.
I guess Elvis has truly left the building.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.