Posted on: November 4, 2015 •
Every family has their distinguishing characteristic or ritual that sets them apart from others. Something that brings them together in a cohesive way that sets them apart. I am the youngest by 10 and 12 years to my brothers and have always wanted to catch up to the pack. Today was the day I officially caught up and joined the pack fully. This occurred at the the famous Graceland! Yes, it is a Graceland visit that marks the Springfield clan indoctrination At the ripe age of 43, I have made it! The story to this tradition is even more interesting!
Little did I know that the largest outlet mall at the time, would plant the seed of this Springfield trademark experience! When I was 15 Potomac Mills mall opened about 3 miles from my home. What an amazing delight for a teenage girl! This mall marked the beginning of teen meetups, my exposure to retail work and the value of small museums. I was working when my brothers first set foot into the small museum dedicated to Elvis in this new retail amusement park. My brothers were 25 and 27 the moment the cheesy delight of Elvis struck a common cord. This ignited the planning of fun trips to Graceland for them and their friends. My cousin even had his bachelor party in Memphis in order to visit Graceland. All of this men only fun further continued to turn the blade that I was never going to catch up! Eventually, the museum closed and I thought all would be forgotten, but NO!
To my dismay this Graceland trademark started to expand! My brother and sister-in-law renewed their vows in Memphis at Elvis’ boyhood church. I recall thinking that I am never going to become part of this clan, at least not officially. I still was too young to go visit Graceland and continued to think this phenomenon was not the connecting thread. I misunderstood and did things like getting a good job, collect responsibilities, get married, and buy a house. I was desperately trying to demonstrate my adulthood. Boy, did I have it wrong! When my parents jumped on board, I knew this was getting serious!
Just after I married the first time, my parents took a cross country road trip to explore. It followed much of the same path that I am taking on this journey. Memphis was a must go to spot for them! It had the same emphasis as the national parks. Actually, Graceland probably had more. I recall thinking, “Great! More separation anxiety.” At least that is what they call it now. My beloved and I really did not care about the Elvis experience, so no trip was planned to join in on this one! My parents even found where my brother and his wife wrote their name on the wall during their visit. I felt that for sure I will never be able to top that!
Finally 21 years later, I have made it to Graceland! I am now an official member of the Springfield Clan made up of Bruce, Suzy, Robb, Brian and now Kristin! I loved the experience. Elvis was incredibly gifted and has such an interesting story. I felt like I was in the presence of an ultimate bedazzled clothing wearer. He loved some fabulous decorating techniques. He painted a great deal of wood paneling. He also loved all kinds of music and to have fun with friends and family. I felt like we connect on those levels! He was only 42 when he died. I have already outlived him and there is so much more to explore in my life. Now, I can to my exploring as though it is for the part of Elvis that did not get to see life after the age of 42. I did search the wall to find all of the family’s wall writings, but after 21 years they have all been replaced. I was certain to leave my
own, for it is not that often that defacing property is acceptable!
Graceland is filled with excited people who have a great sense of humor and gratitude. My brother’s pointed out that FINALLY I have gotten to someplace good on this trip! LOL! Fortunately, I was able to go downtown Memphis and will further explore tomorrow.
Thank you. Thank you very much. You have been a great audience!
Officially a Clan Member