Elvis’ Childhood Home, Tupelo, MS

Safety bracelet and good luck charm from a new friend outside Tupelo, MS.

Safety bracelet and good luck charm from a new friend outside Tupelo, MS: Click to enlarge.

Where it passes through Jackson and Tupelo, the Natchez Trace Parkway is used by residents as a convenient local park.  One afternoon, after a fruitless hour on the phone arguing with a vendor, I continued north on the Trace and stopped at the Chickasaw Council House exhibit near Tupelo.  I ran into a nurse, perhaps in her 20’s, making a quick visit to nature on her way home from a tough day.  She was interested to see someone with Colorado plates and had gone to school in Denver.

My new friend told me about Elvis’ boyhood home in Tupelo just a few miles away, of which I was unaware.  We chatted about, among other things, the culture of the South vs. elsewhere.  “We’re behind,” she said. “I don’t mean in a bad way.”  I agreed.  The Southern culture of friendliness, hospitality, and manners was utterly foreign to me prior to this immersion.  People are polite and helpful almost everywhere, but  the South retains a valuable cultural aspect lost and forgotten elsewhere in the country.

My friend had to get home, but she left me with a parting gift.  “My Daddy teaches water safety,” she said, and handed me the rubber bracelet in the photo.  It reads “Be Water Safe.”  The bracelet fit too tightly on my wrist so I slipped it over my truck’s gear shift, where it remains to this day.  It adds a nice touch of color to the black interior.  She gave me a Sharpie pen, “courtesy of North Mississippi Medical Center” as she put it, to aid in my navigation.  I find my way using paper maps and do not own a navigation system.  I still have the Sharpie too.

I found my way through Tupelo to Elvis’ childhood home.  It resembled a small trailer, perhaps 8 feet wide and 16 feet long with an 8-foot high roof and a fenced-in front porch barely large enough to hold 2 chairs.  It was difficult to imagine a family of 3 living inside. The home was relocated here from its original location a few blocks away.  Adjacent to the old home is a bronze, life-size statue of Elvis at age 12 holding a guitar.  A 10-foot high, semi-circular stone and concrete wall features short stories about Elvis’ early life.  Well manicured flowers and trees round out the setting.

At age 7 Elvis’ mother took him shopping at the general store to buy his birthday present.  His first choice was a .22 rifle, and his second choice was a bicycle.  Upon speaking with the salesman, Mom judged both items to be too dangerous and vetoed their purchase.  A guitar was the only remaining option.  Elvis responded petulantly but chose the guitar as better than nothing.  The instrument remained largely a hobby until his 20’s when he achieved great fame.

About Jerry
Working in Corporate America for many years, I wanted to break free of the office walls for a bit and explore the world. Having put the pieces in place, I am first exploring the USA by road. Colleagues and friends expressed interest in my travels, giving rise to Office Escape. It is my honor to share my adventures.

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