My Day in Elvis’ Hometown … TUPELO ~ by Deena Dietrich
I hadn’t been to Tupelo, Mississippi in almost 10 years. It is about a two hour drive from Tunica to get to Elvis’ birthplace and hometown until he was 13. The main street area is very cute, like something out of Leave It To Beaver, but the rest of the town is too out of it for me – but it was great to see all the Elvis sights. I arrived at The Birthplace about 10:45am. I toured the museum first, and I was all alone which is always nice. Then I toured the actual house where Elvis was born, and I again I was all alone with the guide. So I got to chat with her for a bit and got to just stand there and soak it all in. The furniture is not original (except for Glady’s friend’s sewing machine), but the walls, floors, doors, windows and structure is the the exact house where Elvis was born. I went into the church where the Presleys worshiped, and I went into the Memorial Chapel, which I prefer for some reason. The whole campus at The Birthplace is so serene and beautiful. I bought two books and a button. I left there and drove almost a mile to Elvis’ elementary school, Lawhon, which I had never been to before. And just about a block or so away is Johnnie’s Drive-In, which I ate at the last time I was in Tupelo almost 10 years ago. Elvis did used to eat there, so it is an attraction for Elvis fans but it is also a local joint. It is literally still a drive-in restaurant – you know where you sit in your car in the parking lot and they bring your food to you. But I went into the restaurant, which is tiny but so friendly and everyone knows each other. I sat down in a booth then realized I had sat in the Elvis booth, where Elvis used to sit – and it wasn’t even on purpose. I got a cheeseburger, which was fantastic, sweet tea and a pimento cheese sandwich to go – to have for dinner later.
From there I went to Tupelo Hardware, which I had visited the last time I was in Tupelo. This time I bought a t shirt, just like Jerry’s (Schilling). For those who don’t know, Tupelo Hardware is where Gladys bought Elvis his first guitar. I went to Fairpark, the Tupelo Fairgrounds where Elvis played as child and again as an adult. For the first time, I saw his statue there. Also for the first time, I drove by the Courthouse that used to be home to WELO where Elvis played on the Jamboree and then to Elvis’ junior high school. I was back in my room in Tunica by 4:30pm. To see all of my photos from my day in Tupelo (and you really should because there are so many more of the birthplace with descriptions), please click here. This was Day 5 of my 10 Day Road Trip through Tennessee (and Mississippi). To read about what else I did on my trip, please click here. I will be back in Memphis for Elvis Week in August attending all the EPE events and staying at the Guest House, so look for my live tweets and posts @DeenasDays on Twitter and Facebook.
About the author: Check out our full bio page for Deena Dietrich HERE