Happy New Year, y'all! 2017 has been a wonderful year for this crazy Elvis fan! I’ve hit some important Elvis milestones and enjoyed some beautiful times with fellow fans curtesy of my guardian angel. My other post was about all the other highlights of this year, and this one is dedicated solely to The Memphis Flash himself.
My birthday is in February, and I decided that I wanted to celebrate this year in Memphis and Tupelo. I’d already been to Graceland twice, but you can never see it too much, am I right? They have daily walk-up hours to the Meditation Garden where Elvis is buried, and I spent the morning of my birthday in some peace and quiet with him.
My friend Kristi and I also did a mansion tour. It was her first time at Graceland, and I was excited to share it with her!
We also got to eat at the Arcade Restaurant, one of Elvis’ former hangouts. The above photo is me at the Arcade Restaurant. I was a little bit excited.
Kristi had to leave to catch a flight, and I went back to see more of the exhibits at Graceland. I had to go through the mansion again to get to one exhibit, and the friendly Graceland staff told me, “Just walk up to the front door and walk in like you own the place!” I was a little overwhelmed by that statement (don’t cry, Amanda), but I did as they said!
My trip continued with a drive to Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was my first time there. They have done a wonderful job honoring Elvis’ life and childhood in Tupelo. At the birthplace complex, they have the house where Elvis was born, his childhood church, several lovely statue tributes, a chapel built by people who knew him and a little lake and nature trail. It was very moving for me to be there, and I was glad that not very many people were around, because I could let my tears flow freely. If a boy born in a shack in Tupelo, Mississippi, can change the world, then I think we all have that potential within us.
Elvis' Birthplace, Tupelo, MS
I attended the Texas Tribute to Elvis Festival in May. It was my first time in Texas, and I had a great time! By chance, I ended up sitting near a group of women from Germany, and they were very surprised to find an American who spoke German. It always fills me up to attend these events and get to spend time with friends I’ve made through Elvis. I was lucky enough to get to go to Elvis Week in Memphis again this year. It was a big year, since it was the 40th Anniversary of Elvis' passing.
Shout out to my adopted grandparents, Bruce (not pictured) and Pat for being my Elvis family!
At Elvis Week, I got to talk to one of my favorite Elvis costars, Laurel Goodwin! She is so fierce.
That's me listening to Laurel Goodwin tell a story about filming Girls! Girls! Girls! with Elvis in Hawaii.
My most special moment of the week was when my friends and I toured the apartment where Elvis and his parents lived when he was in high school. I kissed the wall in Elvis’ room like so many before me, and I played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and sang right there in his room. It was magical!
Once again, I got to travel to Colorado and perform in 3 sold out concerts with Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Cody Ray Slaughter (view his website here). You can watch our duet of “Islands in the Stream” and my solo performance of “Back in the USA” in the videos section of this website. This year, we performed with the David Fontana Band, which is special, because David Fontana is the son of Elvis’ original drummer, DJ Fontana. We also had a surprise guest, young Elvis performer Riley Jenkins. I feel honored that I got to stand on stage and sing with these talented people. This job is a complete dream come true, and it’s the closest I’ll ever get to singing live with Elvis on stage. Our concerts raised $48,100 for Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice, and I got to meet some really inspiring Elvis fans!
And my mom got to come to the shows, which was really special for me!
Maybe it sounds silly, but it’s the truth! Elvis has changed my life. Through Elvis, I have met dear friends, heard beautiful stories, sung my heart out and grown into a better version of myself. I am grateful!
Peace, Love and Rock 'n' Roll,
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)