Posted on June 1, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair6.1.2014 Journal Prompt Photo by Fred Herzog June 1, 2014: She lived there. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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When Elvis Presley was just a skinny boy of twelve years old and living in a two room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, he was given the chance to sing live on a local radio show. He was too shy to perform. That’s who he was, boy and man.
The house at the end of our street has a red door and the blistered paint is cracked and peeling, and the curtains are torn and always closed, and the windows don’t shut. Missy Grace lives there. She’s as big as a bus and there ain’t nobody seen her in years, ‘cept Carl, and they say she was once a beauty. There’s black and white newspaper cuttings somewhere, pictures of a pretty girl smiling at the camera and a sash across her swimsuit front and it says she’s Miss Tupelo 1972 and she’s Missy Grace.
In December 1957, Elvis was drafted into the army. He was twenty-two, six feet tall and wore a size eleven shoe. He made only $78 a month for his two years service. His short, back and sides made the newsreel and he was sent to Germany. While he was there he met a girl called Priscilla Beaulieu. She was just 14 years old.
Missy Grace, behind her closed curtains, don’t never move from her sofa. She has a black boy called Carl do her bidding. He brings her chicken cooked in honey and peanut butter, and sweet potatoes fried in oil, and ice-cream smothered with chocolate. And Missy Grace listens to Elvis records from morning to night. The boy, Carl, listens, too, and he knows those records as well as she does, for he must rush through and turn ‘em over at the end of the last track. The songs crackle and hiss and sometimes the needle jumps.
Elvis married Priscilla and they had a child called Lisa Marie and in 1972 they separated. It was after they’d divorced that Elvis let girls into his Graceland Mansion. They queued at the gates and when it got dark the guards would come sneaking like moon-shadows and they’d only let the pretty girls in.
And Missy Grace was pretty as a picture in 1973 and din’t Robbie Masterson think so? And he said he loved her more than beans and rice, and he took her home to meet his mama, and they drank mama’s home-made lemonade and they sat holding hands on Robbie Materson’s front porch as the sun went down. On the radio Elvis was singing ‘Until It’s Time For You To go’.
Carl says Missy Grace has more money than she knows what to do with, though you’d never know it from the red painted door and the torn curtains. He says you can see she was pretty once though she’s grown to the size of a cow and is as old as hills or trees. And when she’s a bourbon-mouth on her and the night is close and hot, she’ll tell you she once visited Elvis in his Graceland Mansion and it was 1973 and she was just sixteen. And Elvis, he was a gentleman, she says, and shy like a boy, and he held her hand and it was like touching god. And there was a guard there, and he was the undoing of her pretty, and she forgets that guard’s name or chooses not to remember for it is ever a bad taste in her mouth, even still.