A Day In The Life

It was the summer of 1977. In early July, I flew…
January 9, 2007, 2:12 am
Filed under: Travel

It was the summer of 1977. In early July, I flew to Montreal where I hooked up with my college roommate. Our plan was to spend several weeks at her parents’ home on Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, New York, then we would begin the long drive south to Monroe, Louisiana, where we would begin our sophomore year at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. We would spend a couple of nights on the road making it to Bolivar, Tennessee, on the third day of our journey south where we would spend two days with my roommate’s grandparents. The next leg of our journey would be the drive from Bolivar to my parents’ home in Arkansas. We would spend three or four days there then move on down Highway 71 to Shreveport and across Louisiana on Interstate 20 to Monroe.

It was to be a summer of many ‘firsts’ for me beginning with Montreal. I had never left the boundaries of the United States before. My roommate’s parents were firm believers in the cocktail hour before dinner and I developed a definite taste for a gin and tonic with a twist of lime. We explored Vermont and New Hampshire, beautiful states that I had never seen before. We visited a ski resort in Vermont whose name I have forgotten. We drove to Au Sable Forks, a village in New York, and spent some time at Au Sable Chasm. My roommate’s parents owned a large sailboat and I went sailing for the first time. I absolutely loved it. We bought live lobsters at a market and cooked them for dinner one evening. We celebrated my birthday on July 29 with a prime rib dinner then toasted marshmallows in the fireplace. I had to wear a coat outside on my birthday. A definite first for a newly turned nineteen year old from Arkansas. We stood in line for hours to get tickets for Star Wars. All in all, it was an amazing vacation filled with so many new experiences that I have probably forgotten more events than I remember.

In fact, I don’t remember very much at all about our long drive back to Louisiana. I do, however, remember one thing quite clearly. We happened to be driving through Memphis, Tennessee, on August 16, 1977. I don’t have the clarity of memory to tell you exactly what time it was or what my roommate and I were talking about, but I can recall that we heard a bulletin on the radio telling the world that Elvis Presley was dead. We didn’t stop. We didn’t drive to Graceland. We did drive in silence for some time. An American icon was gone. We were stunned.

If Elvis Presley were still alive, he would be 72 years old today. He was a poor Southern boy from Tupelo, Mississippi, and he became one of the most famous people in the world. When Elvis first entered the Sun recording studio he was asked, “Who do you sound like?” The eighteen year old Elvis replied, “I don’t sound like nobody.” And, now, even 30 years after his death, people are still trying to sound like Elvis. It doesn’t matter if you like his music. It doesn’t matter if you respect the humble and generous person that he was. You have to admit that Elvis Presley was a true example of the democratic ideal. He was a revolutionary musician and his life is a legacy to freedom and the unlimited possibilities of the American dream.


8 Comments so far
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Elvis Presley wasn’t a particular favorite of mine, but he was certainly amazing. He sells as many records now as he did when he was alive. (By the way, my mother’s birthday was July 19, no doubt a long time before you were born)

Comment by Betty

An amazing coincidence for you to be in there that day —
I remember it well. A very good friend of mine who was the same age as Elvis…. called me and said, “he was too young to die.” Then two weeks later she was killed in an accident. So it really stayed in my mind because of my loss. (she was older than me by quite a bit … but we were good buddies.)

Comment by Pamela

Sorry – but I was too young to appreciate Elvis (only knew him through Sunday crappy t.v. movies). Sad, I know – but my parents “cough cough” didn’t listen to him.

That is what my generation probably thought of Kurt Cobain – although I would have to say Elvis certainly had TONS more class AND talent.

Comment by Karmyn R

It’s amazing how popular Elvis still is. . .I’ve never been a big fan. . .when he died I was pretty young and just remember that he was FAT. . .LOL – what a memory. . .

Comment by Shauna

Funny that you would post on Elvis’s death today. I was just about to mention it on my blog but then backspaced it. That is another thing I remember about being 5. The lady who lived down the street from me played her Elvis Records so loud you could hear them outside. When he died I remembering going to her house to play with her daughter and the Mom was crying.

Comment by Vicki

For some reason you disappeared of my bloglines, I just thought you weren’t posting. I agree with everyone, that really was a coincidence.

Can I be a little nit-picky here? I’m really paranoid about identity theft, and this post gives your birthday. Admittedly I wouldn’t know what to do with it, but then I’m not a crook. Just saying.

Comment by Willowtree

I don’t remember the day very clearly but I remember my mom was very upset about it. I used to have pictures of Elvis all over my walls.. He was great 🙂 I also must have watched Jailhouse rock a thousand times.. lol

Comment by Tonya

I have always really liked Elvis music. Plus, I enjoy knowing that his birthday is two days after mine.

I was very small when he died (seven) but I remember hearing that he died.

He was a legend, and like so many of them, not particularly happy. Poor guy. I’ll bet he’s way more at peace in death than he would have been in life had he not overdosed.

Comment by Angelina

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