Why I want to go to Graceland

“I’m going to Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee. I’m going to Graceland.” – Paul Simon, ‘Graceland’

My uncle is, unquestionably, one of the world’s biggest Elvis fans. He has all the albums (on CD of course), the DVDs of Elvis’ movies, action figures. He even has a velvet Elvis hanging on his wall.

My uncle is also Down Syndrome.

As a child, I just accepted that he was different and moved on, the way kids do. As an adult, I find myself increasingly interested in what makes my uncle tic. What makes him so completely fascinated by Elvis (and comic books, but this is about Graceland)?

Another Aunt and Uncle, ones much closer, both geographically and emotionally, took my uncle to see Graceland a few years ago. When I met up with my uncle afterward and asked him about it, he did not say much beyond “It was good. It was fun.” But my Aunt and Uncle told me that he was beyond ecstatic. He was energetic and talkative and showed a curiosity far beyond his usual remove.

And that makes me want to go. I’m not sure what I’m really looking for: an insight into my uncle? A bond with him? Or just to satisfy my own curiosity. The fact remains, I want to see Graceland.


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