Memories are a funny thing. I moved to Memphis in October, 1969 and for 2-3 years I lived at the Hamlet apartments which was on East Popular Avenue which turned into Poplar Pike Extended. I only remember 3-4 incidents associated with that apartment but they are for another blog.
I once did a blog about the fact that I averaged a move every 5 years and of the 10 years I lived in Memphis 7 of them were at Chatham Village and 3 at the Hamlet. I loved the townhouse on Park Avenue (in the picture above) and have many great memories of the years I lived there. It was next to the Methodist East hospital, which came in handy a few years later, when I was drunk, returned from a trip to NYC arriving in Memphis in a snow storm, slipping on an icy step from where I had parked my car and split my forehead above the eye. (That's another blog--hopefully I'll remember all these separate blogs I have been talking about. LOL) I, also, lived across from train tracks but never heard the trains going by. Ummmmmm, do I talk about the red light or is THAT another blog? Okay, another blog!
One of the first 'sightseeing' things I did after a week in Memphis was to go to see The Pink Palace. It was originally built by Clarence Saunders who owned the Piggly Wiggly (I'm sorry but even 41 years later I laugh when I say, see or write that name.) It was built with pink Georgian marble which is how it got its name. I don't remember the history of when he lost the home to bankruptcy and it became a museum of natural history and planetarium but I do remember the afternoon I spent there and thinking it was quite impressive.
After the assassination of Martin Luther King certain 'events' started to go downhill and I was lucky enough to see two of them before they were changed. One was the Cotton Carnival which was, at one time, a salute to cotton, and took place in June every year,with krewes like they had in New Orleans at Mardi Gras time. There would be a Royal barge come down with the debutantes of the season and then a parade plus special balls all over town. In the middle of the 70s it became more of a salute to 'sister' cities around the world.
Ever since I was a teenager and we had a summer home in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey and I would go to the end of the summer fair near Morristown this city boy has loved fairs of all kind. It didn't take me long to hear about the Mid-South fair and I was there for the rides, concessions, 4-H club and, of course, all the food competitions.
Both events started going downhill in the mid 70s and I don't know what happened after I left Memphis but I have heard both the Carnival and the Fair have made a big comeback in the 2000s. I'll have to check that out with Chuck and Terry.
Just before I left Memphis they started to construct Mudd Island which would eventually get the Pyramid sports arena. It had a monorail from downtown to the Island which was featured in the Tom Cruise film, "The Firm". I didn't get to Mudd Island until I visited Memphis in the 80s with Bill and we went to see an outdoor production of the touring company of "A Chorus Line".
When I arrived in Memphis it was a 'dry' State which meant you couldn't buy drinks in restaurants or bars but you could bring your own bottle and would be charged for set ups and/or a corkage fee. It would be 2-3 years before the law was changed but until then people would get drunk as they had to finish the bottle before leaving the restaurant/bar because you couldn't have an 'open' container in your car. I wish I could remember the name of the jazz club I use to spend a lot of time in not only because of the entertainment but they had lockers that you could rent to leave your bottle of unfinished booze and have it there the next time you came to the club. That whole thing was quite the 'culteral' shock to this New Yorker but I did adapt, quickly.
Though I didn't go there often there was a park on the bluffs of Memphis overlooking the Mississippi river that offered awe inspiring sites of the river, downtown Memphis and the shore line of Arkansas.
There was a lot to see and do in Memphis and I did and saw a lot but the place I spent most of my time was Overton Park in the center of Memphis with many different aspects including a band shell that Elvis did a show or two, a zoo, a natural woodland but that's only part of the story and they weren't the reason I spent so much time there--besides, and how dare I say this, I didn't care for Elvis!!!
Still to come: Gig Young, Overton Park, Overton Square, picking greens in the field, JWag's, Goldsmith's, Jackson, Jonesboro, Chattanooga, Circuit Playhouse, Theatre Memphis, sex in the buckle of the bible belt, Joe, Issac, Gene and more!