Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Brad and I get together for a father and son weekend each year.
Some of my readers have the impression that we always go to the Consumer Electronic Show in January.
We have gone to a couple of CES because I like seeing the new electronics that are offered.
This year Brad wanted to go to the place where he was born. He was born in 1965 on Blytheville Air Force Base, the home of the 851st Medical Group.
I was stationed at Blytheville Air Force Base from 1965-1967 as a Captain in the Air Force and chief of medicine of its hospital.
Arkansas International Airport is the old airstrip for the Strategic Air Command base. Brad and I landed there.
Cecelia found the hospital bill for Brad’s birth a few years ago. The total bill was 15 dollars
The hospital was a thirty-bed acute care hospital with all the modern equipment for 1965.
The hospital seemed much prettier in 1965. There is total rumble within its wall now.
Life on the base was great for all of us. It was the first time I made a living wage.
I remember Cecelia walking through this front door with Brad in her arms after he was born to take him to our base housing.
What a thrill to see them walk out of the hospital.
We spent a lot of time playing with Brad in the front of our house at 1924 A Dogwood Dr. Our back yard faced the airfield.
Cecelia, Brad and Stan. Brad’s 6 months old.
Brad at 8 months
Brad 12 months and me 1966
Brad and I think we found our house during our visit. However, it was impossible to tell. All the street names have been changed.
This might have not been the actual house but is was the actual configuration.
The government closed the base in the 1998 and gave it to a non-profit charity. Westminster Village of the mid South is now a non-profit a retirement community designed for people 55 years and older with affordable housing. The oldest resident is 101 years old. He is independent and weekly drives himself to a local casino.
All 400 houses on the base were the same. They were duplex Capehart Housing. I flagged down a woman driving a car. She would not take us to see her house. She called the security guard for us. He brought us to the village manager’s office. The manager took us to a guesthouse that had the same configuration our house on 1924A Dogwood Dr.
I showed Brad his first bedroom.
This was the place of Brad Feld’s first bedroom. It has obviously been redecorated.
After visiting the remaining notable sites on the base we headed into downtown Blytheville. I could not remember anything about downtown Blytheville except the New York Store. I bought my first Harris tweed jacket in that store fifty-three years ago. It still fits. I wear it on cold winter nights in Dallas.
I was thrilled to visit Blytheville Arkansas.
I know Brad was thrilled with our visit.
Next stop Memphis Tennessee. Brad was hungry so we stopped in Osceola, Arkansas. I could not find the famous Dixie Pig in Blytheville.
After lunch we were on our way to the Hotel Napoleon in downtown Memphis. We checked in and immediately headed for a 4 PM appointment at Sun Studio, the birthplace of Rock and Roll. We did not have an appointment but thankfully they were able to assign us to the 4.30 PM group.
Sun Studio is a fascinating place. “Sun Studio is known worldwide as “The Birthplace of Rock’n’roll”.
“ It is the discovery location of musical legends and genres of the 50’s from B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Ike Turner and Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis; from Blues and Gospel to Country and Rock’n’roll.”
One can buy all the old original 45s
Sun Studio is a small place with all the memorabilia Rock and Roll freaks only can love.
Sam Phillips the owner rejected Elvis at first because he was too ordinary. He wanted a new sound. Elvis sang tunes he thought would please Phillips.
When Phillips left the room Elvis started singing tunes he liked to sing. Bingo!, Sam Phillips heard Elvis’ tunes and hired him on the spot. The rest is history.
Brad and I did not have our traditional hot fudge sundae. We settled for chocolate ice cream malts at the Sun Studio soda fountain.
We both needed a rest. It was pouring rain outside so rather than walk in the rain we got an Uber to take us to the Hotel Napoleon.
Dinner was on Beale Street. Beale Street is exciting. It is a little like Nashville’s Music Street and New Orleans condensed into one city block.
We ate in the BB King building’s top floor at Itta Bena. The live blues music during dinner was wonderful. I had lamb chops. They were great.
After dinner we walked Beale Street.
We stopped into A. Scwab a trading store that was established in 1878 for a real hot fudge sundae.
“In 1876, Jewish immigrant Abraham Schwab opened a store on Beale Street.
Over its 138-year history, A. Schwab has become a Memphis institution, beloved by many generations.
- Schwab is the only original business remaining on Beale Street.”
It was time to go to sleep. Tomorrow, “We are going to Graceland, Graceland in Memphis Tennessee”.
Graceland is one of the places I have never gone too. I am excited because Elvis was “my man.”
To my surprise Graceland was overwhelming.
The entrance with gift shops, memorabilia and Eliv’s car collections, clothing collections, electronic collections, airplane collection and auto collections are housed across the street from the mansion. I could spend hours there. We only spend two hours going over the collections.
Elvis bought this house in 1957. It was 7,000 square feet. He extended the house to 17,000 square feet. He liked a lot of rooms with a lot of different themes.
He paid $102 500 for the house and 7 acres. The house original cos Dr T Moore 37,636, in 1937.
This is the living room at Graceland. It is a little loud but wait until you see more.
This was his bedroom. Purple is a good color for a bedspread in the 1950s.
This is a billiards room and meeting room. Elvis was into color.
This was Elvis’ playroom. I still have not figured it out.
This is the media room. He have multiple TV. Everyt ime RCA came out with a new one he good it. His love of music resulted in his buying every new media gadget. He love all the electronics of the time.
Elvis was a good looking guy who who was a man of the 1950s and 1960s
He knew how to dress when it was appropriate.
He was a great collector of cars, electronics and man toys.
Here is one of the toys he drove around Graceland.
Here is a toy he would fly around the word in
That is it folks.
I apologize for not discussing all the chocolate ice cream on this trip. Let me just say we had plenty. We covered every meal.
Except there is one last thing.
Brad gave me a party present for my love of Elvis and his music.
It is a little big on me because he bought an xx large but some safety pins got it to be presentable.
Daniel asked me if we could revisit his birthplace in Boston on one of our next father-son weekend trips. Who could blame him. My answer was why not?
I always have a fabulous time on my weekends with one of my sons.
Remember I lived in Boston for two years when I was an endocrine fellow at the Mass General. I know most of the fun places especially Fenway Park.
Daniel, Boston it is.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
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Todd Siler • May 10, 2018
Stanley, this post beams with pure JOY! Your photos and story of this inspirational adventure with Brad are unforgettable! Surely, you made the spirit of Elvis smile watching you embrace Graceland with so much love!