M. SCOTT MORRIS: Today’s work builds upon earlier work

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Hey, I’m going to need some help from you in a little bit.
But first, it’s time to correct an oversight. On Wednesday, you should’ve opened up your copy of the Mighty Daily Journal to find a story about the 40th anniversary of the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum.
A persistent virus and my less-than-effective brain allowed that date to go unmarked, which is a shame.
In the very early ’70s, members of East Heights Garden Club renovated the two-room shotgun shack that now sits at the birthplace.
“I know all of the labor – and it was a labor of love – all of that was donated by members of the garden club and their families,” said Dick Guyton, executive director of the birthplace.
The house opened on June 7, 1971. Since then, more than a million Elvis fans have traveled from all parts of the world to get a sense of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s humble origins in Tupelo.
“A lot of the garden club members donated old furniture that they had had for years, or they knew people who donated furniture,” Guyton said. “Vernon Presley was around then. He came down and helped them place the furniture in the house.”
Millions of dollars have been invested over the past 40 years to develop the birthplace, museum and surrounding grounds.
A groundbreaking was held in April to kick off a project that will invest more than $6 million for a theater, a reception hall, a walking trail and other displays.
By necessity, the current work builds on work that preceeded it.
“If they had not done that, where would we be today?” Guyton said.
It’s a few days late, but let’s celebrate the efforts of far-thinking Tupelo women: Virginia Boyd, Geneva Boyd, Ruby Burrow, Dot Carter, Mary Ruth Cayson, Christine Chaney, Billie Crider, Mertice Collins, Norma Davis, Velma Dougherty, Frances Elmore, Alliene Gibens, Earline Hall, Waurene Heflin, Willene Hester, Coline Merritt, Sara Montgomery, Dot Moore, Julia Otis, Lorine Palmer, Helen Richey, Betty Roberts, Frances Sheffield, Frances Lilly, Frances Long, Mildred Wilemon, Mary Ellen Wilson and Mildred Merchant.
Collectively, they were the East Heights Garden Club in the early 1970s, and they made big things possible.
“They are largely responsible for what the birthplace has become today,” Guyton said.

A request
No matter what the temperature gauge says, the official start of summer is several days away, according to the trusty calendar on my cubicle’s wall.
I’ve been tasked with putting together a story about lake and river get-away spots in Northeast Mississippi.
If you’re a regular at Pickwick Lake, Sardis Lake or another area beach, let’s talk about your idea of summertime fun. You’ll find my contact information listed below.

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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