In 2005, while motoring through Texas, I stopped to use a restroom located in the city hall of a small town.
Upon entering the vestibule of the building, I noticed a long display case with a glass front, similar to one found in a candy shop. This, I discovered, was the town's museum. This historical exhibit was supervised by a lady with a terrible perm who was knitting something yellow that looked like it would fit some small person who had three legs. As I walked up to ask her where I could powder my nose, I noticed there were about 25 sets of false teeth on the display case's top shelf.
I was intrigued.
"What's this?" I asked, pointing to the displayed dentures.
"Those are the false teeth of our famous townspeople," she replied, not dropping a stitch.
I was hoping you could wind the teeth up and see them all chatter away together, nudging each other like bumper cars as they trembled around the case. The knitting lady thought that was a rather gauche suggestion, as these teeth had already been separated from their engines, if you catch my drift. And, Lord a goshen and here's hoping the creek don't rise, if you live in that town, you better stipulate to your heirs that your choppers, true or false, are going with you when you leave this mortal coil.
Graceland is everywhere. Even in New Zealand.
Seems the late Fred and Myrtle Flutey, formerly of Bluff, New Zealand, had a Graceland of their own.
It is called the Paua Shell House. It holds the largest display of paua shells in New Zealand, lining the walls of their "Paua Lounge."
A paua is a large edible sea snail. Seems Fred got into the habit of shining up paua shells that he found on the local beach. But his hobby proved detrimental to Myrtle's housekeeping, as he would leave the shells on the floor, making it impossible for Myrtle to vacuum efficiently. So Fred started nailing the shells to the wall of the living room, or "lounge" as it is called in NZ, and the rest is history.
Over one million people visited the Fluteys and the 4000 paua shells that Fred collected. The Fluteys never charged an admission fee. When they passed away, Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House collection was donated to The Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, where you can still see the famous paua shell lounge of Fred and Myrtle Flutey on display.
We did visit the Paua Lounge at the museum in Christchurch, and what a treat. When you enter the room, all aesthetic sense you own melts away, and you stand there, with all the other visitors, dumbfounded at the possibility of the place.
I swear I heard some teeth chattering.Fred and Myrtle photo: The Canterbury Museum False Teeth Photo: John French, Oxfam