Matura podstawowa – czytanie – ćwiczenie 12

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In the morning I drove to Elvis Presley’s birthplace – the town of Tupelo. It was early so I expected it to be closed. However, it was open and there were already some tourists inside. Others were taking photographs beside the house or waiting to enter. The house, tidy and white, stood in the shade in a park. The house was shaped like a shoebox and had just two rooms: a front room and a plain kitchen at the back. It looked comfortable and had a nice feel about it, but it didn’t look like the museum of the King.

A pleasant fat lady sat in a chair and answered questions, usually the same questions about a thousand times a day, but she didn’t seem to mind. Of several visitors in the museum, I was the youngest – the only one under sixty – yet old enough to remember watching Elvis live when I was a child. I wasn’t sure why his fans around me were all elderly people. I thought this was because Elvis had become less popular by the end of his life. Or maybe old people are the only ones who have enough time to visit the homes of dead celebrities.

There was a visitors’ book by the door in which I could see that not many foreigners had visited the house. Most of the visitors were Americans, many of them from towns I had never heard of before like Coleslaw, Indiana; Dead Squaw, Oklahoma; Frigid, Minnesota; and Colostomy, Montana. The book had an optional column for remarks. Reading down the list I saw, “Nice,” “Real nice,” “Very nice,” “Not bad,” “Nice.” Such eloquence! I turned back to an earlier page. One visitor clearly hadn’t understood the intention of the remarks column and had written, “Visit.” Every other visitor on that page had written, “Visit,” “Visit,” “Re-visit,” “Visit,” until someone had turned the page and they got back on the right track.

Tupelo citizens remember their most famous son. Elvis Presley’s house is in Elvis Presley Park on Elvis Presley Drive, just off the Elvis Presley Memorial Highway. But don’t expect to see any souvenir shops or wax museums in the town. There is just a nice little house with a tiny gift shop where tourists can buy some Elvis albums, badges, plates or posters. I was glad I had stopped.
adapted from The Lost Continent - Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson

5.1. The author arrived in Tupelo so early that he was the first visitor in the house.
5.2. The author of the text was born before Elvis died.
5.3. The visitors’ book shows that the house attracts tourists mainly from the US.
5.4. The remarks the author read in the visitors’ book were short.
5.5. The town of Tupelo has many shops selling Elvis souvenirs.
5.6. The author explains why his visit to Elvis Presley’s birthplace was disappointing.