While in Texas, on furlough, I visited my Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Jack Elliott in Long Beach, CA. They had no children to spoil, and except for my mother, were the kindest, most generous people I knew. They’d given me toys when I was a child; a wooden boat, a porcelain set of dogs that I still have today.
Elizabeth was one of my mother’s sisters. She was an adventurous, fun-loving person. She and Jack had a petrified wood and agate jewelry shop on “The Pike”, a pier in Long Beach. The Pike featured a huge dance auditorium where the great big bands played. At that time, my favorite song was Stardust, and I was thrilled to see Hoagy Carmichael and his orchestra there.
I made a recording in a booth on the pier. Uncle Jack introduced me and I played “Honeysuckle Rose”. It was a paper record. In my seventies, I recorded my first CD, “Frank Brown Turned Loose”, and that old recording became the first track on the album.
🔹 Honeysuckle Rose as performed by Frank Brown, age 18, with an introduction by Uncle Jack Elliott.
Elizabeth and Jack were often on the road, going to fairs and shows where they’d set up shop and sell their wares. They had Boston Terriers named Punch and Judy who’d happily ride along. They became good friends with Gene Autry and Dale Evans, often setting up booths next to each other.
Elizabeth and Jack were glamorous, yet down to Earth at the same time. I’d stay with them whenever I could. I loved them and they took good care of me.
Years later, I got a phone call in the band room. Jack and Elizabeth had been killed instantly in a highway accident. I was devastated.
I think of them often and thank them for their generosity and kind hearts.