Every now and then, Mom would mention Gene Autry, that she had once played accordion with him. The details were vague. We had the impression that her playing had something to do with the USO.
It wasn’t until after Mom died, going through boxes of papers and scrapbooks, that we came across an envelope with the photograph. That drum or shield on the left is the partial emblem of the B.P.O.E. - the Brotherhood of the Protective Order of Elks. The back of the picture identified the man on the right as Oklahoma governor Leon C. Phillips. It’s February of 1942, just after Pearl Harbor, when my mother was eighteen years old, wearing her Elkadette uniform with its fancy stitching and shiny cape, and playing the accordion while Gene Autry sings. In the photo, they all seem to be enjoying themselves.
I inherited her accordion.
(click to enlarge)