Those of us of a certain age remember Brooks Steak House that was located across from Fairgrounds on S Highland. There were the family dinners or that special date night. Then there were. The “dress up “ occasions fraternity banquets/dances, wedding receptions and an assortment of other parties in one of the party rooms. Great memories and wonderful food.
One afternoon I was visiting Doris Freeman ( Cuz Tuny) and we were talking about restaurants that have called Jackson home. Cuz who had worked for years in advertising. She had had the opportunity to write copy for many of the restaurant’s ads. In the process she got to know the owners and managers of the restaurants. Somehow we got off on Brooks Douglas and his wife Eva and the many restaurants they ran over the years.
“You never know a person’s back story”Cuz said “for example the Douglas’s love story.”
She went on to tell me one day she was at Brooks’s getting a late lunch and talking to Eva. “I could not help myself, not that I am nosey or anything,a I had to ask her how she and Brooks met.”Cuz just laughed ( I just loved her laugh)
Cuz went on to tell me what she was told.
Eva was born in Budapest, Hungary . She attended private schools in London, England. In 1944, at the age of 16 and in her first year of college she met Brooks who was in the Navy stationed in London during WW11. They met at a Red Cross USO. They were married on July 30, 1946.
Cuz said as Eva told the story she had a sparkle in her eyes.Eva went on to tell her about the good times and the challenges she had in her life.
“ I had an extra long lunch that day and I enjoyed every minute of it Cuz said “but when I left I had so much admiration for this wife, mother and businesswoman. See you never know until you ask.”
As we continued to talk she tried to remember all the restaurants the Douglas owned, invested in or managed over the years. Her list included Brooks Steak House, The Hut, The Fox, The Thunderbird Restaurant and the Dixie Creame Drive-In.
Brooks Douglas died in 1985 and Eva retired and moved to Destin. Eva passed away in 2019.I have several notebooks full of Cuz Tuny’s stories. I thank my lucky stars I had a creative writing teacher at NYU that taught us to treat and write interviews like we were writing a screen play. He told us to include every sign, laugh, every emotion our subject expressed and we as a writer experienced. The older I get the more I appreciate that advice and my many notebooks of notes and interviews.