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‘The Stobb Family Band’ and house dances
“The Stobb Family Band” and kinfolk
Rainy Days and Starry NightsJuly 13, 2011 2,535 views 2 comments
There were lots of house dances in Wilson County in the “olden days,” in the 1940s and way before that. Back when life was simple, people made their own recreation. They worked all week, usually from daylight to dark, ate supper, and were so tired they went to bed. Then they got up in the morning and did the same thing over again. It was called “making a living.”
They appreciated the weekends when they had time to rest or have fun. Sometimes they had to work on Saturday too, but Saturday night was time to kick up their heels and dance and socialize with neighbors and have a good time.
I have written about dance halls in Wilson County and how many a courtship was started at a dance in Three Oaks (my mother and daddy for one), or Poth Hermann Sons Hall, or Sokol Hall and other places. I have interviewed many a person who told me they met their spouse at a dance!
You didn’t have to worry about baby sitters in those days. The whole family went to dances, the mamas and daddies, grandpas and grandmas, and the babies. They put the babies on a pallet under a bench and danced the night away. The older children hung out by the musicians or the girls danced with their daddies or with each other; then when the kids got tired of that, they went outside and played hide and seek in the darkness.
Some of the favorite dances were house dances. I have written about those too. The family would clear out one room of furniture and that would be the dance hall. You scattered corn meal on the floor to make the floor smoother for dancing. I am sorry to say, I never went to a house dance in the ’40s. But I have heard there were still some house dances in Wilson County then.
Has anyone seen the movie, “Places in the Heart” with Sally Field? There were house dances in that movie. Sometimes when there were too many people on the inside, they danced on the front porch. With the windows open, you could hear the music outside.
There were several family bands around Wilson County in the ’30s and ’40s. Mike Richards wrote me about his great-uncles, Louis, Oscar, and Robert Stobb -- “The Stobb Family Band.” He sent me two pictures. This is what he said in the letter:
“The first picture is of the Stobb Family Band. In the front left to right is my great-aunt Lucy (Vincik) and great-grandmother Annie Wenzel Stobb. In the back are my great-uncles Louis (who has told me he didn’t play guitar), Oscar on banjo, and Robert on guitar. The second picture I can’t be too sure of. It could be a house dance. I am fairly certain that the two musicians on the right are great-uncles Robert Stobb on guitar and Oscar Stobb on banjo.”
Note: First picture shows Oscar Stobb in a uniform. He must have been home on leave from the service. It appears the picture may have been taken during the war years. The second picture seems to be of a school, because I see school desks on the dance platform and a blackboard in the back.
Note the boys sitting on the desks watching the boys in the band, and the two women dancing with each other. When there was a shortage of men to dance with, women would dance with each other.
If anyone has a story to tell about those days when house dances were popular, please call me. I would love to write your story.
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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