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South Texas Living

Dating in South Texas in the ’40s

Dating in South Texas in the ’40s
Margaret, Lawrence Jr., and Lois Zook — teens on the farm

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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
October 9, 2013
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“As long as they could hear laughing and talking, everything was all right. But when things got quiet, then the lights would come on, and it was time to come in!”

That is a quote from my Aunt Fay’s story told to me years ago, about her and her sister dating back in the 1940s.

Dating for young people who live in South Texas has not changed much. Parents still hover over their kids, making sure they are not getting into trouble, keeping an eye on them, just like they did back in the 1940s.

My Aunt Fay and Aunt Clare were single and dating and going to dances and movies, and still living at home with their parents back in the ’40s in South Texas. They reminisced about those times in San Antonio many years ago.

Aunt Fay said, “You know I think it was right before the war broke out in 1941, and Sally, do you remember when Danny and Elsie, our cousins, were stationed out at Fort Sam Houston? Mama and Daddy would always let us go out with Elsie and Danny, and as long as we were with them we were okay. They were our cousins and they trusted them.

They came in from the base one night and asked Mama and Daddy if we could go with them to a show or something. Now, we couldn’t go to any beer joints or dance halls but they said we could go if we were going to show. Well, we went out to the car, and the doors opened and out jumped these soldiers from Fort Sam, being really polite and opening the doors for us! They had brought us some dates!

Well, instead of us saying that we couldn’t go with them, we said, ‘Hey, get back in the car before Mama and Daddy see you or they won’t let us go!’ So we drove off and Mama and Daddy never knew we went with them. That was not a good thing we did!”

“Well,” said Clare, turning to all of us hanging on every word, “I remember when Daddy finally let Fay and Sally start going out on dates. I was just a kid. It was a few years later. They would go to the dances over at Fest Hall in San Antonio. When they would come home with their boyfriends, they would be outside with them. And they would be out there talking. Now this one night, it got really late, after midnight and you could still hear them out there laughing and talking. Daddy had on his durn long handled underwear. He gets up out of bed, and goes over and gets his big old double barreled shotgun and with his one hand holding the seat drooping, behind his back, and the other hand with that shotgun, going up to the door, opening it and pointing it out there, he shouts, “Don’t you think it’s time you girls came in?’”

Fay laughed, and said, “Oh I remember too. We came in real fast! With a gun pointing at you, what would you do? And he scared off the boys too! I don’t think the gun was loaded, but they didn’t wait around to find out. They left real fast!”

I asked, “Did they ever come back again?”

“Oh yes!” said Fay, “But they always left before midnight!”

My Aunt Fay turned to us Zook girls sitting there listening, “You know I remember your mama and daddy telling me something. Y’all were living out there at the farm in the Kasper community. Your sister Liz was dating this guy. Well, I remember Bertie Lee telling me that when he would bring Liz home, they would be sitting out there in his car.

The porch light would be off. Everything was fine, as long as she and Lawrence could hear them out there talking. As long as they could hear laughing and talking, everything was all right. But when things got quiet, then the lights would come on, and it was time to come in!”

I think parents in Wilson County are still that way. Some things never change!

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 loiswauson@yahoo.com.

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