ROMANCE IN PINE ISLAND
Probably the first arrow fired from Cupid's bow was in the school. Ring games played at recess or during lunch period, allowed the young people the chance to briefly hold hands with the opposite sex without being teased. Walking to and from school together also allowed them the opportunity to talk in semi-privacy to their chosen one.
For the students who went on to high school, the choices of potential girlfriends and boyfriends was suddenly expanded beyond the small community in which they lived. All students graduating from the Pine Island primary had to attend the Hempstead High School until the 1930's when a high school was built in the town of Waller
Although the elders in the church would never have admitted it (aloud at least), the time before and after church services and prayer meetings allowed the young members a place to meet members of the opposite sex and gave young love (and maybe a few older loves) the opportunity to blossom.
The trip to town for supplies also allowed the youths an opportunity to meet members of the opposite sex from the surrounding communities. This allowed potential brides and grooms to bring "New Blood" into a community that was beginning to be full of cousins.
After the young people reached the dating age, and had access to some sort of transportation, they could also find entertainment in the nearby towns like Hempstead and Waller. One of the most favorite (and probably cheapest) dates available for young people was the joy of sipping an ice cream soda or a fountain drink, at the soda fountain of the drug store, with your sweetheart.
Plays were sometime given and later movies were shown. One example of a formal "Town" date of that era was in 1927 was when Gus Galewsky and Grace Vickers along with Wheeler Daut and Lucille Milam drove to Brenham on a double date to see a play. Gus who operated the hardware store, Grace who taught school and Wheeler who was a pharmacist at Johnny McDade's drugstore, all lived in Hempstead except Lucille who lived in Pine Island where she worked in the post office.
The play was the "Student Prince" presented by a touring company of French actors. Following the play, they had a fancy supper in the hotel dinning room and then returned home. Driving less then 30 miles to see a play doesn't seem like an exceptional date now, but in the 1920's it was an adventure. The play ran from 8:00 PM until midnight and with the roads of those days and waiting for the ferry to cross the Brazos River it was 3:00 AM when they got back to Pine Island.
Another method of meeting new young men, used by some of the young ladies of the era, was deciding what product they couldn't live without, when a new young man went to work in one of the stores. Wheeler Daut often said there was a large increase in the sale of small items to young ladies during the first few weeks he worked at McDade's drug store.
Lucille (Milam) Daut even talked her mother into making a trip after dark, to McDade's drug store in Hempstead. It seems that it was right after she read an article in the Hempstead News that Johnny McDade had hired Mr W. N. Daut, as the new pharmacist for the drugstore. She ask her sister, "Baby" (Chalista J. Milam), if she had seen the new druggist at McDade's. When Baby answered yes, Lucille ask, "Does he have any boys old enough to date?". "No", Baby said, "But he's the right age."
Lucille really needed the face powder that night. But, as luck would have it, the electricity went off in the drug store block just as she drove up. Her purchase and their first meeting was by lamp light.
That dim beginning, however, resulted in a marriage that lasted until Wheeler died 55 years later in 1982, so that system seems to have worked well.
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