More from G.M.C. Massey, my grandfather, as he writes of adolescence in rural East Texas in the late 1800’s.
I remember that while I was going to the Ivanhoe High School that the teacher had a rule that the scholars could not go to parties or have dates. The Teacher suspended the rules once each month and then we could have dates and go to parties. And sometimes he would give us the parties, and when he did he was one of us to that extent that he would sometimes suggest what next. Sometimes he would even take part in the affairs that was going on. Unless it was a special occasion, he did not suspend the rules till the end of the month; But when the Christmas holidays came on the rules were off till school re-assembled.
Well you know how hard it was for the young folks when they were all together all the week at school to not arrange for some kind of entertainment for the week end: but we did refrain from that thing in our own community. You see when the rules were not suspended, we were not allowed to have dates, the boy with the girl. And that was bad and it caused many of us to leave home for the weekend ands visit some of our friends in an adjoining community, or even to a distant community. For if the teenagers, and those young men, and women that were in school didn’t find any diversion at home; They would go where there were no restrictions of that nature.
But as for me, I had a wide range of acquaintance, I had kin folks in several communities, and I often went visiting on weekends that the rules were not suspended. I remember very well that I really had a good time at Cypress, at Harmony, Mt. Zion, Picton, and other places. I would nearly always be gone from the community on weekends when the rules were not suspended at our school. Where I didn’t have relatives, I had very dear Friends; and I had a girl Friend at each of the places, and it gave me quite a diversion.
One time as I remember, I was in the Harmony settlement on a Saturday night, and was at a house party at one of the homes there, and I met one of my very best Girl Friends from home. She did not know that was where I had been going or not. And I had no idea that I was going to run in on her at the Party that Night. So it was a surprise to each of us to see the other. And she wanted to know about my being there, and I just ask her the same question back.
I had learned by this time that it was all foolishness to get all your strings tied to the same star. So we, each of us, had a good time and many of those present did not know that either of us was the one and only one when we were at home. I gave my full attentions to her; For she was very dear to me, and just had a good time, and she realized that probably that I would not have been there if our rules had been suspended; for I would have been with her at a party at home if the rules had been suspended. We never let the folks at home know what we got into over the weekend.
But she got wise to the trick that I had been working. And thereafter If I was not at home she wanted to know of me on Monday where I was on Sunday? It was easy for her to keep up with my absence, as our families attended the same church; But she was still in the dark as to attention to any certain Girl.