At the dawn of the 20th Century, when only the wealthy could afford to buy an automobile, dating in Galveston almost always involved a good bit of walking. Sometimes the dating couple would walk on the beach. Sometimes the dating couple would walk through a Fairground. Sometimes a dating couple would walk to Sunday church services or to a church social.
Dating in Galveston frequently revolved around the scheduled church events. A church picnic might provide a young woman with a chance to display some of her cooking skills. Some women prepared baked goods for the picnic lunch. Galveston picnics often ended with the serving of delicious desserts. Each woman at the picnic liked to reward her picnic date with a special treat.
After an afternoon picnic, a dating couple could examine the state of their romance while on a large, covered front porch. Almost every home in the old Galveston had such a porch. Sometimes a couple would sit on an old-fashioned bench swing and share their thoughts and feelings. Such sharing was not much different from the sort of sharing enjoyed by present-day dating couples.
On rare occasions, dating in Galveston included a visit to a traveling rodeo. At such a rodeo, a dating couple could witness displays of horse riding and bull dogging. If a couple were really lucky, they might get tickets to a rodeo at which Bill Pickett was scheduled to perform. Bill Pickett was later admitted to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma.
By the dawn of the 20th Century, the phone had become an integral part of the American culture. One can therefore expect that many Galveston couples made some of their dating plans while talking on the phone. Of course, since each home usually had only one phone, a date planned over the phone could not be a secret affair. A young girl could not easily arrange to meet a man who did not yet have her parents’ approval.
Dating in Galveston might have been strongly influenced by yet another invention. The gramophone existed at the start of the 20th Century. Therefore, dating couples could sit in the parlor and listen to music coming from the gramophone. Due to the location of Galveston, it is difficult to guess at what type of music was most favored by the young Galveston residents.
Did they like to listen to the old cowboy songs? Did they have recordings of the traditional Mexican music? Did they foster their romance by listening to a recording of the song “A Bicycle Built for Two”? Perhaps the ability of a dating couple to listen to gramophone music encountered limitations, limitations created by the rules laid down by one or both sets of parents.
What would those parents think of any song that anyone of today’s young people had stored on their ipod?