Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Two joyous years"

When 17-year-old Ima vacationed in Colorado her father had cautioned her to “let buggy rides alone” except with her cousin Pearl. But the next year she was a freshman at the University of Texas, and young men began to call at the 19th-Street house in the evenings. Ima’s father established a routine:
Promptly at ten o’clock he went up to his bedroom when I was old enough to have young men callers. At ten o’clock a heavy dropping of shoes would be a signal for the caller’s departure.        
         Some of those suitors took Ima to dances:
         Every Saturday night we went to a German [a cotillion with elaborate dance steps] or hop, held usually over one of the fire-stations. The Driskill was reserved for the commencement balls. Sometimes there were hops on weeknights. –-Nobody drank alcoholic beverages at a dance—nor did a boy smoke without asking the girl’s permission.
         The dance halls were crowded and there was competition for a boy to get his name on the dance card, consequently there were more extras signed up for each dance sometimes, breaking in as much as three times.
         It was an unwritten law that no one drank at a dance. My escort one night didn’t appear at once for his second dance so my extra on the card was entitled to break in. But I preferred to wait a little. When my date did appear I smelled liquor on his breath and I was not allowed to dance with him. I went home with another of his fraternity brothers. The following Sunday afternoon his whole fraternity called with him to apologize.
         The second year ended with some five or six balls—fraternity balls—and then the big final ball at the Driskill. There had to be a different dress for each ball. Dancing didn’t begin until around ten o’clock p.m. and it lasted until the wee hours. Some dancers even went to a restaurant for breakfast. I usually arrived home near daylight ready for a nap. . . .
As she wrote of her university days,“Those were two joyous years.”

Ima Hogg was no wallflower.

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