It’s hard for those of us who grew up in the days of television, video games, amusement parks, more activities than we can pack into any given day, and wheels that allow us to travel hundreds of miles in just a very few hours to realize that there was a time in the not so long ago when young people had to use their imaginations to “think up” things to entertain themselves.
This week my faithful sidekick Missy Jones told me several of the things young people of the 1930s did to amuse themselves. Although she is specifically talking about kids from the community of Creamer, Texas, I think it is a safe bet that young people all over Texas were doing the very same things.
This first story is about the time that young people from the Creamer Community decided that they would get together and memorize a play that they would then perform for audiences around the area.
You must rememer that this was during the depression.* There was no money or jobs to be had, but young people were the same as they are today, and they wanted to have some fun so a group from Creamer, Texas decided that they would just put on a play! I was only five or six and have no idea how they managed all of this.
The thing that impressed my young mind the most was seeing Geneva dressed in a long blue evening gown as she got ready to go to the Pettit school house to perform. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, just like a princess.
According to Geneva, the young cast of the play from Creamer were herself and our brother Wilburn Cox, Yardey Cotney (aunt to Joe Paul McCullough and Peggy Cotney Gore, mother of Vickie Gore Harvick), and Arlie B. Bolin.
Also joining in the fun were Grace and Lee Tate, Rae and Hardy Evans (Lou Westfall and Gwen Greenlee’s parents), and Felton and Oleta Coker.
Geneva said they also traveled to Erath County to Edna Hill (Wilson) to perform their play. -Missy Cox Jones
Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly do not want to live during depression days, nor do I want to lose the comforts our present life affords; however, I do believe that we have all done our young people an injustice in not providing ways for them to increase their imaginations, at the very least through the magic of books, but I suppose that is fodder for another story on another day.
Another thing that young people of the 30s did to amuse themselves was to hold what they called tacky parties, and it was exactly as the name implies. Party goers would deck themselves in the worst, most horrible outfit that they could put together and head out to the party.
These parties were held in one of their homes where the teens would usually do something like making fudge. According to Missy, even though the time was the depression years, these young people lived on farms where they had “sweet cream, sugar, and cocoa. That was a lot of fun. They might also have pies and cakes, and usually everyone who came brought something to contribute to the refreshments.”
Of course, at the end of the evening a prize was given for the tackiest costume there!
Another popular form of entertainment in the 1930s was the Box Supper…straight out of the days of Little House on the Prairie and I’m sure just as exciting to the young people of the Great Depressions.
Sometimes these events were just for fun; other times they were used to raise money for some civic or church project, but whatever the reason, each girl would decorate a box as beautifully as she could with crepe paper or ribbons, material, and anything else that would make it look as pretty as possible. OF COURSE, if she had a boyfriend she quickly gave him instructions on just what her box would look like!
Next came the cooking of something like fried chicken, potato salad, and cake or pie for dessert. All was then packed in the decorated box, and the young ladies donned in their best “bib and tucker” were off for the social where the young men of the community would bid on the boxes in hopes of getting to eat the meal with the girl of their choice.
*Geneva married in December of 1936 so this was prior to that date.