What Grandpa and Grandma Talked About During Their Courtship

I placed the photo below at the top

to show you the vast differences in how our grandparents "courted," and how young people did in the years that followed the 1800's.

Source
Vintage honeymoon being reenacted by actors going on social facts of the 1800's.
Vintage honeymoon being reenacted by actors going on social facts of the 1800's. | Source

Want to reveal a persistent dream?

We all at one time or the other, have dreams. These interesting "journey's" in our sleep can carry us to distant places, talk to an old flame we lost years ago, or enjoy a dream of serious and interesting information about people in our own families.

For instance. Consider our grandpa and grandma and how they lived, worked, and were an integral part of a social network in their day during the early 1800's. Personally, I find this era more than interesting. I find it highly-valuable in its supply of near-priceless information that might help me in the fast-paced year of 2016.

A few vintage "courtship" rules

Before we begin, let me preface this topic with some preliminary facts:

  • Boys and girls in this era when "courting," always "dressed to the nines," no flesh showing. At all. Remember, the moral conduct and standards were much higher in the 1800's.
  • Conversations too, were carefully-monitored by the girl or boy's chaperon probably the family priest or minister, a trusted uncle or aunt. Anyone who had a sharp knowledge of right and wrong.
  • Couples could not embrace for fear of sparking a lust for each other that was strictly-condemned by the church, so the couple had to sit with each other, but not too close. This was also governed by their chaperons.
  • The fashions (see graphics in this hub) were more than respectful, but not stuffy. Now if the couples had been "courting," in the Victorian Era, I doubt if the couples could see each other for all of the layers of clothing used to cover their physical features. (I am talking to the girls).
  • Talk about strict. In the latter days of the Victorian Era, the young man and girl would stand in a room with each surrounded by friends and messages were taken back and forth by a chosen, trusted person of perfect moral standards. I said it was strict.
  • For girls, laughing or giggling, even in softest tones, were considered "secular flirting," and not supported by the church. Integrity and the saving of it, was the name of the game in this time.


An American G.I., and an English girl enjoy some leisure time in Hyde Park in 1940.
An American G.I., and an English girl enjoy some leisure time in Hyde Park in 1940. | Source
An English ATS  and Eighth Air Force  sergeant enjoy a blissful-but-stolen   kiss
An English ATS and Eighth Air Force sergeant enjoy a blissful-but-stolen kiss | Source
Actors show how a young couple were introduced in the early 1800's.
Actors show how a young couple were introduced in the early 1800's. | Source
"Courtship" in paintings during early 1800's.
"Courtship" in paintings during early 1800's. | Source
US officer walks  girl by Serpentine  pond in Hyde Park.
US officer walks girl by Serpentine pond in Hyde Park. | Source
Young girl and ladies' fashion in early 1800.
Young girl and ladies' fashion in early 1800. | Source
Behavior such as this was not permitted in early 1800's for it was thought by the church and parents to lead to premarital sex.
Behavior such as this was not permitted in early 1800's for it was thought by the church and parents to lead to premarital sex. | Source

The one subject (aren't you glad?) I am exploring today is . . .

What Grandpa and Grandma Talked About During Their Courtship

  • "John, why the sad face?" "Oh, Mary Katherine, I had a traumatic episode today." "Oh,?" "Yeah, my father, a good man, grew angry and whipped my ass." "Oh, my! Are you hurt?" "Mary Katherine, my father whipped my donkey because I could not get it to moving faster while I was plowing."
  • "Simp, may I ask you a Godly question?" "Sure, Anna Lee." "Do you like to collect rocks?" "Well, sure, but in our home, there isn't time for leisurely hobbies. My mother says leisure hobbies are from the devil."
  • "Evelyn Joyce, did your family get your corn planted before the moon changed phases?" "Sure, Henry. My father and brothers did that in, and I am not boasting, record time."
  • "May I pay you a compliment, Ella Carol?" "Sure, but I need to see what my chaperon says. We don't need to start talking sinful for fear of going to hell." "That would be okay, but keep your compliment decent." "Ella Carol, I think your parlor is decorated perfectly."
  • "Jason, would you like a cup of tea?" "Oh, sure, Minnie June. I just love tea, but in a moderate amount."
  • "Clark, I enjoy cross-stitching. What productive past-time to you have?" "Margaret Joan, I love to cut a large amount of timber and then split it up for us to use as firewood. Sorry that you cannot do this for cutting and splitting wood is a man's thing to do."
  • "Flora Mae, I am very nervous about something I need to ask you." (Chaperon draws nearer upon hearing this remark). "Well, ask me, but please, no devilish jokes or wisecracks." "Flora Mae, I was pondering last week if I might have the wonderful privilege of walking you to church next Sunday morning--of course with a chaperon and us walking three feet apart.

(Then proving that life is not perfect), it happens . . .

  • "Billy Durbin, who is finished with his saucer of home-made tea cakes and delicious tea, starts to hand the saucer and cup back to "Ophelia Streetman Backkerberry, accidentally drops the saucer and cup into the floor. A look of fear dominates "Ophelia's and Billy's face. Both their mouths are wide open and they are speechless.
  • "Darn it," exclaims "Ophelia" before she can catch herself. "Whackkkk!" This is the sound of their chaperon striking her on the shoulders with a long, slick, slim, narrow Hickory bough. A punishment for young people for committing such a sinful error.
  • "Ophelia drops her head in shame." "Well, Miss Ophelia, it is getting late. Almost 6:30 p.m., and my bedtime. I do not see me calling upon you again for my parents strictly forbid me from courting such a fowl-mouthed worldly girl as yourself."

One out of ten courtships that failed is not a bad record.

Even in the early 1940's, a couple on a date knew better than to touch, kiss, or embrace while in public.
Even in the early 1940's, a couple on a date knew better than to touch, kiss, or embrace while in public. | Source

For your entertainment, I leave you with this "interesting" video

Other interesting vintage links you might want to read:

https://www.pinterest.com/emomshart/vintage-photos-of-people/

www.shutterstock.com/pic-54815530/stock-photo.html

More by this Author


Comments 12 comments

Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 9 months ago

Interesting and funny Kenneth, your hub proves generations of humans may change in clothing, may change in styles and taste of design. But we can say communication has always been the case.

What people discuss was according to their experiences, we do this today, some good but now many bad.

But I think it is wonderful to focus on the good it makes the heart happy thank you for sharing this hub.


ShyeAnne profile image

ShyeAnne 9 months ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

The pictures in the video are fascinating.

A very intriguing peek into our Victorian era ancestors.

Thank you for this most entertaining hub.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 9 months ago

That is so funny, Kenneth, especially your conversations between the young people. Your photo of the couple in bed with the board between them is no joke. I think the most "Victorian" forbidden straight-laced age" was the 1950s. Seriously! When I realize what we went through, and then I learned in folklore and sociology classes that similar courting rituals were actually carried out in the mountains, I was shocked. This ritual originated because when the fire went out at night, the couple couldn't stay up in 20 degree weather. Except what I read said that the girl was made to wear several layers of clothes and wrapped in quilts before "mama put the couple to bed" (shocking to this 1950s gal that mama would actually put them in bed). They were forbidden to touch, but somehow quite a number of 7-month babies and quickie marriages resulted from this type of courtship.

During the roaring 20s, courting was not so strict as the 1950s. Gosh, I hated coming of age in the late 50s, and I've called the WWII generation the most hypocritical generation of all. I think from looking back at my parents and knowing what I know now, they just didn't want their children doing what they did. That could explain the free love movement of the 1960s.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 9 months ago from Nashville Tn.

What fun! You've created an interesting, informative well-presented look into courting during this period. Times have sure changed. Great pics and video. Thanks Kenneth.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 9 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Good story and great images, although I think the one of the two 'meeting' might actually be a marriage for a couple who had eloped and gone to the local smithy to perform the ceremony over his anvil.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 9 months ago from Mississauga, ON

I am dying with laughter, Kenneth. Although I don't come from the culture you covered in this hub, I am pretty sure my grandparents acted this way AFTER getting married for at least few months LOL.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Suhail and my dog,

Thank you, my good friend for your comments.

You could be right on your assumption about your grandparents.

But in some cases, we shall never know.

And that is how it should be.

Come back to see me anytime.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dearest Kiss and Tales,

I am always Grateful to read one of your warm comments.

Me? I can only imagine what my grandparents discussed while they were dating, errr, courting.

At least it is a fun thing to think about.

Sweet Kiss and Tales, I pray that you have a happy, safe, and productive day.

Love, Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, ShyeAnne,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving me this sweet comment.

I appreciate your input as well as the input from all of my wonderful followers.

Peace to you and yours.

Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear MizBejabbers,

I am prone to agree with all you told me in your comment. And believe this or not, I am really interested in "these" era's when young men and women came into their own or coming of age, had to adhere to stringent rules mostly from a scriptural standpoint and some very over the top and ridiculous.

Respect was drilled into children when they exited their mother's wombs and it was not stopped until they reached adulthood.

Somehow, even I, with my abstract imagination, cannot find one thing "really" bad about these era's.

Just like in the 60's, "free love, etc." I can imagine that in some instances, when hippy couples bedded down for the night underneath what bridge was available, and "time" came for love, the girl might say,

"not tonight, 'Moon Beast,' I have an acid hang-over."

Oh well. Life goes on.

Write me anytime, dear MizBeJabbers.

Love you, Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, Vocal Coach,

Thanks for the sweet and supportive comments.

I wanted to, as they say, "get the ball rolling," by writing this piece in hopes that someone (hint, hint) might take up the gauntlet and write more hubs about "this" area of protection and discipline.

And I think you are the hubber for the job.

Love you, Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Morning, BlossomSB,

Your comments have always given me a "peaceful, easy feeling," (Don Henley, Eagles), and I appreciate you so much.

You and Vocal Coach were among my first followers back about five years ago this June. What a leap of faith you two made. And I am grateful.

Have a wonderful day with lots of love, peace and sanity.

Love you, Kenneth

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