Courting couples in every age have sought time alone,
away from prying (and disapproving) eyes, but the craze for spooning among young
people at the turn of the last century added to the appeal of
Another recreational fad of that time helped fill the
towns possessing a body of water conducive to the activity, canoeing was all the
rage in the years before WWI. Of course, it was easy for a canoe to accidentally
drift into a canebrake. Such accidental privacy was not to be
Crusades were soon launched against "canoe spooners,"
and canoes themselves.
The Daily Leader in Orange reported in 1912
that one preacher had pronounced that the ferryman's boat across the River Styx
was, "beaten by a mile in paddling souls to perdition by the modern
According to him, Cleopatra and Antony had a tame time
compared to the canoe spooners.
"The dress of the fair damsel canoe spooner, her posture
and conduct would make the dusky Hawaiian hula damsel in her canoe blush for
shame," he proclaimed.
More dangerous, though, than canoes were wheeled
conveyances, whether horse-drawn or horseless.
1911, the editor of the Burleson County Register railed against, "the
mother who allows a sixteen year old daughter to float around the township in a
buggy...with a counterfeit sport of weak jaw and weaker
"The girl who insists on spooning everybody in town
ought to be taken to the woodshed and relieved of her overflow of
affections...It is harder to marry off a girl who has been pawed over by every
yap in the community than it is to fatten a sheep on pineapple
ice," he concluded.
1917, residents of the Montrose section of Houston had had
The Houston Press announced that homeowners had
turned vigilante. Groups of them took to the unlit streets at night, sneaking up
on unsuspecting spooners and demanding their names... or if they made a run for
it, taking their license plate numbers. These were given to the local vice
member of the group reported, "the other night one car careened along for five
blocks without switching on its lights, only to have its number caught by a
vigilante waiting at the side of the Westheimer Road, where the driver felt safe
in lighting up.”
not all municipalities were anti-spooner.
1909, the mayor of Mineral Wells invited, "all persons young or old afflicted
with 'spoonitis' to come to Mineral Wells, drink the water and play at the great
desire to state," he went on, "that there is no law against 'spooning' in
Mineral Wells. We have laws - wise and good ones - but none that forbid an
'ancient and universal amusement.' Some old maids and bachelors find playing
'42' strenuous enough, though a young man might prefer to 'make goo-goo eyes' at
Happy Valentines Day!