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Dances and Weekend Celebrations

Edwin R. Gaines.jpg

Edwin R. Gaines, football player.

Local fraternities, sororities, and clubs of all types gave smaller and less formal dances. Dinner parties, open houses, and intimate, private parties were everywhere. Most of the events were in honor of V.P.I. and V.M.I. cadets, and open invitations were usually extended to cadets in uniform. Downtown streets and hotel lobbies were thronged with animated people, and celebrations went on into the early hours, although the cadets of both colleges were assembled at midnight to meet their special trains for home. Crowds of girls, alumni, and well-wishers were on hand at the station for stirring good-byes as the trains pulled out of the terminal, one headed for Blacksburg and the other for Lexington. Some cadets would try to sleep during the short trip back to Blacksburg, usually with little success, for excitement continued to run high. On arrival at Huckleberry Station about two o'clock in the morning, the cadets marched to the barracks for a few hours of sleep before Reveille.

It was classes as usual on Friday and Saturday morning, although little academic enthusiasm was demonstrated in the recitation halls. When the buses with the football players arrived back in Blacksburg, on Friday, the Corps of Cadets met them on South Main Street at the town limits, and with a strutting cadet band in the lead, the cadets escorted the gridmen across town to the barracks. The "pride of V.P.I." was, indeed, greeted "with a glad returning."

All during Friday, the ongoing parties in Roanoke adjourned to Blacksburg. By dance time Friday evening, there was an expansive mood for the sets of formal dances hosted by the German Club and the Cotillion Club. Retreat that afternoon was heavily attended by spectators.

If a cadet's young lady arrived by train, she was met at the Christiansburg Station (Cambria) and escorted by taxi to her quarters in Blacksburg. Usually they were in a professor's home or other approved housing. If the young lady arrived in her family car, she performed the chauffeuring during her stay, for cadets were not permitted to drive automobiles within the Blacksburg area.

The five annual sets of formal dances at V.P.I. (Opening, Thanksgiving, Mid-Winter, Easter, and Finals) had national reputations for excellence, and bids to attend them were eagerly sought. It was thought improper for the young man to assume the cost of the young lady's lodging. If any charges were encountered, however, he was expected to take her out for dining. It was customary for male attendents to present their ladies with corsages to wear at the dances, taking care that the flowers be appropriate with the ensemble for the evening.

Dances and Weekend Celebrations