Mineola, TX—It’s No “Sodom”

Mineola, Texas is a jewel of a town. It’s located at the junction of Highways 69 and 80 in east Texas and it”s in Wood County, which is “home” to “my people.” In Texas small towns, the first thing folks ask is “where are your people from?” Actually, that’s the second. The first is “WHO are your people?”

That was a good enough reason for me to want to check it out on the way to visit to Tyler last weekend. I also liked reading that supposedly in 1873 a man named Major Ira H. Evans named the town after his daughter, Ola, and a friend named Minnie Patton. That’s probably a good thing, because the town was called “Sodom”before that. I don’t know whether that was a commentary on the citizens, or a case of “What were they thinking?”

It doesn’t resemble a “Sodom” these days. The town is lined with charming antique stores, a spectacular coffee shop, some interesting looking restaurants, a train depot museum, and one store that drew me like a magnet. What kind of store? A vintage clothing store (everybody who has read any other posts knows that).

It’s called “Retroactive,”(follow the link to see pictures) and it rivals any vintage store I’ve seen from Dallas to Houston and in-between. The aroma of incense fills the air. The Supremes croon in the background while you shop. The clothing is displayed artfully, and it isn’t crammed together haphazardly. It almost takes you right back to the sixties—if you were there in the first place. However, I’m told by people older than myself that “if you remember the Sixties you weren’t really there.” I wouldn’t know what that means.

I was wondering how such a fine vintage store wound up in a tiny east Texas town. I asked the proprietor, Miss Linda, about that. She said that she came to Mineola from Oregon, though she grew up in California and lived in San Francisco in her twenties.

I said, “Why in the world did you come here, then?” She told me that she had two children of her own and then adopted six children from the same family. She didn’t want them led astray by city life. She had visited friends in Mineola and liked the town. When she heard that the schools still had corporal punishment, she packed up the kids and moved here, because she wanted those children to grow up right. I fell in love with her!

Linda travels all over the United States gathering her vintage clothing. Her selection is quite varied and of excellent quality. I’ve never seen finer. But, the prices are so reasonable that even the kids in town can afford to shop there. She told me that she laughs when little girls ask her, “Miss Linda, is this dress a size 12?” She answers, “Yes, honey, but in those days size 12 was much smaller.” Indeed it was.

The town of Mineola is well worth a visit if you are passing through. In fact, I’d like to go back to it for a whole day, because I think I could easily spend that much time and not see everything. Heck I could spend all day at Miss Linda’s shop. If you decide to go there be sure to stop at Retroactive, at 104 N. Johnson Street. Tell her Shelly says, “Hey.”