Back in those days, a common social event for older teenage girls was their debut. When a girl reached the age of about seventeen or eighteen, her parents presented their daughter, or debutante, to society at a fancy party or ball. It came from an old custom of letting society know that you had a daughter of marriageable age. The debutante was "shown off" to society families with the idea that rich parents who had an eligible bachelor son might find her suitable for marrying into their family. But it was just a fancy way to hopefully get your daughter married off and out of the house.
The Utah State Society had it's own form of a Debutante Ball. In the winter, a ball was held where all of the girls who were seniors in high school were presented to society. Along with forty three other girls, I debuted at the Utah Belle Ball in the winter of 1963. It was held at one of the Marriott hotels in the Washington area. I remember descended a long flight of stairs into the ballroom as my name was announced as the daughter of Morley and Dixie Christensen and then I had a dance with my father.
|1963, Utah Belles. I am in the third row, 2nd from the left|
Even though there were plenty of well-to-do society type people in the Utah State Society (government officials, congressmen, the Marriotts and even Ezra Taft Benson) with eligible bachelor sons, my parents were never approached about a marriage proposal...probably because I lived on the wrong side of the Potomac River. But that really wasn't the purpose of the dance anyway. It was just a night to feel special and be recognized.