Saturday, November 26, 2011


Back in my olden days, Mormons in the Washington DC area held fast to their Utah connection.  Most of them had probably been born in Utah and ended up in Washington due to employment. They may have lived in the Washington DC area for decades, but Utah was still home and was the place where they would probably retire. Their ties to "Zion" were strong and deep. There was a Utah State Society in the DC area that was mostly made up of  LDS church member with ties to Utah.  My parents were members.

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.

1 comment:

  1. They weren't doing this three years earlier when I was that age; but I remember very well having a mother-approved strapless formal gown, and several with "spaghetti" straps that I wore to stake teen cotillions..and no one said a word about it.