Every year when December rolls around I find myself musing from time to time about all of the wonderful Cotillion Balls we used to go to through the years and what fun they were. Between Savannah and my teenage years up in Wisconsin, both The Cotillion Club and The Service Club provided a neat reason to attend glamorous galas each December.
I miss dressing up, I mean really truly dressing up, getting into cars with one's grandmother's mink coats or stoles (depending on the weather) topping my gowns, gemstones and long white kid gloves, being driven through Christmas-light lit up streets up to whatever hotel or civic center was the ball's atmospheric destination, brothers or cousins hopping out in their white tie tux to open the car door for me and...walking up the outside stairs into a wonderland of romantic-glam!
I guess this is the closest thing to feeling like a princess aside from one's wedding day but of course.....and I loved it! Both being an attendee and also being a debutante'...first in 1986 up in Milwaukee and then in 1987 in Savannah. The northern debut was "for fun and with my girlfriends" and, as any Lowcountry gal worth her sea-spray salt well understands, the southern debut was oh so very much, "for family" though I did enjoy doing this with my Savannah gal-pals too but of course :)
Since I was the only girl in my entire generation which was stocked full of brothers n' boy cousins, I had no choice at all about being a debutante when I became "of age" for it but heck, party after party after boating party after oyster roasts and also getting more clothes than I ever had been so fortunate to have before in my life for the various goings-on during both debutante seasons...frankly, wow, this was great with me!
And the gifts from people I knew as well as from complete strangers...it seemed a weekly gift pick-up trip to Savannah's Cottage Shop...and the copious thank you notes I wrote with my monogrammed Crane informals stationary or tucking in one of my calling cards into a bauble or bouquet being send along as another kind of thank you gesture.
My mother also loved her Savannah season and above is one of the pictures of her in her ballgown at the old Savannah Desoto Hilton posing with her two posts: her brother, my late uncle on the left and her boyfriend, my father on the right side!
She was sooooo beautiful and feminine whereas I'm a bit more on the preppy-sporty side though every once in a while, my obviously-inherited bit of southern belle' femininity will show up but, heh heh, the sporty short hairdo I "sported" at my Savannah debut was indeed a standout from alla' the long and/or curly do's my fellow debs were displaying back there in 1987. As was...my, (for debuts back then) really simply tailored ballgown with its plain a-line shaping and only embellishment being the Austrian hand-knitted lace shoulder covering. I spotted this dress while in Lord and Taylor when I first walked in, tried it quickly on and said, "this is perfect!" as my father pulled out his checkbook and I traipsed over to the Vidal Sassoon salon to get that Princess Diana short layered hair style I wore all through my junior high, high school and first year of college days.
Now of course, we live a much more casual lifestyle these days which in general I really enjoy but every so often...I get a bit wistful for those ballgown wearing days.....