From Uniform to Tails

My father, Edwin Sharpe Bell, squiring an Idlewild debutante in the late 1940s or perhaps 1950.
My father, Edwin Sharpe Bell, squiring an Idlewild debutante in the late 1940s or perhaps 1950.

It definitely looks like an awkward moment for my father. He looks so very debonair on the outside, but inside he’s feeling like some sort of trussed up peacock. And he’s enduring it because as an eligible bachelor and newly minted member of The Idlewild Club here in Dallas, he’s required to play the part of an escort to the young ladies “coming out” that season.

Tonight the Dallas’ deb season officially begins with the Idlewild ball presenting a number of young women. I have no idea how many or who they are. For the last few years, there hasn’t been much publicity during the season. When I say “season”, I mean the traditional season that’s been an annual occurrence since 1884 before there was La Fiesta de las Seis Bandera and the Dallas Symphony’s presentation ball. The latter two are well covered in the local newspapers and blogs, but not Idlewild.

I wrote about my mother’s season a couple of years back. The above photos were probably of an earlier season before my dad met my mom. It’s funny how my mother chose NOT to label the above photos with names and dates. If there was some other lady pictured with him, that lady went unnamed and was tossed into a box with the rest of his “unworthy” photographs, while her sanctioned photos were meticulously captioned and placed into a fancy leather bound album. I’ve placed a call to my aunt in hopes of her being able to identify at least a few of the young men and women pictured above.


7 thoughts on “From Uniform to Tails”

  1. Brenda says:

    Your Daddy was a very handsome man with a beautiful daughter. What a lovely memory in black and white.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Thank you, Brenda!

  2. Margaret Downs-Gamble says:


    Now we’ve seen your mother’s, your father’s … When will we see yours? I thought you looked more elegant than any of your peers the year you came out.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Margaret, my hairstyle was hideous. One giant lacquered lolly pop. Tiny stick thin body with a huge puffed up head. I fought with her like crazy and pleaded to allow me to look like a well-groomed normal 20 year-old. But no… I had to have the same helmut head that she and the rest of her 40 year old friends had. Maybe next year, I’ll post some photos. I’m just afraid they will be the kind of thing that will go viral in a very bad way and will haunt me for the rest of my life. Some things should be kept private. Lacquered helmut headed twenty year old female is one of those things.

  3. Judy says:

    Your dad was very handsome. I also would love to see your deb pics.

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Judy, I’m thinking next year.

  4. Edith says:

    Sounds exac a lac y like what your mom would demand/require of you
    I can hear her now…..

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