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The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, that is, where 64 delectable debutantes from as far away as England, France, Japan, Scotland, Wales and Iceland and as near as New York City, bowed to society at the 46th International Debutante Ball. This was a bumper crop of buds, because last year's ball, due to the hurly-burly of the millennium, was cancelled. Some of the girls had waited a year to come out, but who's to say it wasn't worth it? Judging from the miles of dazzling smiles, no one.
The debut is an age-old tradition, and thank heaven it still has its pretty, graceful adherents, all thrilled to be the stars of a gorgeous ball in the presence of their families, friends and a thousand guests. In the pink, silver and white winter fantasy scene that was the Grand Ballroom, the 64 floated down the length of the room like so many swans, elegant in long white dresses and long white gloves, carrying bouquets of pink roses and escorted by white-gloved bachelors of their choice in white tie and tails, as well as by midshipmen from the Naval Academy and cadets from West Point and the Coast Guard Academy in full dress uniforms. This fete, after all, has benefited since its beginning the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines' and Airmen's Club, so bring on the uniforms!
The debutantes came from eight countries, 21 states and the District of Columbia, and the guests of honor sitting high in a box over the ballroom were members of the Eisenhower family. Eisenhowers have been associated with this ball for years, as several generations of Eisenhower women have been presented here.
An Eisenhower deb is always the lead deb, representing the United States, and this year at the head of the procession it was the beautiful Amelia Eisenhower Mahon, the daughter of Susan Eisenhower and the late John F. Mahon and the great-granddaughter of President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. The box of honor was filled with family -- the deb's mother and step-father, Roald Sagdeev; Anne Eisenhower Flottl and Wolfgang Flottl and Julie Nixon Eisenhower and her husband, David Eisenhower. Also in the family box was Mrs. James H. (Candy) Van Alen of the New York and Newport social swim, a longtime, zealous supporter of the ball.