December 8, 2023 By Carol Britton Meyer
The 2024 “Lovely Ladies of Linden Ponds” calendar is a sure sign that “age is just a number.”
While the women who posed for the calendar range in age from 69 to 92, the overarching theme is agelessness and that “whatever age you are, you can still be beautiful,” Christine Griffin, a member of the calendar committee, told the Hingham Anchor. “It’s about the empowerment of women — that they can enjoy life and look good at any age.”
A similar calendar was created in 2011, and the decision was made to do another one to kick off, in a fun way, the 20th anniversary celebration of the vibrant Linden Ponds retirement community next year.
The idea came from the 2003 “Calendar Girls” movie, based on a true story. The film revolves around middle-aged Englishwomen posing nude for their annual Women’s Institute calendar (a fundraiser for a local hospital) behind different props reflecting what the Institute teaches its members — such as playing the piano, planting flowers, making bread rolls, and knitting.
Similarly, the Linden Ponds ladies, dressed in bathing suits, pose behind different props within the retirement community — at the swimming pool, garden, beauty salon, performing arts center, poker room, library, TV studio, and inside the Linden Ponds shuttle bus, among others.
Different ages and interests reflected in calendar
Featured in the calendar are Linda Hiller (who modeled for both calendars), Scotty Hart, Carole Walt, Sandy Creaser, Pat Bianco, Cindy Reid, Marylee Muise, Deni Janey, Suzanne Monk, Lo Steele, Sandy Tuthill, and Judie Hass — all of whom have had led interesting lives and continue to do so as they enjoy the vitality and camaraderie for which Linden Ponds is known.
Griffin explained how the women were chosen to be included in the calendar.
“We wanted a model from each building here at Linden Ponds as well as diversity of age and activities,” she said.
The calendar committee brainstormed about who was active in various activities such as gardening, quilting, fitness, and music and who used various locations such as the salon and the pool.
“We created a list of women to ask, and we were most fortunate that they agreed to participate,” Griffin said. “The calendar is a celebration of our age as women as well as a great fundraiser for a great cause.”
The calendar’s message is that “getting older is not something to fear,” and that these models are proud of their age, representing a “collection of experiences, life-lessons, and adventures” that have made each of them who they are.
Embracing the challenges of aging
These “calendar girls” also serve as role models, embracing the challenges of aging and reveling in it, as seen in the photos. They also consider themselves to be bold and brave and the world to be their “runway.”
The goal is to sell all 1,500 of the calendars at $20 each, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the Resident Care Fund — “a resident-driven [resource] that ensures any resident who [has exhausted his or her financial resources through no fault of their own] doesn’t have to leave their home in this community,” Griffin explained. “We take care of our own.”
The fund is not charity — it’s considered to be a safety-net strategy that all Linden Ponds residents can participate in if they wish to do so, “whether in self-interest, [or out of] a sense of compassion, a spirit of generosity,” or a combination of all three.
“We’re looking to raise up to $30,000,” Janey said. “We care for one another.”
As of early December, 500 calendars had already been sold at Linden Ponds.
Many of the young people working in the dining room and kitchen asked Steele for her autograph on their copy of the calendar a week after it came out, she shared. Steele is a former Berklee School of Music professor and singer with the Boston Opera Company.
“We can be role models for the next generation in showing them that you’re as young as you feel,” she said.
Walt — a former television commercial actress — brought one of the calendars to Thanksgiving dinner with her family, to rave reviews. “My daughter, who is a minister, loves it, and my grandchildren are also big fans,” she said. “[Age] is a state of mind.”
The “calendar girls” had high praises for the photographers, Don Mitchell and Roseanne Zaino, with a special “shout out” to calendar committee founder Carol Oliver, casting director Ann Marcus, and again to Zaino, who also served as layout editor.
Besides Linden Ponds residents, the calendar is available to the entire Hingham community — as holiday gifts or stocking stuffers or just to help celebrate each month of the new year.
“We hope our calendar appeals to the public and generates sales — all for a good cause,” Griffin said.
To purchase a calendar, contact Christine Griffin: Cmg195566@gmail.com or 978 609-2516