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Ladies of Linden Ponds 2011

Charitable calendar sales soar

Created date

January 25th, 2011

When the Ladies of Linden Ponds 2011 calendar debuted last fall, following a year and a half of secretive work, neither its organizers nor its models could believe the response. Overwhelmed, flabbergasted, shocked, are a few words used by Carol Oliver, the lead organizer of the project, to describe the sales and publicity the calendar has generated. In the first two weeks, more than 1,400 copies were sold, and by early January at least 2,300 prints had been sold, raising more than $34,000 for two vital charitable funds at Linden Ponds. It certainly grew bigger than we ever imagined, Oliver says. We thought maybe the surrounding towns would pick it up we ve had orders in almost every state. The calendar features 12 ladies who live in the community, ages 63 to 96 and carefully positioned to reveal their fun-loving personalities. Sales of the $15 calendar benefit Linden Ponds Benevolent Care Fund, which provides assistance to those suffering financial hardship in the community, and the Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to students who work there.

Media frenzy

The calendar was unveiled in the community at a special event followed by an autograph signing by some of the models. Miss April, Linda Hiller, didn t expect much more attention than that. It s just been unbelievable beyond anything I could possibly have expected, Hiller says of the response. Both the local and national media came calling. Local papers and news stations, including The Boston Globe, Fox News, New England Cable News (NECN), and The Patriot Ledger, covered the story. Reporter Jack Harper of WCVB-TV Boston interviewed a number of the models and organizers in a television segment that showcased the ladies off-the-cuff wit and humor. And you never moved the book? Harper asked Kay Nelligan, who was photographed in the community s library, holding a strategically placed book. I never read the book either, Nelligan quipped in response. I was afraid to breathe, she added, laughing. Spearheaded by Carol Oliver and her committee of fellow community members Donna MacLeod, Laurel Morris, and Susan Thayer, the project was kept under the radar even within the models own families. In her television interview, Hiller explained that her husband, Edward, had just recently found out about his wife s endeavors. In a phone interview, Hiller says she was the first model to be photographed. They did my hair and they did my makeup and he never noticed, Hiller says. I figured if he hasn t noticed, I m not going to tell him! It wasn t until three weeks before the calendar s debut that Mr. Hiller discovered a note addressed to The Calendar Girls in his wife s basket. Mrs. Hiller says her husband wasn t surprised when she told him, and he supported her in all that followed. Everybody around here keeps calling me Miss April, she says. My husband s calling himself Mr. April.

Community bonding

According to Carol Oliver, the response within the Linden Ponds community has been overwhelmingly positive. She says the calendar seemed to come at the right time, bringing good news and inspiration to those who live in the community as well as those involved in the project. You can be very young in looks and spirit, Oliver says. These women who did it, it made them younger; they were kids again. It was very inspiring to see how beautiful women can be. Hiller says she and the other models formed a bond when they met many for the first time for the calendar s group photo. Since then, the group has reunited to autograph calendars and plan to hold regular reunion gatherings. I ve made more friends here and gotten to know more people here because of it, Hiller says of the calendar. Adds Oliver: We re here to help each other. If I had a choice to go back to my house which I loved and Linden Ponds, I would choose here.