Seniors dress the part for calendarShirley Heath is full of ideas — from starting a cookbook to getting her neighbors in the holiday spirit by encouraging them to embellish their walkers with battery-operated Christmas lights.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Shirley Heath is full of ideas — from starting a cookbook to getting her neighbors in the holiday spirit by encouraging them to embellish their walkers with battery-operated Christmas lights.
“Something to do, something to do,” she said of her unique ways of keeping busy at Potter Ridge Assisted Living in Red Wing.
One of Heath’s latest ideas brought nearly two dozen Potter Ridge residents together — including herself — for a 2012 calendar.
The concept simply came to her one day.
“It’d be fun to have a calendar with everybody’s picture on it,” Heath said.
With the help of Potter Ridge community life coordinator Mickie Schutz, things began to come together. Some residents were uncertain whether they’d want to participate if the calendar was going to be anything like the one produced in the 2003 comedy “Calendar Girls,” which featured older women wearing, well, nothing.
But when they realized Potter Ridge’s version was much more innocent, volunteers stepped up.
By donning costumes borrowed from the Sheldon Theatre, 22 men and women were able to portray such characters as diverse as card-playing cowgirls and the Marx Brothers.
Heath said she was hoping to dress up as “white Christmas.” Even though no costumes fit the part, she was still the model for one of Minnesota’s snowiest months.
“She gets January because she is the leader of the pack,” Schutz said.
The calendar photos were taken by photographer Elyce Jaeger in one day, with the “models” posing in different areas of Potter Ridge.
“This was so fun — giggling and laughing,” Heath remembered. “When their kids see that, and their grandkids, that’ll be nice.”
The calendars are available for $18 apiece, and several of the practically famous seniors will be available to autograph copies from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 21 at Best of Times Bookstore. Proceeds from the 500 calendars printed will go into Potter Ridge’s activity fund.
“Hopefully we’ll sell to the Red Wing public,” Schutz said.
Regardless whether the calendar sees high sales, the project seems to have brought a lot of entertainment to those involved — many of whom are older than age 90.
“They just talk about it every day, how fun it was,” Heath said.
“This is something they’ll never forget,” Schutz added.