Twenty-nine local ladies, with an average age of 72, agreed to bare it all — most of it, anyway — so other seniors could get dental care.
In August, the lovely ladies posed semi-nude for a scandalous 2013 calendar, dubbed “Smiles.”
The calendars steamed off the press today.
“It’s the perfect gift for the person who has everything,” Serving Our Seniors director Sue Daugherty said. “Not only will they have fun with it, they’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping someone in need.”
Daugherty got the idea in July after watching the movie "Calendar Girls."
“Yeah, I stole it,” she admitted. “But it’s for a good cause.”
When Daugherty pitched the idea to the Serving Our Seniors board in July, not everyone was convinced. Some members thought it was a bit too risque.
“They were split 50-50,” Daugherty said.
Board members Carla Mitchell and Carl McGookey stood up and made passionate arguments for the idea. They held that if done in a tasteful way, the calendar could not only help seniors in need of dental care, but also change people’s ideas about getting older.
“It certainly paints a better picture of aging than sitting in a rocking chair,” Daugherty said. “These people are aging, not dead.”
With the board convinced, Daugherty and Serving Our Seniors volunteer Renee Claycomb started recruiting.
As it turned out, it didn't take much to convince these experienced ladies to shed their duds.
“Life’s an experience to be lived every day,” 70-year-old model and self-proclaimed “cougar” Patty Stewart-Speer said. “I said, ‘Why not?’”
Some women didn’t take any convincing at all.
“I didn’t even know what it went to benefit,” 89-year-old Virgina Duff said. “I’d do it again.”
For some it was a rapturous release.
“It used to be you were a little old lady at 50,” 72-year-old Frankie Byrd said. “Not anymore. Now you get to be adventurous.”
For others, it was a chance to probe new territory.
“I’d never taken my clothes off in a yard in Huron before,” said Tera Fair, 60. “We had so much fun.”
It was all for a good cause.
Medicare doesn’t cover dental procedures, which means many seniors go without proper care, Daugherty said. Serving Our Seniors stepped up and targeted the growing problem.
“When seniors have to make financial decisions, a lot of times dental care gets cut,” Daugherty said. “Sometimes it gets so bad that they have to change their diets to just soft foods.
“It can lead to other health issues,” she said.
At an average cost of about $500 a patient, dental care is an expensive proposition. So far this year, Serving Our Seniors has covered the cost for 76 patients. As of Tuesday, 56 are still on the waiting list.
“If taking my clothes off can help somebody get their teeth fixed, there’s no question in my mind,” Doris Roth-Warren said. “I’d definitely do it again.”
The calendars are available for purchase online and at the Serving Our Seniors office, for $10 apiece.
Diane Alexander, owner of Alexander Photography at 225 W. Water St., took the photos for free. Mark Advertising, at 1600 Fifth St. in Sandusky, designed the calendars for free.
Daugherty said she hopes to sell at least 2,000 copies.
“If it’s a success, I’m planning on doing a Chippendales calendar next year,” she said.
For now, there's plenty to look at.
“Wait till my grandkids get these for Christmas presents,” Stewart-Speer said.
Buy a copy
Smiles 2013 calendars are available as of today for $10 apiece at Serving Our Seniors, 310 Boalt St., Sandusky. You can also purchase them online at www.servingourseniors.org.
Sue Daugherty is still looking for local retail shops interested in selling the calendars. The only catch is businesses must pay full price for the product, upfront. Serving Our Seniors is a nonprofit, however, so businesses can write off about $6.50 per calendar. For information call 419-624-8176.