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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Calendar Girls

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content!

 

In 1998 Angela Baker of Yorkshire Dales, England, lost her husband to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a tribute to the memory of John Baker, she and ten of her colleagues from the Women’s Institute decided to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research. But how?

Someone had the bold and brazen idea to put out a nude calendar of themselves — normally conventional, sedate ladies in their middle years. The youngest was 47 and the oldest, 65. Wearing little more than a smile and a trademark set of pearls, they were photographed in typical scenes, their modesty protected only by a baby-grand piano, a teapot and sprouting broccoli on a vegetable patch.

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The self-published calendar was released officially on April 12, 1999. It was an instant sensation with the first printing selling out in a week. 10,000 more copies were made during a massive second printing and that was gone after just three more weeks. Word spread quickly about the calendar, and the international press soon jumped on the story.

By December of 1999, just nine months after its launch, the calendar had sold 88,000 copies, and raised some $550,000 for leukemia research. That number has grown significantly since then, especially after Workman Publishing released an American version of the calendar.

In an interview John Baker’s wife, Calendar Girl Angela Baker, said the following, “We are constantly amazed at the response we had, and still get, to our Calendar. I cannot believe that we were able to raise so much money and I am delighted that it is being spent on such worthwhile research. I know that John would be tremendously honored to know that we have achieved so much…”

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Over the next decade, they found themselves traveling the world, being portrayed in a West End play and by Dame Helen Mirren in a film, and have now raised around £2 million for Leukemia Research.

Meanwhile, almost every fire brigade and sports team in the United Kingdom have followed their lead.

Actress Glenda Jackson was one of the calendar’s sponsors, which likely helped to ignite interest. Jackson is a member of the British Parliament where she serves as Labor MP for Hamstead and Highgate. She is the only British Parliament Member to have won an Oscar.

Six members of the Yorkshire-based Women’s Institute with a combined age of 379-years old have been reunited for a new 2010 calendar in living color. Now “we definitely have to have bigger props,” joked Queen Baker, 63, who can be seen playing the piano in February. She continued, “I was a bit apprehensive about color, because older women can look a bit funny in color, and we wanted it to be just as good as the first one. Then, when I did see it in color, I thought ‘Well, maybe, why not?”‘

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*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife.

Queen Mama Donna is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

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The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

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