McDowell Place creates calendar showcasing residents are ‘retired, not expired’
Published 8:42 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Calendar girls — and boys
A recent wonderful day has turned into a wonderful next year for many residents at McDowell Place of Danville.
Twenty-nine residents, ranging in age from 62 to 101, played dress-up for a day in September and created a unique calendar for 2018 called “Retired, Not Expired!”
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Gina Scott, activity director for McDowell Place said, “They are retired from work but not retired from life.” So McDowell Place wanted to come up with a fun project for their residents to do.
They had created a calendar in 2008, Scott said.
But it was more formal and depicted residents and their hobbies.
“I loved that calendar,” Scott said. But this time she said they wanted it to be more fun, showing a love of life and residents enjoying life, doing some fun things.
“And to be honest, really unexpected, a little outrageous,” Scott said, which brought a roaring laugh around the table where many of the resident models gathered recently to share their experience of making the calendar.
Rose Dickerson, who is shown dancing with David Barnes at a 1950s soda fountain, said she had lots of fun, and nobody’s arms were twisted to participate.
Barnes said the most fun being involved in the photo shoot was ” … I guess with Rose probably.” More laugher rolled around the table.
Mandy Emmons, community coordinator at McDowell Place said, “What probably started out as delusions of grandeur actually came together. It was amazing.”
The special calendar shows residents dressed for the occasion for each month and are pictured in special settings, using a green screen and digital backgrounds.
For example, there are two women dressed in party attire holding Champagne glasses standing in Times Square for January; a romantic married couple are seen standing in front of the Eiffel Tower for February; and four avid UK fans on the floor of Rupp Arena for March.
There is even a winning lady at a Las Vega casino and Mrs. Clause and an elf at Santa’s workshop.
In reality, none of the shots were taken outside of Danville — but the scenes look so real, Scott said.
The management team brainstormed fun scenarios for each month. They presented their ideas to local photographer Kirk Schlea and designer Bruce Jones, and the residents jumped right into the project.
Scott said to the group, “I know you all were saying, ‘What in the world?” But what’s funnier is in your mind you all were saying, ‘Sure, I’ll do it! I don’t know what you’re doing, but count me in!'”
Resident Sherman McMichael portrays a Thanksgiving turkey standing between two resident Pilgrims for November.
“They said they had to have a turkey and I guess I was the one,” McMichael said and chuckled.
Resident Gloria Tucker replied, “You were a good lookin’ turkey.”
Resident Virginia Bartle said, “I loved being April! I may be the only person here who lived on the desert … And let me tell you, when it rained in Arizona, that was party time! We went outside and stood in the rain… When I found out I was depicting the woman in the rain, I was delighted. I hope it shows in the picture.”
Resident Ruth Young is one of the four bikini girls. Not real bikinis, she said, but long T-shirts with very curvy female figures in skimpy bikinis printed on it.
“I think everybody had as much fun as we did by laughing at us,” Young said.
Showing their sense of humor are three retired teachers in a school hallway dressed as “teachers gone bad.” Mildred Boyd, who is 95, said she started out chewing bubble gum in the photo, “But the sucker did it.”
Pauline Griggs is Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz photo.
“I didn’t know I looked so fat,” Griggs said and laughed. However, several of her friends said she looked cute. “I don’t like animals, but I held that little dog,” she said, and wore the dress all day so everyone could see her in it.
Emmons said many of the costumes were ordered online and some were loaned by the staff. Of course, many of the models came up with their own props too. “We got creative,” Emmons said.
The professional photo shoot was even polished more with make-up by Connie Snieder, a Mary Kay sales director, and hair styles by Rose Cheek and Alexandra Turney of Impressions The Salon and Spa.
McMichael said, “Me and Chigger (Norris Flynn) helped in that because they didn’t have to worry about our hair,” he said as he rubbed his large hand over his shinny bald head.
Tucker, who shows tons of attitude in the calendar, said she has lived at McDowell Place for 10 years — since she moved there when she was very sick.
“They gave me a year to live, and the employees here keep reminding me I’m not keeping up my schedule,” she joked. “But it’s their fault because I like it so much here I just go on.”
She said attitude is everything when living a full life. She recalled a birthday card her daughter once sent her, featuring a beautifully made-up woman with a strong attitude. This was her inspiration to be the “attitude” model for the calendar.
“You pulled that off, Gloria!” Emmons said.
“I wonder what that says?” Tucker said and laughed. “… Attitude is everything. And God help us all, that’s true.”
SO YOU KNOW
The “Retired not Expired” 2018 calendar will be available in December only at the McDowell Place front desk, with part of the proceeds going to the Danville/Boyle County Senior Citizens Center. The cost is $12 each. Call (859) 239-4663 to check on availability.
Photos by Kirk Schlea of Kirk Schlea Visual Arts
Digital backgrounds and calendar design by Bruce Jones of Bruce Jones Design