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Local Women Strip (Almost) to Raise Money for Cancer Center

Nov. 29, 2004 – Inspired by the movie "Calendar Girls" in which a dozen middle-aged members of a stodgy British women's organization pose nearly nude for a calendar to raise funds for a cancer unit in their local hospital, 24 local women also "stripped for the cause" recently.
Jane Clemo, founding queen mother of the Caribbean Palm Bonnets, the local chapter of the Red Hat Society , said Monday she and local photographer Betsy Beretta were talking about the movie last spring when suddenly they burst out laughing. "We knew what we had to do."
What they had to do was their own calendar, with the proceeds to benefit the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute.
And the final result is "Tropical Treasures" a calendar featuring two or three over fifty-year-old women posing in familiar surroundings in not-so-familiar garb for each month of 2005. The women are captured in living color wearing their signature red palm bonnets, lavender boas or skimpy wraps and not much else.
Beretta was the photographer and graphic designer on the project, which the women put up the money to produce. All proceeds will go to the Kimelman Institute. Clemo said
She said everyone had a ball posing all over St. Thomas for the calendar.
Clemo and Mercedes Berruz are the co-founders of the Caribbean Palm Bonnets which is an official chapter of the Red Hat Society, Clemo said. "We started in March 2003."
There are over 40,000 chapters worldwide including on St. Croix, St. John and Puerto Rico.
Worldwide more than 1 million women have joined chapters that support women over 50 taking a break to have some fun.
Women over 50 wear a red hat with purple outfit. Ladies in waiting, as the under-50-year-old women are known, wear lighter shades, pink hats and lavender outfits. "It's all about taking a recess from your daily routine, giving yourself permission to play a little." Clemo said.
You can meet some of the models and purchase calendars Friday night at at the "Holiday Art Show" reception sponsored by Gallery St. Thomas and Alexander's Bella Blu, starting at 5 p.m. at Bella Blu in Frenchtown.
If you don't make it to the show, calendars are also available on-line at www.picturetrail.com or at several locations around the islands, including: Gallery St. Thomas, Beans Bites and Web sites, Chalet D'ore, Glady's Café, Greenhouse, Coconuts, Admiralty Dive Shop, Home Again , East End Secretarial, Dolphin Dreams, Elizabeth Jane's, Nayda of Coki Beach, Betsy's in Frenchtown, Beacon Point Gift Shop, The Roy L. Schneider Hospital Gift Shop, Gourmet Gallery Havensight and Crown Bay Marina, Silk Greenery, Randy's, The North Drop (formery Brayn's Bar), Debbie's Dedicated Dogs in Mandela Circle, Keep Left, Hang it Up Inc. Sea Chest, Sibilly-Bryan Auto Repair, Natural Food Grocery, Draughting Shaft, Oasis Hair Salon, His and Her's Salon, St. Thomas Yacht Club, Arthur's Restaurant, and Hemmingways Book Store.
They cost $20.

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