Blue Thong Society Members 'Fighting Frump' And 'Having Fun'

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When Elizabeth Keddington first read about the Blue Thong Society, she decided it was what she needed in her life.

In March 2006, after the big snowstorm, she had an accident that left her severely injured and in almost constant pain.

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Elizabeth Keddington, along with her sister-in-law, Joyce Keddington, organized the Payson chapter of the Blue Thong Society. The goals of the group are to get together, have fun, do good works and "Fight Frump."

"I needed some levity in my life," she said. That is one of the things members of the BTS stress -- having fun. So, she decided to organize a Payson chapter.

She sent an e-mail to her sister-in-law, including a quote from the BTS Web site, bluethongsociety.com, "We will never give in or stop fighting for what we believe in, and above all, we will Fight Frump Forever, and one way to do that is to never stop wearing hip huggers and bell bottoms."

"She said I had her at ‘hip huggers and bell bottoms' and I said ‘good' and made her my co-chair," Keddington said.

Actually, there are no officers in the group and it is very unstructured -- no set meeting dates, no agendas. However, each BTS chapter must adopt a local charity for which the members work as a group.

The Payson chapter -- it does not even have a formal name -- has adopted the Time Out Shelter as its charity and recently put together materials for the facility's welcome bags.

"We will help facilitate whatever they do," Keddington said. "We feel really strongly about women helping women."

Shortly after the Payson group organized, the BTS had its first convention in the Valley.

"We met the founders," Keddington said. "They were all very professional, but very fun."

Keddington still stays in touch with the founders -- Kelly Golden, Jackie Tushinsky, Mary Jo Wallo and Mary Ellen Wiegand.

The group's next convention is in San Diego at the end of March.

Keddington said she'd love to attend, but has no plans to do so at this time.

Founded only in late 2005, BTS now has about 75 chapters nationwide and an estimated 730 members. Arizona has 25 chapters with about 325 members, Keddington said.

Members come from all walks of life and are generally 50 and older, though younger women are welcome to participate.

"Our slogan is ‘Fight Frump,'" Keddington said. She explained the slogan as more about attitude than aesthetic. "It is just a lot of fun. We get together and have a good time and just be ourselves.

"I heard some athlete tell a television reporter asking about comparing that day's success with an earlier failure," Keddington said. "What he said really stuck with me, ‘Yesterday's history. Tomorrow's a mystery. And today's a gift.' The women I have met through this group have all been a gift to me and now are becoming my friends."

To learn more about BTS, visit the Web site bluethongsociety.com.

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