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Lots of Lindas enjoy convention weekend in Natchez

 

NATCHEZ — A whole lot of Lindas were at the Natchez Grand Hotel on Saturday — 65 Lindas to be exact.

The women, all named Linda, were in Natchez for the annual Lindas Involved In Network Development Convention.

They are all members of the Linda Club, which is an organization for women named Linda: “IF your first name is Linda or Lynda (pronunced L IH N-d uh), you have arrived!” the club’s website states. “This Club is for … you!.!.!”

“This is our 31st convention,” said Club President Linda Buss.

Every year a new member hosts the convention, Buss said. This year, the host was Linda Hinzle of Gloster, Mississippi. Once Hinzle found out she was going to host the event, Natchez immediately came to mind.

“My mother was born and raised in this area and I have been coming here all my life from Iowa,” Hinzle said. “I have fallen in love with Natchez. The history, the homes and the banners. I love everything about it. So when it was my turn to host a convention and since I moved down here, I knew I had to introduce Natchez to all the Linda/Lyndas. Give them a touch of the South. Hopefully they will fall in love with Natchez like I have.”

Throughout the club’s three-day stay in Natchez, the Lindas visited local antebellum houses and plantations.

Many of the Lindas agreed they liked Natchez and would come back.

“I have enjoyed Natchez,” said Linda Barron, one of the club’s directors.

The club’s first convention was held in 1987 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Since then, the organization’s conventions have moved throughout the United States in such locations as Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, and even Linda, California.

Although the convention involves a few leisure activities, each year the club’s convention planners pick a local charity in the convention’s city to be the beneficiary of money raised at the convention. Last year, the convention raised for $2,000 for the Opening Doors — Maria House/Teresa Shelter in Dubuque, Iowa.

“We always donate to a women’s group,” said Linda Melsha, one of the club’s directors. “This is the year for Pleasant Acres (Day School).”

The club will present a check to the daycare home today.

“We have a purpose for this convention,” Hinzle said. “Not only fun, but we believe in helping all the women in the city where we hold our conventions.”

The organization started when two Lindas played basketball with one another.

“They ran into one another in a mall in Davenport (Iowa),” Barron said. “They sat down, had a Coke and realized there are so many Lindas out there, so they decided they needed to start their own Linda convention.”

Even though the club is called “Linda,” if your name is Lynda, you are still welcomed to join Buss said.

Since the inception of the first convention, the group has gained members ranging from 13 years old to 93 years old, plus, members live throughout the nation including states such as Kentucky, Illinois and Oklahoma.

The organization also has international members from Canada and Australia — the Australian Linda/Lynda unfortunately could not make it this year because of the travel.

“It’s always a blast to attend these conventions,” Barron said. “Definitely one of the top things I look forward to each year.”

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