Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Unexpected Curves in the Retirement Road

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Unexpected Curves in the Retirement Road

Article excerpt

Four years ago, when Betty Mische decided to retire to Florida, she assumed the move would be permanent. So permanent, in fact, that she invited her nine children to gather at her home in St. Cloud, Minn., and divide up her furniture. She was ready for a fresh start, a new adventure.

Soon Mrs. Mische, a widow, loaded a small TV set, a few clothes, and family mementos into her Mazda and began the long drive to Florida's West Coast.

She bought a mobile home and furnished it simply. She joined a theater group. She also served as a volunteer and worked at a large cultural center. In the process, she says, she made "a zillion friends." Surrounded by sunshine, palm trees, and water, she enjoyed a pleasant life on a modest income.

But in April, something unexpected happened. "I had a strong feeling my life should change," Mische says. When she mentioned that to one of her daughters, the reply came, "Mother, you should come back to Minnesota. You're missing so many things." Suddenly, the tug of family ties seemed irresistible.

"I thought: This is definitely what I'm supposed to do," Mische says. "I told myself, 'Go for it, Betty.' "

She put her home on the market, and two days later accepted an offer. Soon she was signing papers and calling a moving van. "Within a week, I was on the road," she says.

That was May 12. By June 1 she had found an apartment in St. Paul and moved in. Now, instead of looking out on palm trees and the Peace River, she enjoys views of the St. Paul and Minneapolis skylines from her eighth-floor balcony.

Time was when a retirement move followed a predictable pattern: Sell your house in the North. Say goodbye to friends. Put down new roots in the Sun Belt, and stay, in most cases, forever.

Today that rigid sense of permanence is easing for some people. The new attitude is, "Let's try it. …

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