By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
Quite a while ago “” 16 years to be exact, in March of 1996 “” Jean and I were returning home from the FMCA international convention in Perry, Georgia. We had been discussing what we would do about retiring and where we would live. In preparation, we had purchased a small farm in central Pennsylvania and had started to sketch plans for a cabin to be built there when we sold our home in Connecticut.
As often happens, plans changed. Jean suggested that we try full-timing in the motorhome before we committed to building on our property. Upon arrival back in Connecticut, we contacted a real estate agent and sought advice as to how best to market our current house. Carol French, F129655, advised us to paint all of the rooms white and to take down all of our personal memorabilia. We did. We put the house on the market on a Wednesday and had a contract the following Saturday! (It just worked out that way, I guess.)
I had stopped working by the time we closed on the house, and Jean took early retirement. We put most, if not all, of our remaining belongings into temperature-controlled storage and “hit the road,” so to speak.
We contacted our banks and insurance companies and made arrangements to have everything we could paid via automatic payments/withdrawals from our account. We signed up with FMCA mail forwarding and moved our address to the Round Bottom Road facility so we would receive our mail via FMCA at the farm location in Pennsylvania. Slowly, things started to come together, and we settled into a lifestyle that we had only given a passing thought. We were now FULL-TIMERS.
We were active volunteers at FMCA international conventions and also with FMCA’s Southeast Area. When on the road, we contacted our mail forwarding folks on a Thursday, and without fail our mail would be where we had asked it be sent by Monday. Rarely did it come later than that, except for once or twice in out-of-the-way post offices around the United States and Canada.
In the meantime, the furniture was comfortable in its temperature-controlled storage.
A year went by; we got into the routine of traveling south to warmer climes when the weather turned colder in Pennsylvania. We headed for Brooksville, Florida, site of the Southeast Area Rally every February, and volunteered. A great deal of maintenance, painting, and upkeep had to be done each year, and we gladly helped where we could. After the February rally, we traveled around Florida and prepared to head north at the first sign of spring.
We were finding out several things. Time has a habit of just sliding by when you are not watching it, and this lifestyle, full-timing, was pretty easy to do. We missed the children and grandchildren, but we had almost daily contact with all of our family and friends. We visited all of the family during the summer months and on into the fall, before heading south for the winter. They also came and visited us in Florida.
A few more years went by, and the furniture was living a pretty good, temperature-controlled life in storage until one day Jean mentioned that the items we had stored were getting older, and if we were to ever build, most would be “out of date” to furnish a new house. So, we offered the items to our children, and what they did not want, we sold.
We were now “really” full-timers.
The theme of this month’s article is, of course, full-timing. We had never seriously thought about this type of lifestyle, but once living it, our pleasant and happy experiences have been multiplied by the fact that we can and do move wherever we want, when we want. We have seen a lot of beautiful country “” ours and Canada’s. We have met many, many new and lasting friends and have enjoyed many more visits with folks from all walks of life.
The catalyst in all of this, of course, has been Family Motor Coach Association, for without our membership in this fine association, I don’t think we would have gone to as many places as we have, and met so many great people. We were volunteers at FMCA functions from the very beginning of our membership. FMCA has given us a much larger family, an all-weather family in all parts of the continent whom we run into every place we go. And belonging to this family costs us 11 cents a day! We bought a whole new family for 11 cents a day “” go figure.
Until next month, safe and healthy travels.