DEAR ABBY: We worked hard all our lives and raised a large family. Once our children were educated, they took jobs far away and married. We seldom get to see our grandchildren.
When it came time for retirement, we bought books on the best retirement locations, checked out tax bases and compared real estate prices. We moved to the Sunbelt. Wonderful! No more cold, snowy winters or hot, humid summers!
We moved into a small community, which is what we wanted -- very little crime, no heavy traffic, small-town values. People have lived here for generations and have deep roots. The trouble is, they have their extended families, their lifelong friends, their routines. They aren't about to open up their circles and take someone new into the community.
I know what you are going to say: "Join a church and get involved in community work." We have. We attend church every Sunday and do all those other things you might suggest. People are very cordial and pleasant. However, there is a big difference between being cordial and establishing a friendship.
We are well-educated, outgoing people who have never before lacked for friends. Here, we find ourselves definitely outsiders. It is very lonely, and I shudder at the thought of growing older and more isolated. Forget about moving. We have put too much sweat and money into organizing our home just the way we want it. We're stuck.
I guess what I want to tell people is: Don't be too quick to uproot yourselves and move somewhere new. When you are older, there are a lot worse things to contend with than bad weather. -- LONELY IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR LONELY: As the population ages, your experience is becoming increasingly common. It is also true that some communities are more hospitable than others. Perhaps some of my "transplanted" retired readers will share how they met the challenge of starting over in a new location.