USA > Society & Culture
from the March 30, 2004 edition
Unlikely nomads: Senior single women take up life on the road
By Randy Dotinga | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
SLAB CITY, CALIF. – When Charlotte Hagemann, a pumpkin decorator from New Jersey, rumbles into Slab City in her motor home each winter she sets up next to Carl Gross - a sturdy World War II veteran and her high school sweetheart.
For a few months, Ms. Hagemann and Mr. Gross rekindle old ties and even host a St. Valentine's Day party. But as soon as the temperature climbs toward 100, she's gone, leaving her "gentleman friend" to fend for himself.
"I just follow the sun," says Hagemann over sandwiches with friends in her well-appointed motor home whose wheels are covered in canvas skirts. "I don't go nowhere I need winter clothes."
With spouses out of the picture and their children grown, hundreds of senior women are hitting the road for good, leaving retirement communities, shuffleboard tournaments, and the snow far behind.