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Notes from out here

Woman devotes retirement to aging out of place

By Fran Gonzalez | Nov 29, 2019
Courtesy of: Betsy Marsano Sunset at Rutherford Beach, Louisiana, Nov. 23. Betsy Marsano is retiring on the road, submitting updates along the way. She writes, "I think I'll stay for a while," in her post about this site.

Belfast — Like an astronaut on a deep space mission, Betsy Marsano writes in an email to The Journal, "I am further from home than I have ever ventured on my own. I am still getting my head around traveling for its own sake. It's an odd sense of disconnection, but there are people doing what I'm doing everywhere."

Last September, 70-year old Marsano left Belfast to retire on the open road. She sold everything she owned and reconfigured her 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan so she could sleep in the back.

After the first or second 35-degree night, Marsano said, she began to question her retirement choice. Luckily, a couple in a neighboring camper gave her a ceramic heater.

"I bought a 50-foot extension cord and voila, I am toasty," she said. "Oh, I also bought a sleeping bag."

She traveled to Alabama to visit family and spent "way too much time" there. She said she did not really get on the road until November.

"True to my goal, I went to Natchez (Mississippi) and spent a week there," Marsano said. "Crossing the Mississippi several times, I knew nothing more of Natchez than what I'd read in Gregg Iles' books.

"It was very interesting," she noted. "The history is posted all over the city to commemorate all the successes of the black community and the rich, white merchants, but the focus is on the blacks."

"At the visitor center, there are huge panels depicting the history of slavery as the economic driver, and then the role of free blacks after the Civil War."

She became particularly interested in the Natchez Indians.

"The last two or three panels are about the Natchez," she said. "They end with the simple statement that they were removed. The French were determined to hold the land the Natchez were on. To this end, they systematically encroached on it."

Marsano said the Natchez organized a rebellion with the Chicasaw and Choctaw tribes. "An act of treason by a tribal member caused the Natchez to attack two days early," she said. "The other tribes felt betrayed, formed alliances with the French and participated in two massacres of the Natchez. The hundred or so left or joined other tribes."

She visited a re-creation of the Great Village and then went to the Emerald Mound, a main political and religious ceremonial center in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. She said Natchez is a "great little city with an RV/boondocking site right at the visitor center."

In search of warmer weather, Marsano left Natchez Nov. 8 and said she chose her next stop to be Lake Charles, Louisiana.

"It's been delightful, not as much history so less to do, but I plan on checking out the senior center today," she said. "If days are windy, rainy, or cold, you will find me in local libraries. Yesterday, I was at McNeese State University and today maybe the central library, recommended by one of my hosts at the visitor center."

Marsano's "Aging Out of Place" Facebook page chronicles her adventures with postings and pictures. She said, "It's not enough to really capture the whole experience," but it gives the reader an idea.

"Well, my grits are cool enough to eat so I'm signing off," Marsano wrote.

Until next time.

Betsy Marsano poses next to her 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan in the Belfast Co-op parking lot Aug. 29. Marsano is retiring on the road and sending updates from the places she visits. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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Comments (3)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Dec 03, 2019 19:02

Keep this on Facebook where it belongs. Enough already. Too much about very little.

Posted by: Virgil Fowles Jr | Dec 01, 2019 10:49

Love the updates Betsy...stay SAFE....

Posted by: Paul Sheridan | Nov 30, 2019 15:44

Yes, Betsy--your grits are cool!

Keep having fun and good travelling...

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