The Ozarks were lucky enough to get some good neighbors thanks to some "highs" in Wisconsin.
According to Bob Floriano, "Things in Wisconsin were too high: high taxes, high snowbanks and a high mosquito count. And that's why we moved to Missouri."
After they retired, Bob and Cheryl Floriano came to Missouri in 1998, living first at Ava. But their daughter lived in Texas and wanted them closer. Bob and Cheryl didn't want to leave the Ozarks, but they did agree to move to far Southwest Missouri, just to be closer. They wound up in McDonald County.
Cheryl had been an emergency room nurse and Bob taught 5th grade for 33 years.
"I never had a sick day in 33 years of teaching,” Bob said. “I loved my kids and believe fifth grade is the ideal class to teach.”
They have never regretted the move to Missouri.
"We've never looked back," Cheryl said.
Although the Florianos are retired, they find themselves very busy.
"We come to Neosho twice a week to work out at the Y," Bob said.
They also like to attend contra dances which are held in the area. Dancing also keeps them fit. They garden and Cheryl likes to cook and read and Bob likes to hunt. They are involved with the Back to Basics group in McDonald County and also belong to a small philosophy group that meets two times a month.
When they decided to leave Wisconsin, they sold everything they owned, bought a pickup truck and camper, and started looking for a new home.
"We left the mosquitoes and snow in Wisconsin and traded them for ticks and chiggers," Cheryl laughed.
They still get to Wisconsin as their son still lives there.
Their current home is in a remote part of McDonald County, but they love it. Bob has a mule, a horse, two rabbits and four chickens to take care of. Cheryl takes care of the flowers. They also like to trout fish at Roaring River State Park.
When he was a young man in college, Bob was a hitchhiker. Every time the school gave him a break, he set out on the road. Using a map of the United States that hung in his dorm room, he set his course. He would choose a direction and start walking. He never rented a room, almost always finding a sleeping place in a local jail or in a church. And often, someone was there to buy him a hamburger or take him home for supper and a bed.
"I never spent more than $5 on a trip, and I saw most of the United States," Bob said.
He and Cheryl still like to travel and are hoping to make a second trip to Europe soon. Bob's grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy, so Bob has his eye set on visiting his European roots.
Page 2 of 2 - The Florianos are a happy retired couple who have become good neighbors to everyone in Southwest Missouri.