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A few years ago Fifi Froelich reached the point where she couldn’t see herself living the rest of her life in Dayton, Ohio. Not that there’s anything wrong with Dayton. She’d lived there for 66 years and worked as an educational psychologist in an urban school system. All her life she’d done everything she was supposed to do. She was glad she’d been there when everyone needed her, but after she retired, Fifi needed more. She wondered, “Is that all there is?”

“I told my husband if I sit anymore on the couch, I’ll die of a stroke.”

“My mother’d just died and my husband’s always busy,” said Fifi. “I was feeling frustrated. I had this beautiful home in Dayton. I wasn’t ready to be a docent. When friends began to retire to California, Florida and Charleston, I was at loose ends. I would get up and drive to Yellow Springs with my dog and walk for two hours. Then I’d come home and say, “Now what?

“My husband’s still working, and we have an active social life, but I needed a more culturally active life. There’s only so many times you can go to the one, beautiful art museum in Dayton. I couldn’t do this in retirement.”

A lot of women don’t listen to their little voice for fear of what they’ll hear, but Fifi Froelich listened and took action. “I told my husband if I were in New York City, 10 days a month to help out with the grandchildren, that’s at least $3,000 a month in expenses. I could have an apartment for that. He didn’t say no.”

With an understanding husband and a son and daughter-in-law and new grandchild in nearby Brooklyn,

Fifi took the plunge and rented an apartment on the Upper East Side of New York City.

“It will soon be three years I’ve lived here. I don’t think I’m a particularly brave person. I’m not daring. I don’t take risks. You do have to have a certain amount of courage to travel the streets everyday and be in New York, but moving here was easier than retiring. I was surprised at how long it took me to stop thinking about work and then to be comfortable with not working.

“I belong to 11 or 12 museums and if you follow me on Instagram, I’m someplace almost every night. If you live here, and you’re not taking advantage of what’s in the city, then it’s ‘shame on me.’ Put on a blouse with a popup collar, have a simple classic bob, and you always look great. I find it easy to make friends in New York, and I’ve made wonderful friends here.

Like with you, Brenda. We sat next to one another at an event at the 92St Y a couple of years ago, and as we left, I asked if you’d like to go have a glass of wine with me?”

Fifi’s move to New York City was the beginning of a new life for her and her husband. When she really misses him, or her son in Indianapolis, she goes to Dayton or her husband and sometimes her son comes to New York. Her husband moved his office to downtown Dayton, and after 31 years, the tenant in their downtown rental apartment moved out. Since their apartment is paid for, they decided to sell their beautiful home with the high maintenance boxwoods. Downtown Dayton is undergoing a renaissance, so they’re gutting and updating the apartment and planning to live there. “It’s going to be gorgeous,” said Fifi.

“For now this is working for us. I’ve worked hard my entire life, and I know how very fortunate I am.”

Love, Brenda


  • Arabella deWilliams July 15, 2017 at 12:07 am

    What is Fifi’s Instagram? Would adore to follow

  • Joyce Sullivan July 15, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Totally love this! Fifi, I want to meet you! Brenda, please give Fifi my contact info. Instagram @joycemsullivan

  • Vida May Val July 15, 2017 at 9:14 am

    You are dynamite. Too much for a city like dayton. Makes sense that you are in the big apple.

  • Mamavalveeta03 July 15, 2017 at 9:14 am

    What a fascinating and creative woman! Go Fifi!!!

  • Penny Wolff July 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Fifi rocks!

  • Anne Harvey July 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I love people who actually do things. I’m not ready, yet, to give up my house I move out of the country, but I feel it coming.

  • Robin Gentry McGee July 15, 2017 at 9:44 am

    How fun to read this Fifi! I am so happy that you are living the life that called out to you and that you and your wonderful husband has made it work. Life is so short, too short to ever say ‘what if’ at the end…Bravo beautiful woman, bravo!

  • Laura Woeste July 15, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Good for you, Fifi!

    • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks! Fascinating city!!!

      • Robert D. Bluman December 28, 2017 at 11:18 pm

        Your Mom and Dad would be so proud of you!

  • Karen Wick-Gagnet July 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

    So cool-

    • Fifi Froelich July 16, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Found it! Still chuckle you saw JJ and I on 5th Avenue!

  • Julie Shone-Baker July 15, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Fascinating you❣️

    • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you! Hugs for all the changes for you as well…

    • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you! Hugs for all the changes for you as well…

  • leslie July 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm


  • Ann July 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    So nice to read this. You are living your dream and making it work. I’m sure so many of us have the dream and are too scared to make the move for fear of the unknown. Good for you. Hopefully, I’ll see you sometime in NYC.

  • Becky Curtis Tate July 15, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    My inspiration!

    • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      And ditto! Love REBE. Your kids are amazing!
      Were you coming up here?

    • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      And ditto! Love REBE. Your kids are amazing!
      Were you coming up here?

  • Andi Scher Rabiner July 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Very Inspiring…..

  • Tanya Jernigan Mareno July 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    What a great story; you are such a beautiful inspiration!

    • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Having a blast! Make a girls’ trip up here with Brittany!

  • Peggy Steinberg July 15, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    What a wonderful article Fifi. And I do think you are brave! I love following your adventures!

  • Peggy M Marler July 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Want to visit again SOON!

  • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    It was a while coming and a lot of hard work…as you know!

  • Fifi Froelich July 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Still chuckle that you saw me walking JJ in midtown!

  • Patricia Hoyle July 15, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    So many years and so much life since our days together in Jefferson. Congratulations on living your best life and being your true self.

  • Fifi Froelich July 16, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Thank you! Your abode awaits!

  • Fifi Froelich July 16, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Thank you! Your abode awaits!

  • Teresa Russell Morel July 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Awesome article on a lovely lady!! Fifi you need to come to Baton Rooooouge! I’ll bring you to Museums!!

    • Teresa Russell Morel July 16, 2017 at 9:16 am

      New Orleans has the #4 most visited museum in the Nation and then 10th most popular in the World! World war 2 museum

    • Teresa Russell Morel July 16, 2017 at 9:18 am

      I failed to say it’s #1 most popular in Louisiana

    • Fifi Froelich July 16, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Think we were at the WW2 museum. I can picture the location and bldg. Whats the other one? New Orleans is in a class by itself. The antiques in the shoppes are amazing!

  • Linda Weidle Williams July 16, 2017 at 10:24 am

    So glad you are following your dreams and making it work.

    • Fifi Froelich July 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks. It certainly can be work making it work! Fun, challenging, and stimulating!

  • Suzanne Fluhr July 16, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    I so need to get over my irrational fear and loathing of New York City. My parents are both native New Yorkers (Brooklyn and the Bronx), but I grew up and still live in Philadelphia. When I go to New York City I feel like I come from Appalachia. Admittedly, for me, NYC has been frenetic Manahattan, land of high rise canyons. Last weekend, I had the chance to visit the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn for a mini college reunion. Totally different vibe and Manhattan looked pristine across the harbor.

    I need to get out more. My husband who still has a day job seems happy enough with me, but I think I’m boring the dog.

  • Esther Zimmer July 17, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I LOVE this! It’s always so inspiring to read about women following their dreams and making their own rules about how to live, but even more so when it’s someone who’s got more life experience than myself. Thank you, what a wonderful story! Esther xx

  • Tamara @ Empowered Single Moms July 18, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for the inspiration that we can live life on our terms at any age. This is a new idea for me, but one that I will be mulling over.

  • Valerie Hoff DeCarlo July 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    This is awesome, thanks Brenda and Fifi!

  • Donna Tagliaferri July 18, 2017 at 11:19 am

    loved this!

  • Judy Freedman July 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I’d love to move back to NYC during my life after 50. For now, I enjoy visiting both my kids who live there.

  • Fifi Froelich July 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks! Let me know if you’re ever thisaway!

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