ForeverMissed

Posted by TIMOTHY LIPSCOMB on March 26, 2021
I have so many fond memories of Mom. I think she... like many of us had traveling in her blood. She loved to go places and she loved to go to the country - to the farm on weekends to visit her Mom, or brother's and sisters. On the drive back and forth on Highway 6 between Richmond and Buckingham County, Mom would often recall favorite memories -refreshed by a familiar landmark; Like her Dad teaching her to swim in Byrd Creek, going to Sunday School at the little church we passed, or walking /riding the horse a mile and a half to the bus stop at the end of the road that led to Mt. Ida where she grew up.  Mom was blessed with a life full of family and fond memories and she passed the same on to us. Love you Mom and Thanks!
Posted by Susan Hutt on March 26, 2021
I just ran across this site today. I know how you feel, Tim, aka, Mole. No matter how long we have with our moms here with us, they are missed and we have a hole in our heart. I don't believe I ever had the honor of meeting your mom. I am going to look at the photos now. Hugs to you. Stay strong . . . and well.
-- Susan :(

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Posted by TIMOTHY LIPSCOMB on March 26, 2021
I have so many fond memories of Mom. I think she... like many of us had traveling in her blood. She loved to go places and she loved to go to the country - to the farm on weekends to visit her Mom, or brother's and sisters. On the drive back and forth on Highway 6 between Richmond and Buckingham County, Mom would often recall favorite memories -refreshed by a familiar landmark; Like her Dad teaching her to swim in Byrd Creek, going to Sunday School at the little church we passed, or walking /riding the horse a mile and a half to the bus stop at the end of the road that led to Mt. Ida where she grew up.  Mom was blessed with a life full of family and fond memories and she passed the same on to us. Love you Mom and Thanks!
Posted by Susan Hutt on March 26, 2021
I just ran across this site today. I know how you feel, Tim, aka, Mole. No matter how long we have with our moms here with us, they are missed and we have a hole in our heart. I don't believe I ever had the honor of meeting your mom. I am going to look at the photos now. Hugs to you. Stay strong . . . and well.
-- Susan :(
her Life

A Remembrance of Grace Lipscomb by John Lipscomb

Grace was born on July 13, 1922 in Nicholas County, West Virginia. Her father was Walter Ray Piercy and her mother was Nannie Craig Piercy. She was the youngest of nine children. Her father was a farmer and fur trapper and her mother ran the house and oversaw the garden and the poultry. Her father was gone occasionally on train trips to Chicago to transport cattle. He often rode on horseback into the wilderness to trap furs and hunt. Grace learned to be responsible at an early age. Raising chickens, ducks and geese was one of her main chores. Seeing the new chicks hatch was her favorite part. She also helped during lambing and calving seasons. She rejoiced in all forms of new life. Whether it was livestock, plants and flowers or children, living things seemed to flourish under her care.

During the Great Depression times were hard on the farm in Nicholas County. Her mother showed Grace how to put together an edible salad with wild greens, such as dandelions, found on the farm. It was during this time that she lost her favorite brother, Ellis, to Rheumatic Fever. She talked about that loss late into her life. In the early 1930's, still getting by on subsistence farming, her Dad helped his brother try to keep his farm by cosigning a bank note. When his brother could no longer make the payments both farms were lost. It was then that the family moved to Virginia. Eventually, they were able to pull together enough money to buy a 430 acre farm on the James River known as Mt. Ida. They paid $5,000 for the farm. The house was old, historic in fact dating to 1786, but was austere by current standards: wood stove heat, 14 rooms, minimal electric, wood burning cook stove, one sometimes bathroom, but one reliable outhouse that never developed plumbing problems. Drinking water came from a spring on the low grounds, a ten minute walk down a steep hill. It was here that the family built a successful farm with sheep, milking and beef cattle, chickens, ducks, and pigs. The farm had an apple orchard, plum trees and an abundance of blackberries.

Grace attended Buckingham County Schools. She rode a horse two miles on a dirt road to get to the bus stop. The horse would return home once she boarded the bus. Two of her high school friends gave her a rifle to take with her to the bus stop as they were concerned for her safety. She would hide it in the woods near the bus stop. Grace wasn’t scared but she didn’t want to hurt their feelings. Grace was a good student and a very good athlete. She was captain of her softball and basketball team in Buckingham Central High. She grew up loving to read and Mt. Ida had an upright piano and a Victrola so music was always a part of her life. Her favorite class was Home Economics. Her dream was to have a large family and to care for them as she had been cared for growing up. She grew up in the Baptist Church and attended Mt. Zion Baptist Church in New Canton.

After graduating from high school she moved to Richmond and eventually got a job in a Navy office in Norfolk at the beginning of World War II. It was during this period that she met the love of her life, William Lipscomb, a young ensign in the Navy and a recent graduate of Richmond Professional Institute, an affiliate of William & Mary College. Bill was an artist, a painter of increasing promise. On June 17, 1942 they were married at Mount Ida.

She and Bill lived in Jacksonville, Marathon Key, and Pleasantville, N.J. for a short time. In August of 1943 she gave birth to Chip. While Bill was in England with the Navy she and Chip lived in Richmond on Barton Avenue. She and Chip were never alone. In addition to Grace’s extensive family of origin, Bill’s family lived in Richmond only a few blocks away. Doris, Bill’s older sister, stopped by every morning to visit with Grace and Chip. Alice as well as Bill’s parents did their best to spoil Chip. Will, Bill’s dad, who drove a milk delivery truck for Richmond Dairy, made sure they always had milk and other dairy products.

After the war ended, Bill returned to Virginia and their second child, John, was born in 1946. Bill was now a Lieutenant in the Navy and was reassigned to Washington, DC. They lived in the Shirley Duke Apartments in Alexandria and Chip and John went to Alexandria City Schools. When Bill began to experience extreme nervousness and loss of muscle control, it soon became apparent that he would have to take a leave of absence from the Navy and enter the VA Hospital at McGuire’s in Richmond. The doctors concluded that Bill had MS. At that time there were no effective treatments for this disorder. So, the family moved to Richmond in 1952 and lived with Bill’s parents for a year on North Avenue. At the time of the move, Grace was pregnant and Tim was born in March of 1953. Chip and John, then 9 and 6, could walk everywhere they needed to: JEB Stuart Elementary School, the Rexall Drug Store (great cherry coke), The Brooklyn Theater (10 cent movies and 6 cent candy) and the Barton Heights Methodist Church, where John and Chip were in the children’s choir. Grace realized that she would have to work to help support the family. She went to Business College and after training for basic office work she got a job in the offices of the A&P Food Stores on Broad Street. Her children loved to visit her there as the office was located between the Sauers Vanilla factory and the FFV Cookie factory. The smells were worth the trip. However, our young family sandwiched into a small house with grandparents became difficult. So, with a $500 loan from her Dad, Grace and Bill found a small tract house in the West End. Although Grace didn’t qualify for the $4,500 loan, the developer sensing the need, her integrity, and her desire for a better life for her family, made the deal work. There were no schools nearby yet, but Grace had a strong faith and although the house was then on the outer fringe of Richmond, soon there was a high school (Douglas Freeman), and Middle School (Tuckahoe) built within walking distance. Her children could walk to sports fields, church (Ridge Baptist) and the subdivision was soon full of kids and young families. She and her children were always surrounded by family and friends. Her small two bedroom house was the center of many gatherings for over 50 years. If her family couldn’t come there, she made sure the kids went to them: Mount Ida, Aunt Edo’s house in Fairfax, the lake, and Aunt Rea’s farm were often visited during school breaks and summer vacations.
With Grace working and the children in school or daycare she quickly fell into a routine, one that offered security and comfort to her family. She managed her home, her office job, her children, a critically ill husband, all with the smooth precision of the athlete she was. Her home was clean, tastefully decorated and always welcoming. Things got broken, dented and spilled in that house, and she never got upset. People always won out over things. Her mornings started about 5am. Children awoke to the smell of fresh perked coffee and bacon cooking. She always sent the kids to school in clean pressed clothes after a hot breakfast. There was no clothes dryer so Grace would have to hang wet clothes on the line before work every day. In the winter they would freeze before she finished hanging them. Although the children often wore hand-me-downs their clothes were clean and all holes were mended. After dishes were washed, dried and put away she would get dressed and leave for work at 7:45am, dropping Tim off at daycare on the way. Grace got home from work about 4:30pm. She would prepare a well balanced dinner (all the essential food groups) as well as a homemade dessert. In her small kitchen she would spend hours daily preparing hot nutritious food for her children and cookies, cakes, fudge and pies to share with family, neighbors, church and friends. She didn’t throw food away. Leftovers would magically appear the next night as an unrecognizable but delicious surprise. The boy’s helped wash and dry dishes, and took the trash out. After dinner, while the children did their homework, Grace would do laundry, iron clothes, and
prepare lunches for school the next day. The ironing board and iron generally stayed set up in the den. It made a nice fort for smaller kids with a sheet hanging over each side. She was often up until midnight preparing for the next day. What to many probably looked like drudgery, she loved. She was thankful for her life and it showed in her face and how she lived. Blessings were always spoken at all meals and prayers were always offered at bedtime. She never quoted scripture; but she lived the Bible by example. She made sure the family attended church and Sunday School every Sunday except for occasional large family fun days at Trice’s Lake with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. She and her five sisters would make fried chicken, potato salad, brownies, deviled eggs and various other delights. All the children had to do was have fun.

Despite her busy life she still found time to be a Scout Den Mother, attend games and school activities involving her children, and baked to support fund drives. She wasn’t afraid to look foolish if it encouraged and supported her kids. She chaperoned dances, always by herself, and she played catch with children learning to play ball. She even won the roller pin throwing championship at a parent / child school field day. She loved a snow day and would sled, help make a snowman and still find time to make hot chocolate.

She never forgot about Bill at the V.A. and made sure the children didn’t either. On Sunday, after church the family would travel across Richmond to the McGuire’s Hospital or to his parent’s house to visit with Bill. The visits generally lasted a couple of hours and included stories for Bill about what each child had done that week. He listened carefully to each account and through the years he would send books to the kids to encourage and educate them in their interests. Since school and Grace’s work precluded regular mid-week visits, Grace and Bill came up with a plan so that he could visit with them anytime he got lonely. Since there were no cell phones his only way to communicate was by pay phone. The payphone cost 10 cents, which became expensive on their meager budget, so Bill would call the phone on Maywood and the children were instructed to let it ring twice. If it then stopped ringing, it was Dad, and they called him back for free. Calls were a daily occurrence. Fifty-three years after his Dad’s death John still remembers the phone number.

She knew that everything she had was just on loan from God. She tithed to church throughout her life even when she worried about how to find money for the house payment, and the money always came. She never missed a payment in 30 years. Even though she had little in terms of money to give
her children, she made sure they got the important things. Good manners weren’t an option in their home. Manners, she taught, were to prepare her boys for lives beyond her house, so they would comfortably fit in regardless of where or with whom they dined. Silver was polished and used at every special meal and on Sunday. Every gift, she taught, was to be acknowledged with a handwritten note. Through weekly or sometimes biweekly trips to visit her husband, she taught her children about loyalty and compassion. When people suffered loss she got close and brought food or did whatever it took to help. Anytime she prepared a big meal she sent plates to neighbors. Other children in the neighborhood were constantly being treated to cookies or other goodies.

Although family vacations were rare her children were taught at an early age to read and to explore through books. Homework had to be done before they could play. All her boys’ had chores, most were done as part of family responsibility and occasionally they would get an allowance for special jobs. Non-essentials had to be earned not freely given. Gifts were for Christmas and birthdays. Money management was a course taught continually in her home. Every Friday night when she got her paycheck the entire family would go grocery shopping at the A&P. She had to be a careful shopper and knew how to economize and avoid processed foods. She kept cars until they literally fell apart. Once she took us with her to buy a new car. When she had made a decision to buy the most basic of sedans, it was obvious even to small children that the price she could afford to pay didn’t come up to the dealers lowest price. In the sales managers office three men in suits proceeded to pressure her into the sale. “Look little lady, you can go anywhere in Town and you will never get a deal this good”. In a kind but firm voice Grace said “I already have” and with her three sons in tow walked out. Mom was always kind and polite but was not a pushover. She seemed to know what was right in every situation and she always did it.

The home at 1310 Maywood Road was a sanctuary. It was a safe place for all that entered it. It was a refuge for any and all children, dying brothers, sisters, Grace’s mother, and for children occasionally rescued from a troubled home. She understood death and dying and accepted it with sad resignation. But, she wept openly for children who were ignored or mistreated, and she always intervened to save them. Everything within those walls made sense. Punishments seemed fair and loving even to the offender. There were never any unkind outbursts or criticisms. Nieces and nephews spent weeks in this home, the boys friends were always there. After the death of her father and the sale of Mount Ida in 1959, her mother, Nancy, began spending every winter there. As the boys got older and began to date, promising companions would be invited over to meet Mom. She generated such kindness and love that a trip to our home generally “sealed the relationships”. Girls that could barely tolerate her boys loved their mom.

The boys, one by one, all graduated from high school and with her help all received undergraduate and graduate degrees and all served their country as officers in the Navy.

After the boys had left and started their own families she began to travel some. She traveled to Hawaii and England to visit Tim, took numerous beach trips with John’s family and took excursions with Frances and Brenda, Dad’s sister Doris and dear friend, Francis Fooge. She also gardened extensively in her yard. A yard that for years was more bare spots than green was transformed from ball field to flower garden. Azaleas, iris, peonies, pansies and anything she planted flourished. But, the priority in her life was still service. John and Tim were constantly coming to Maywood for weekend trips and longer visits when work permitted. Chip’s family had a standing invitation for Tuesday night dinner. The priority in her life remained service. As her older brothers and sisters and her mother became infirm she brought some to Maywood while she cared for them and the others she regularly visited.

At the age of 86, Grace decided to sell her house of over 50 years and move to an apartment at Lakewood Manor. Numerous invitations from family members to move in with them she rejected, not wanting to be a burden. She adjusted well to Lakewood and made numerous friends. Even with limited window light she found room to grow plants and flowers, even using the “trash room” on the third floor (great light) to express this love.

As she gradually began to decline she graciously made adjustments to her life. When she could no longer drive she gave away her car and rode the Lakewood bus. When she could no longer travel she visited ill friends at Lakewood as they moved into healthcare. She was a constant source of strength and wisdom for her whole family. Even in the last year when she was condemned to solitary confinement due to the Coronavirus she still taught life lessons. She never complained although she certainly was in pain. She always focused on her “loving, rich and blessed” life. When asked by family members how to do something that seemed insurmountable she would always say “you just have to do it”.

Grace would have been embarrassed by the above summary of her life. She hated a “fuss”. But she raised her children to be independent thinkers, so there you have it. Anyone who didn’t know her will probably find this overly sentimental and exaggerated but for those who knew her, I think they will understand.

Grace will be greatly missed, but she lives on in all those whose lives she touched.
Recent stories

Visiting Oregon to meet the 1st great-grandchild

Shared by keri taff on March 9, 2021
I have many incredible stories about my grandmother, Grace Lipscomb.  Most of the stories are predicated upon the fact that she was an unassuming authority on just about everything related to navigating family life.  If it had to do with raising kids, meting discipline, living within a budget, or coexisting with (ahem) challenging personalities, she knew the answer.   This answer often came in a set format:  there was the intent look as she listened, absorbing your problem.  Then the grain of wisdom she would gift you, followed by a story from her life that reminded you that she had not only seen your challenge before, but had likely overcome it amid far more adverse circumstances. 

It was with great excitement that we were expecting her visit to Oregon in the winter of 2002 after the birth of our daughter Journey.  Grace’s first great-grandchild!  This would be her biggest trip in a while, flying multiple flights cross-country accompanying my dad and brother Andy.  

We were excited to honor all of our visitors, but the familiar lurking fear that all first-time parents experience when exposing their parenting style to grandparents and great-grandparents was starting to crowd the room.  After all, we were playing host to parenting royalty!  

Fortunately, our guests were very gentle with us, giving us space to do things our way and giving us the help and advice that we so desperately needed in that early stage of parenthood.  Seeing my father and brother hold Journey for the first time was as special as I’d imagined it would be, but seeing my grandmother’s reaction to holding her first great-grandchild was something exceptionally powerful.  Watching that first touch was like seeing a literal bridge built between generations of our family.  They connected instantly, a connection they would always share.  

If you don’t travel much, taking a short trip from the east coast to the west coast can be a difficult on a person’s constitution, particularly sleep patterns.  Although we were sensing a bit of this in all of our visitors, we were touched when grandma offered to watch Journey for the evening so the rest of us could  go out and enjoy a dinner and some much-needed “grown-up” conversation.  We eagerly took her up on this; after all, Journey was a pretty easy baby and we were leaving her with a first-ballot parenting hall-of-famer.  We got them set up, went on our way, and had a delightful evening out.  Upon our return, it became obvious, despite my grandmother’s insistence that “it was not that bad”, that Journey had not made life easy in our absence.  Our wonderful evening out had been paralleled by a trying evening at home, with an unconsolable crying child and a jet lagged (but exceptionally skilled) great-grandparent.  Both Journey and my grandmother looked relieved to see us when we got home, and in that short window of time where custody of our daughter was handed back to us, I realized that I had learned a few fundamental parenting lessons from one of the greats.  First, that it is not easy for anyone to raise a child (some of us just make it look easy). Second, that dogged optimism can keep the ship sailing, even when it seems like it’s sinking.  Lastly, that family is always there for you.  

I talked with my grandmother fairly often in the last 15 years, and not a conversation passed without her asking when we were moving back to Virginia.  For years I thought these requests were a bid to reel me back to a time when I was in a position to be more easily supervised by family, but over time I realized that it came from a deeper place of love, and her want to give to my family gifts of knowledge, experience, and shared time together.  These are gifts that I have received and taken to heart, and although we still live further away from our family than we’d like to be, these goals guide us in our lives and interactions and make us better people.