Virginia Alma Harrison Leipper


Random thoughts from Diane Leipper, oldest daughter of Virginia and Dale Leipper

Mom had an adventurous streak. She told me once when she was a young woman, probably early twenties, she and her sister Dorothy and some of their friends were out on a drive. They had a flat tire. They had no tire iron. It was Mom that sneaked into somebodies garage and “borrowed” their tire iron and got them on the road again.

She told me that she met Dale Leipper at a church social. She knew right away he was the man she would marry. Dale took her home from that social somewhat to the dismay of some of her friends who thought she was not being as careful as maybe she should.

Mom made many of our clothes from the time we were very little until we were almost out of high school. She also made dance costumes for Janet and me. This was often a real challenge as the Guerrard's were professionals with long careers as ballet dancers in a well known company. They would draw the design for each costume, specify the materials and details then expect each girls costume to meet their standards and look exactly the same. It seemed that when I was going through the most growth and change in body shape is when the costumes were the most complicated. One in particular gave Mom nightmares. It was a gold material that had metallic threads in it. It would shred very easily. We had more performances with that costume more than any other Mom ever made. It seemed that each time I had to wear it I had changed shape and Mother had to adjust the costume and each time she had to be careful that it didn't fray. Also there was no extra material use if needed.

Mom was a creative cook and a good one. In Dad's position as head of a university department, he often had visitors from the scientific and academic communities from across the U.S. and many different countries. Usually he would invite them out to our house for dinner. Sometimes at the last minute. Mom was always up for the challenge and when I was old enough, I helped out. She would check out the refrigerator, the freezer, and the pantry then come up with a plan. I don't remember her every making a special trip to the grocery for dinner ingredients. Mom would always come up with an excellent home cooked meal. This was much appreciated by many of our guests as they had often gotten tired of restaurants and meals out. They enjoyed eating at home family style. Us kids were almost always included in these impromptu dinners. We got to meet some interesting people and gained insight into different cultures. I have fond memories of the many Japanese visitors and others we had over the years.