May 30, 2013

On Learning

Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

Nancy (Briskay Cornell) Lipsius graduated from college in her early 70s and dreamed of attending seminary.

CUTOUT 12I thought I would not have enough topics to write about but last evening’s class provided me with just the one more that I needed.

I was asked how my schooling was different from the schooling of today and I’m afraid, being very nervous when speaking in a group, that I really did not touch on the real differences.

Although certain subjects were taught differently than present times, it was the times and the attitudes that were different prior to World War II.

I can only touch on this subject from my own experience in my own family and school system and my particular group of friends. And when it came time for high school it was my parents who selected my direction. Not too many girls at that period of time expected to go on to college but my parents expected me to progress from high school to the University of New Hampshire to become a Latin teacher. I was not consulted as to what I would like to do, just as my parents made all my choices up to that point.

That started my first rebellion. I did not want to become a teacher. So then the only other choice I had was to become a secretary and it was off to business school to gain the skills which I have been using regularly since that time.

My parents also made other choices for me. My friends were selected on the basis of not being (more…)

May 11, 2013

Mother’s Day 2013 Reflections

Filed under: ADOPTION,HOLIDAYS,NANCY Briskay Cornell Lipsius — carolyncholland @ 11:30 am



is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.



Yesterday, my daughter Sandy, who lives just around the corner from my husband Monte and I, stopped by.

“You’ll have to get to bed early tonight,” she said.

“Oh,” I said.

“Yes, we have an 8:00 morning reservation for breakfast. It’s the only time I could get.”

As the day passed I thought about mothers and Mother’s Day.

With sadness I recalled my activities the first week of May. We were in the Buffalo, New York, area trying to be supportive of our surrogate daughter, Kathleen, who had just lost her 19-year-old niece. While Laken was driving home her car was T-boned by a tri-axle truck. The accident appeared to be no fault of Laken’s—the roadways and an allegedly speeding truck were the cause of the loss of what was to be—no, was—a positive person who had much to contribute to society. Laken’s last act was to donate her organs so others might benefit. That was the type person she was.

Today, so soon after the accident, must be unbearable to Laken’s mother. I cannot imagine how she will make it through the day, even with the tremendous support system she has, which includes her husband and son.

And I think of my sister who lost her son and many years later feels pain, especially on Mother’s Day.

I think back to my 1969 and 1970s Mother’s Days, days which were personally so painful that I stayed home from church, unable to rejoice in motherhood due to infertility problems.

In 1970 I worked doing adoption home studies in a neighboring county. During April I assisted in delivering a 5 pound baby girl to a couple. My supervisor and I went to the hospital to pick the baby up, and I left the maternity ward in a wheel chair with the infant in my arms.

“Congratulations. What a beautiful baby,” someone said to me as I was wheeled to the hospital exit.

“She’s not mine,” I snapped, at which my supervisor admonished me.

We drove to the adoptive family’s home, me with infant on my lap (it was prior to seat belt times). When we arrived at the baby’s new home my supervisor and I were invited into the house, where the new mother was anxiously awaiting. Instead of handing the baby over gently I almost threw her into the arms of the mother. However, I don’t think anyone noticed that action.

Little did I know then that, a month later, seven days after that year’s May 10th Mother’s Day, a 4 pound 11 ounce baby girl would be born. This baby was to be ours, to be our daughter Sandy.

Sandy and Carolyn, June 1970

Sandy and Carolyn, June 1970

Sandy’s arrival made my May 9, 1971, Mother’s Day joyful. Shortly after that Mother’s Day, we discovered that the stomach flu I had was morning sickness. Our son, Nolan, was born January 18, 1972.

Nolan and Carolyn, January 1972

Nolan and Carolyn, January 1972

Our family was complete. Years later surrogate children would come into the fold, but Mother’s Days became a celebration from 1971 on.

There were other special Mother’s Days. I had a friend in one community we lived in who was experiencing infertility issues. She created a Mother’s Day escape for herself and other infertile women and couples by designing a (more…)

May 13, 2012

In Our Mother’s Womb



Cynthia Lipsius

Contributed to by Nancy Lee & Carolyn


Nancy Lee was first; she kept very busy

vacuuming, fluffing, dusting away lint.

When she made her appearance,

she left behind a pink mint.


Carolyn was alert and curious,

this family was such a mystery!

By the time she was born

She’d recorded (more…)

April 8, 2012

The Stained Glass Window



Nancy Lipsius

 July 1983



Wooly and white, pure, innocent,


Press ever closer, comforted

By (more…)

March 1, 2012




Nancy Lipsius

Her blue-gray eyes looked directly into mine when she speaks or listens.

She is calm and quiet and strong.

She weeps at the death of a bird and has the strength of a thousand men when (more…)

February 12, 2012

My Mother’s Special 90th Birthday Gift



Nancy Briskay


     Happy 90th birthday!

     Were you still here with us I would wish you a happy birthday in person.

     I (along with some of my siblings) would also present you with a gift, a very special gift, yet one which I’m not certain how you’d receive. Your gift was sixty-three years in the making.

     The gift: all (more…)

February 11, 2012

The Dove



Nancy Lipsius


February 12th would be the ninetieth birthday of my mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius, who passed on on January 3, 1998 at the age of just under seventy-six years of age. She wrote the poem twenty-nine years ago.



 Wrapped in the cocoon of tranquility,


 Where God breathes, where the turning of pages

 Is as the sound of angels’ wings.


 Where souls gather to (more…)

June 12, 2011

Social Welfare


Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     I don’t know why my feelings are so negative concerning social welfare. Is it the Lithuanian in my background or the traditional New England influences with which I grew up? Either way, welfare as a way of life is extremely distasteful to me.

     I can’t deny there were some financially difficult times during my lifetime. I experienced the depression during my childhood. My memories are of families moving in together and some homes seemed to be bursting at the seams with people. Old and young, healthy and infirm—those who had jobs and the jobless shared quarters. My childish eyes did not detect (more…)

March 10, 2011

I am Frustrated with Writing!!



Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     I’m convinced that writing is a way of working things out, achieving growth and communication in ways that cannot be accomplished otherwise. I believe that ultimately, more knowledge is humbling, in that the more we know the more we recognize how little we know. Carolyn 

     The following writing was created by my late mother. She graduated from the University of Maine/Presque Isle in 1992, at the age of 70, with a B. A. degree in behavioral science/psychology degree. She spent one semester at Bangor Theological Seminary trying to earn her Master’s, but decided she was getting too old to spend all her time in school and left the Seminary to do volunteer work.


     Why can’t I write anything that comes out of ME?

      I feel as though I don’t have any knowledge about ANYTHING. At least not enough to write more than a page or two. And even that seems (more…)

January 3, 2011

The fickleness of life and weather



     This morning dawned very differently than the morning of January 3, 1998. The Maine, weather was brutal. Fortunately, Bangor Hospital had hotel-like hospitality units with interior access to the hospital proper.

     I remember the early morning phone call that came as I was preparing to go to breakfast. The hospital staff person told me gently that my mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius, had just passed on. I tried to call my sister Cynthia’s room, but somehow couldn’t make the connection. I assumed she and my other sister, Jane, would also be called, as would my stepfather Hugh.

     I tried to call Cynthia, but couldn’t make the connection. I took the elevator to the lobby, where Hugh was waiting. I thought he knew. He didn’t. I had to break the news to him.

     “Damn,” he said, hitting the arm of his wheelchair.

     At 7:00 a.m. the nurse led code blue. The medical team worked with my mother for a half hour. They knew, from the EKG, that she had experienced (more…)

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