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Richmond Magazine: Blue highways

From the writers at Richmond Magazine.

I took my son to get his hair cut at the Libbie Place Great Clips last weekend and, upon parking, I spied a Subaru pulling the cutest little camper I think I have ever seen.

So, I call to the lady sitting in the car: “That is the cutest little camper I think I have ever seen!” I notice the back of the car is full of what I take to be her belongings.

“Thank you,” she says, cheerful. “Would you like to see inside?”

“Sure,” I say, pulling along my teenage son, who by now is used to my sudden conversations with strangers.

She gets out of the car, introduces herself as Deborah Tipton, walks to the trailer and unlocks it.

She tells me in short order that her husband died and then the Great Recession hit and things got rough, and she lost her job and couldn’t keep up with the mortgage on her home of eight years in Petersburg. She eventually found a minimum-wage job at Walgreens, but old injuries caught up with her, so she applied for and received disability. She walks as though she is in pain, limping. She’d been renting a room in Port Deposit, Md., she said, and bought the trailer last year with plans to travel the country and see all the things she’s always wanted to see, because she’s 64 and there is no time like the present. Later, I will talk to her daughter, Cally Smith, who lives in Colorado, and who says she wasn’t at all surprised when her mom filled her in on the plan.

To read the full story in Richmond Magazine, click here.

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