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'Lipsitz Ladies' knew true essence of friendship

Effie Martin and Aline Moore are pictured at a Christmas party in 2012 at the home of Lynne Dowling on Lady's Island.
Effie Martin and Aline Moore are pictured at a Christmas party in 2012 at the home of Lynne Dowling on Lady's Island. Submitted photo

Thanks to Deonne Parker of Moss Creek for sharing a poem about the "Lipsitz Ladies," known by many at the department store that operated for 107 years on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort.

"I have known Effie Martin and Aline Moore most of my life because I often stayed with my aunt Marguerite Priester, who counted them among her lifelong friends," Deonne writes. "I even had the opportunity to work with them at Lipsitz Department Store on Christmas break during my first year in college, when I wrapped presents during the holidays.

"These women were role models for friendship and work ethic. They were also charming and delightful -- and still are.

"The friendship of Marguerite Priester, Effie Martin and Aline Moore was forged in the Daughters of America, church and at work. These women had many other friends. Lucille Dyches passed away in 2014. She worked as a volunteer receptionist at the Baptist Church of Beaufort well into her 90s.

"Marguerite never had to drive a car, even when she and her husband, Virgil, moved to Burton. A speaker at their 60th wedding anniversary dinner noted that she had so many friends, there was always someone to drive her. Marguerite passed away in 2001, in her 90s.

"These friendships extended to the next generation. Anytime Marguerite's 94-year-old husband took a fall in their Burton home, Effie's son Ralph, who worked for the Beaufort Fire Department, came to the rescue. After Virgil's death, Effie was the first to arrive at Marguerite's home to prepare food for mourners coming from his funeral.

"Aline and her family maintain friendship with Lucille Lipsitz, and Aline has had a strong tie to Lucille's sons since they were children. Lucille, now 84, came to the store as a young bride when she married Joe Lipsitz and she became a force in its operation. She is still a vibrant force, celebrating her birthday with a parachute jump on June 1.

"I visited with Effie and Aline at a Christmas party in 2012 at the home of Lynne Dowling on Lady's Island. Aline was 95, Effie only in her 80s. After the party, I watched them drive off together -- Effie at the wheel.

"Effie told me that the Daughters no longer have a chapter in Beaufort, but that members meet informally.

"Effie and Aline are petite in stature, but they are giants in the hearts of Beaufort friends."

"Those Lipsitz Ladies"

By Deonne Parker

Those ladies of Lipsitz Department Store

Were Marguerite, Effie and Aline Moore.

They were tireless as they worked the floor,

Always crisp in the dresses they wore.

They were on the job from morning till night,

Greeting customers, they were ever polite.

Marguerite especially loved selling shoes.

She helped them try new ones they should choose.

Like a pro, she made sure that they fit.

She had a knack to make squirming kids sit.

Every sale was also a social event.

Bay Street was the place a shopper's day was spent.

The ladies at Lipsitz drew people in.

Buyers knew them and their kith and kin.

The ladies knew the news of folks in town:

Couples engaged, babies born, flu going around.

Who's sick and who died and who's baptized.

When others suffered, they sympathized.

In the end, they would make the sale;

The total experience seldom failed.

Buyers came shopping and would socialize.

But they all went home with their merchandise.

The ladies had well-honed business skills.

They were sincere, but knew the marketing drills.

They made it look as if it were easy,

Working even when talking seemed breezy.

These ladies also had full, busy lives:

They had family and friends and they were wives.

At 80, Aline enjoyed walking to work

And had energy for her job as sales clerk.

She could find anything a customer asked for,

Whether it was up a ladder or on the floor.

Lipsitz success was built with hard work's fuel.

The Lipsitz ladies were a potent tool.

Effie moved to town when she was 17.

Pretty and petite, she was full of steam.

Which kept her going even with fatigue,

A dynamo in her own special league.

She knew her way around the stock room,

Where piles of inventory always loomed.

The ladies were friends for a long time,

Starting when they were all in their prime.

They bonded and forged a friendship to treasure,

Sharing joys and hardship to life's full measure.

Lipsitz Department Store is part of the past,

But friendships of ladies of Lipsitz last.

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