Looking for Lydia, Looking for God is a book about women

It is the story of a nineteenth-century woman who, the year the Civil War ended, moved from her home in Philadelphia to a southern city to set up housekeeping as the wife of a Union soldier-returned after the war to make his fortune-a Carpetbagger. It is the story of the home for elderly women that was named for her and the stories of the women who live there.


You will read the stories of women in the Bible and the story of the woman who wrote this book. Looking for Lydia; Looking for God is a story about women. It is also a book about aging, about loneliness and community, about love. It is a book about women of a certain age not just surviving–but thriving–together.



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Lydia's Bloopers


Search for Mystery Woman Leads Outward, and Inward

By Denise M. Watson
The Virginian-Pilot © March 15, 2015

Dean Robertson’s obsession began with a bout of depression. The sadness swamped her nearly two years ago, after a nasty spill forced her to convalesce at a home for old women in Norfolk. Robertson was only 67 at the time, and did not consider herself old – but her body did not want to hear that story.

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About Dean Robertson

I am a retired English teacher; I will be sixty-nine by the time anyone sees this website. I spent thirty years of my life teaching literature in independent secondary schools and in small private colleges. When I retired, I cut off my schoolteacher’s bun and headed to the Tidewater region of Virginia.

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“…Readers will find that, whether they seek a lost relative or answers to life’s biggest questions, Looking for Lydia may lead them to find that exploring the questions can be as satisfying as finding the answers.”
Molly Roper Jenkins, Great-granddaughter of Lydia Bowen Roper

Book Lovers


Where is the Lydia of the child-bearing years, the Lydia who gave birth to six children in the thirteen years between 1866 and1879, in the years between her twenty-sixth and her thirty-ninth birthdays? Where is Lydia, still in her thirties, shepherding four small children and Albert, the youngest, a babe in arms, on the short walk to Granby Street Methodist Church? Where is the forty-year-old Lydia, Albert not quite two, Margaret now fourteen?”

Pictured Left: Young Lydia Roper

“After knowledge drove them out of their Garden, did Adam and Eve, too, get happy in that flawed human way we all get happy? With their “garments of skins. . .sent forth. . to till the ground” (Gen. 3:21, 23), they were just at the start of the great adventure. The ladies at the Lydia Roper Home haven’t come here for new adventures; they’ve come here, perhaps, to spend some time remembering the old ones. They’ve come here because they’ve run out of other places to go.”

Pictured right: Lydia Roper at 90