This remarkable woman's story is one that defies the conventional notion of retirement. Meet Virginia "Ginny" Oliver, a true lobstering legend who has spent the better part of the last 90 years aboard lobster boats.
Born in 1920 on Claredon Street in Maine, Ginny continues to call this place home, albeit not in the exact same house where she entered the world. Together with her late husband, she purchased a house on the very same street, a place where she raised her four children and a spot that her beloved grandkids love to visit.
Ginny's journey in the world of lobstering began at an astonishingly young age—8 years old, to be precise. Side by side with her father and brother, she braved the waves, hauling in lobsters and sardines to sell to local factories. However, they always kept a portion of their catch for themselves. Even today, Ginny delights in the simple pleasure of a Maine lobster roll, served with a grilled bun, a touch of mayo, and nothing more.
But Ginny's talents don't stop at sea; she's also renowned for her baking skills. Her doughnuts, cakes, and brownies are the stuff of legends. Every week, her family gathers together to enjoy a longstanding Sunday night tradition: Ginny's homemade baked beans. It's a delicious reminder of the love and warmth that emanate from her kitchen. And as fate would have it, Ginny's 75-year-old son, Max, recently returned home to lend his support to his remarkable mother, although it's clear that Ginny can hold her own just fine.
At over a century old, Ginny is acutely aware that her days are numbered, but she steadfastly adheres to the motto, "You're not gonna live forever, so why let it bother you?" She's a resilient and spirited soul, known affectionately as "The Boss," and she takes great delight in upholding her title. But alongside her unyielding determination, Ginny possesses an infectious sense of humor. When her doctor once questioned why she continued lobstering at the age of 103, Ginny's response was unequivocal and laced with her signature wit: "Because I want to."
Despite a career spanning more than 90 years, Ginny has remarkably suffered few injuries along the way. And when she did, it wasn't at the hands of a lobster but rather an audacious crab. While gathering a few crabs for her son-in-law, one of them managed to give her a snip, resulting in seven stitches. She chuckles at the memory, remarking that if there hadn't been a bone in the way, that crab might have made off with her finger entirely.
Yet, amidst her own remarkable journey, Ginny remains deeply concerned about the future of Maine's lobster population. Lobsters make up a staggering 82% of the state's commercial fishing industry, but factors such as offshore wind development, tidal changes, and overfishing pose potential threats in the years to come. Each lobsterman is allotted a specific number of pots to haul, and they must exercise caution by only keeping mature lobsters while allowing the juvenile crustaceans to grow and reproduce, thus fostering the population's continued growth.
When asked about her retirement plans, Ginny's response is resolute: it will only come "when I die." Hopefully, that day is far into the future, as Ginny, affectionately known as "The Lobster Lady," possesses a vitality that would put people half her age to shame. After all, she even has a boat named after her—a well-deserved tribute to a truly extraordinary woman.
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(via News Center Main)