It has been over 90 years. But still, Virginia continues trapping lobsters.
Virginia Oliver is a 101-year-old woman involved in lobstering after living over a century. Yet, she is aware of the risks in the activity.
Virginia was born in June 1920 in Clarendon Street, Rockland. Ginny and The Lobster lady were nicknames used by her friends to call her. Currently, Virginia lives in a house belonging to their parents, Julia Buttimer and Alvin Rackliff.
Ginny is a parent of four children, and her 78-year-old son spends nights looking after her.
Usually, Virginia is up early, and Max is beside her; they drive to Owl’s head. There’s a boat named “Virginia” docked there. It belonged to Virginia’s late husband.
The 101-year-old and Max together collect 200 pots of lobster in time. From May to February, they keep working for three days a week. For lobstering, they sail to Penobscot Bay.
While Max pulls all the pots into the boat, Virginia works to band the lobsters.
Virginia was previously right-handed. However, after she broke her wrist years ago, she got used to being left-handed.
She also assists in loading bait bags filled with pogeys or menhaden ( Small fish that lure the crustaceans in).
From the whole world, Virginia is the oldest lobster fisher found. Wayne Gray, a family friend of Virginia, had mentioned a story behind another scar in Virginia; It was a crab that sniffed her finger and made Virginia get seven stitches.
When she visited the doctor for treatments, the doctor questioned Virginia about why she was still lobstering. Her reply was, “Because I want to.”
Not only Virginia but all her family also connected their livelihood to the ocean. Her father fished for lobsters and sardines to be sold to local factories. Though fishing is meant to be a man’s job, Virginia did join her father and elder brother when she was just 8.
When it comes to lobster, she is the boss. Yet she is also concerned about the decreasing lobster population. She enjoys the carefree and independent lifestyle she spent for almost 90 years.
Max reveals the secret to Virginia’s long life: her work ethic. But Virginia states that it is independent. Anyway, she will keep showing up for lobstering for as long as possible. After finishing the day at sea, she drives her white pick-up truck to the grocery store.
Virginia said that she prepares baked beans for her kids every Saturday, and we have dinner together with them.
Virginia’s neighbours are fortunate people because they enjoy her delicious food, including brownies, cakes, and doughnuts.
Some of the delicious-looking lobsters that she catches go directly to her kitchen. With them, Ginny prepares a mouth-watering classic lobster roll. However, it takes only a few ingredients like mayo and a grilled bun for this dish.
Many people close to her ask when she’ll stop this dangerous job. But her only answer for everyone is, “Only death will stop me from doing it.”
“We’ll all die someday, so don’t fear death. Live your life in the way you enjoy it,” Virginia added.
Virginia just renewed her fishing license last week, and she’s more than ready to get to the waters with her son Max in the upcoming summer to do what she loves the most.