The average retirement age in the United States is around 64, though, of course, some people continue working into their 70s and even 80s. And then there’s Virginia "Ginny" Oliver, who turned 103 earlier this month.
What makes Oliver’s story so incredible is not just that she’s still working, but the nature of her job. For the past 95 years (yes, you read that correctly), Oliver has been lobstering out of her hometown of Rockland, Maine. She is Maine’s oldest lobster harvester, and possibly the oldest in the world, and she has no plans to stop anytime soon.
The more you learn about Oliver, the more impressive she becomes. Oliver started lobstering alongside her father and brother when she was just 8 years old, in the late 1920s. She continued working when she married lobsterman Max Oliver, and they worked together for 61 years. Three of their four children also became lobstermen. In fact, since her husband’s death in 2006, Virginia Oliver’s lobstering partner has been her son, Max Jr., now 80.
In the peak summer months, Oliver hauls lobster traps (they have 400) several days a week, getting up around 3:30 am to head out on her family's 30-foot boat (appropriately named “Virginia”) with Max Jr. She also helps pilot the boat, measures the lobsters, and puts rubber bands on their claws.
More about "The Lobster Lady":
- When she’s not out on the water lobstering, Oliver isn’t exactly idle. She still drives her pickup truck around town and has her family over for a home-cooked dinner every Saturday.
- In nearly a century on the water, Oliver has noticed two significant changes – there are more women hauling lobster traps, yet there are fewer lobsters to be caught. Due to rising temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, many lobsters have moved north to find cooler, more hospitable waters.
- Oliver has attracted significant media attention in recent years, earning the affectionate nickname “The Lobster Lady.” She’s been interviewed by numerous newspapers and TV stations and has been the subject of a documentary and a children’s book.