Ginny Bagnell is one of the oldest current continuous residents of the Crittenden/Eclipse neighborhood, and her family has deep roots within the community. Her mother was a 1st grade teacher and taught at the Community Hall when it was still a school. Ginny is proud to say that her mother taught everyone in the community who is over 50 years old. Her father, similarly, was closely tied to the community through his work as a waterman. Ginny loved working at the oyster house alongside her father. She would help crab and pack oysters, and she still has a lifelong passion for fishing. She and Walter and Marilyn Wagner enjoy fishing by the Monitor Merrimac, and she and Walt used to rockfish at night before her most recent surgery.
Ginny has always owned dogs and said she preferred playing with her dog over baby dolls when she was a girl. She would put her dog, Sugar, in her baby carriage and walk her to the post office to pick up the mail from Ms. Nanny. She also owned a goat, and when she was a small child, she liked to crawl into Nanny Goat’s house to take a nap with her. Her family briefly owned a billy goat, but he butted Ginny right out of the pen and wasn’t a good fit for their family.
Ginny was a physical education assistant teacher in Chesapeake Public Schools and then worked for 21 years at the Newport News Shipyard. She loved being a material supply clerk, but 7 rotator cuff surgeries brought her to retirement at 63 years old. Ginny certainly stays busy in her retirement. She helps to take care of the Children’s Garden at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, enjoys working in her yard, fishes, spends time with her friends, and takes trips to the mountains and a lake multiple times a year with her friends. On her most recent trip to the mountains, she saw her first bear up close and has a Smokey the Bear keychain in her car to commemorate the sighting. She brings breakfast each day to an elderly friend that she worked at Girl Scout camp with for over a decade and frequently checks up on her. She also has a monthly social with 10 of her high school classmates that still live in Suffolk so they can catch up and reminisce on old memories together. Friendship and family are truly of the utmost importance to her.
She has such a rich knowledge of the neighborhood’s history after living here for nearly 8 decades, and she was even featured in The River That Binds Us. After our conversation, Ginny drove me around the neighborhood to show me where her aunt used to live. Along the way, she pointed out each home where she knew the family. Despite the many changes that have come to our neighborhood, Ginny knows an astounding number of people. If you see her on her golf cart with her beloved dog, Liza Jane, be sure to say hello!