“Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”
– Children’s nursery rhyme
You might not be able to catch the gingerbread man, but you can catch the gingerbread lady, Ginger Brown, five days a week at the Nevada Appeal.
Brown is one of nine employees manning the Classified Ad phones. Like most who have a passion for collecting stuff, Brown’s been on a mission to acquire as many gingerbread-man related items as she can for her ever growing collection.
Born in Oahu, Hawaii, she is one of five children. Her parents named her for the beautiful white and yellow ginger flower native to the Island. The family moved to the Continental United States when she was 7.
She was living in Southern California in 1985 when she met and married Virgil Brown, the second marriage for both. Together they have six children and 11 grandchildren, guaranteeing a full house when the holidays roll around. The couple moved to Reno in 1999 before making their last move to Virginia City a year later.
Brown’s collection started 10 years ago when a friend gave her a gingerbread man cookie cutter, and she’s been off and running ever since.
“The cookie cutter was the first piece, but what I really wanted to collect was the metal ginger spice cans,” she said. “At last count I have 72 of them alone. I have about 150 total pieces in the collection, including ginger jars and Christmas ornaments, but the number is constantly growing because family and friends bring me gingerbread man items whenever they find them.”
Ginger and Virgil Brown say they fell in love with Virginia City on their first visit several years ago. The opportunity to move there came while negotiating on a home with its previous owner.
“They were asking big bucks for the house,” she said. “It needed work so Virgil and I made them a counter offer and they accepted. It’s a decision we never regretted. The history here is unbelievable. The scene that comes into view when rounding that last turn from the north is still as spectacular as the first day I saw it. Virgil and I have been re-modeling our home a little at a time. If the gingerbread man collection gets much bigger we might have to add a room just to house it.”
A pleasant thought for Ginger Brown – Virginia City’s real Gingerbread Lady.