Ranger Soskin receiving an award from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, February 8, 2020

I’m having my coffee before settling in to edit a project I’ve been working on for many months now. I’m about a thousand words over the count but I’ll submit as is in two weeks and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve been getting texts from people I know whose kids go to UNC talking about last night’s game. I’m not much of a basketball guy but March (and April) Madness is always a fun thing to watch, if personally a step or two removed. They play the ACC tournament every year at the Barclays Center and the teams stay at the Marriott hotel down the street from where I work. When I see buses and team decals in the window of the lobby I know it’s the end of winter.

These past few days I have been reading of the retirement of one-hundred-year-old Park Service ranger Betty Reid Soskin. Though strictly speaking she was not a Rosie the Riveter–those particular jobs were strictly segregated, as was the military itself–she did play a role on the home front during World War II. Ranger Soskin was an institution for years at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in California. Here is an in depth article from 2018 that gives a fair amount of detail about her life and times. Among other things she dated Jackie Robinson, which given her rich life barely gets a mention before the article moves on. Not long ago I was on the social media feed of a historian I follow who wrote of her experience as a seasonal at the Charlestown Navy Yard, which is part of Boston National Historical Park. She spoke of doing interp on the ships, which are now museums. During her time there were still numerous veterans who volunteered aboard the ships speaking to the public. Those Navy veterans are now largely gone. Soskin’s retirement from the Rosie Riveter NHP is a similar loss.

(image/Congressman Mark DeSaulnier)