Works in Progress - Spring 2015

Riveting

By Tom Bentley | March 4, 2015

 

At age 93, Betty Reid Soskin is aware of time. She has blogged regularly for more than 10 years, so she’s comfortable with writing in the age of instant communication. But she has to find a way to fit it in because she’s also a full-time interpretive ranger at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, and can’t (as she facetiously blogged) shake off an “evening ritual” of watching “Jon Stewart defame all that we hold sacred.”

Her blog (cbreaux.blogspot.com) began as a journal that traced the lives of women in her family line. Now, however, “The writing tends to follow my need to process history as it goes by, and [comment] when events occur that need a response.”

Soskin believes that her blog readership expanded with the scope of her material, although she isn’t preoccupied with numbers. “I can’t recall ever seeing [the website counter] register more than 200 in a single day,” she says.

Her posts have “evolved into a way to put words to thoughts in order to gain clarity and focus, especially in times of national crisis,” she says. They afford chances to draft interpretations of tomorrow’s history.

She signed on as a ranger at age 85 after years as a consultant to the National Park Service. She intends to keep blogging indefinitely, and working as a ranger as well. “I see little reason to not continue,” she says. “At some point my known world may become manageable, and I will be capable of synthesizing it into a few pithy sentences.”

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