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ranger betty, national parks

Ranger Betty has been a park ranger since she was 85 and is just now retiring at 100.

Many of us hope to make it to our 85th birthday in good enough health to be active. Betty Reid Soskin did far more than that when she became a park ranger for the National Park Service the year she turned 85. And for the past 15 years, she has served as a ranger at Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, sharing forgotten histories of the homefront war effort.

On March 31, the National Park Service announced that Soskin was retiring—at age 100.

Go ahead and say it with me: Wow.


However, Soskin indicated years ago that such longevity shouldn't surprise us. Her mother lived until 101, her great-grandmother lived until 102 and her great-aunt lived to 107—and they all stayed busy until their passing.

In 2020, at age 98, Soskin told KTVU "I can't believe I've reached this age. Inside is 19-year-old Betty." At that point, she had cut back from giving interpretive talks from five days to one day a week after suffering a stroke five months before, but still she kept going in her service as a park ranger. She said there was something she was still meant to do.

"I haven't any idea what it is," she said. "I have no idea, except that it's there. It's something that I am to accomplish and I haven't done it yet."

Soskin has taken her work as a ranger seriously, and countless people have enjoyed hearing her unique perspective. She became a park ranger at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park because she was driven to broaden people's understanding of the context of the war effort, including the backdrop of racism and segregation in the U.S., according to NPR.

Soskin herself was a young woman during World War II and worked as a shipyard clerk for an all-Black auxiliary lodge of the Boilermakers union. (As a Black American, she was not allowed to join as a regular member.) Her great-grandmother had been born into slavery and was still alive at that time.

"Being a primary source in the sharing of that history – my history – and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling,” said Soskin. “It has proven to bring meaning to my final years.”

Soskin has been honored multiple times over the years, earning the title of Woman of the Year in 1995 from the California Legislature and being given the honor of introducing President Obama at a tree-lighting ceremony. She has a California middle school named after her, and she is well aware of the importance of her role in sharing stories that history has too often overlooked.

"What gets remembered is a function of who's in the room doing the remembering," Soskin has said, according to NPR.

Soskin—or "Ranger Betty," as she's been known for the past decade and a half—spent her final day as a ranger providing an interpretive program to the public and visiting with friends. The National Park Service shared a message announcing her retirement and wishing her well.

“The National Park Service is grateful to Ranger Betty for sharing her thoughts and first-person accounts in ways that span across generations,” said Naomi Torres, acting superintendent of Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. “She has used stories of her life on the Home Front, drawing meaning from those experiences in ways that make that history truly impactful for those of us living today.”

If you want to enjoy one of Soskin's talks, here you go. She is, in a word, riveting. May we all live as long and as well as Ranger Betty.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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There are some people who live under the illusion that everything they say is deeply interesting and have no problem wasting your time by rambling on and on without a sign of stopping. They’re the relative, neighbor or co-worker who can’t take a hint that the conversation is over.

Of all these people, the co-worker who can’t stop talking may be the most challenging because you see them every day in a professional setting that requires politeness.

There are many reasons that some people talk excessively. Therapist F. Diane Barth writes in Psychology Today that some people talk excessively because they don’t have the ability to process complex auditory signals, so they ramble on without recognizing the subtle cues others are sending.

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