+
Heroes

Barbara was hired at a top-notch design firm at 91. Here are 5 amazing things she's done so far.

The wisdom of our elders is no doubt America's most untapped resource. But that is changing. The folks at "The Today Show" and SeniorPlanet looked into just how amazing this change can be.

Minds like Barbara Beskind's are America's most underused human resource.


She's a top-notch designer at an internationally known design firm in Silicon Valley. And she's 91.

She holds court every Thursday at IDEO, a design and innovation consulting firm in San Francisco, as an ad-hoc consultant.


There, she gloriously helps designers invent better, more functional products for the elderly. She meets with a team of designers, some five or six decades her junior!

IDEO sends out an email to let everyone know when Barbara is in the office. The designers she works with love her.

People like Barbara have seen the invention of nuclear power, the rise of the automobile, the death of the streetcar, the invention of TV!

Their experience is, as of now, untapped. Unhired. Un-asked-interesting-questions.

Their wisdom, their brains, and their spirit are one of our nation's greatest untapped resources.

"I've retired five times, but it's like a vaccination that doesn't take."
— Barbara Beskin, my hero

How did she get there?

Barbara wanted to be an inventor and engineer her whole life. But when she asked her college counselor about pursuing it, she was told that it wasn't an option for her because engineering schools at the time didn't accept women. (!)

So she joined the Army, became an occupational therapist, wrote some books. ... Fast-forward to decades later, when she sent a nine-page letter to IDEO asking for a job. She got the job.

Here are some of the things she's already come up with:

#1. A unique brace that helps her BFF Hedy get up off the couch

Note to self: Become an inventor or befriend an inventor. They're so helpful!

#2. A magnifying glass for reading


She has macular degeneration. So she's just solving for it ... with inventions!

# 3. Modified walking poles

These are what I want for my grandma. She hates her walker; it makes her feel uncool. Already this little old lady inventor has changed the way I think about design.

#4. A revolutionary new walker

Much like her walking poles, Barbara is working on a walker that helps keep the person using it in a more vertical position.

#5. Prefab backyard living quarters for the elderly to live in an existing home with family

All those chill times you spent with grandma in your backyard? Well, Barbara's inventing new ways for grandma to live there! And ideas to make it better — like a chemical toilet and an electricity hookup that draws power from the main house. She gets it!

And that's just the beginning! She's 91 and she's JUST GETTING STARTED.

"You have to think outside of the box. You have to be more than yourself. The world is more important than you are."
— Barbara Beskind, aka the coolest

Is it just me, or should more companies get out of their stereotypes and into some untapped wisdom?

IDEO is famous for being cutting-edge, but that doesn't mean they should be the only company that benefits from elderly people's DECADES of experience in the world.

The brains, the experience, and the sheer exciting fact that these folks are ALIVE ... that is our natural resource. We should respect it.

I'm gonna go call my grandma now! I need to tell her about some walking poles.

While I do that, listen to more of Barbara's story from "The Today Show":

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less