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When you think of road trips, the first things that probably come to mind are awesome playlists, random snack stops, and whether your Subaru will make it all the way there (don't worry, it will).

You might not think of somebody like Marcia Orland, who hit the open road this summer after her 76th birthday.


Marcia Orland with a picture of herself as a child growing up in Warsaw, New York, and with a map of her trip. Image by Pam McComb Podmostko, used with permission.

She wasn't just looking to visit antique shops and disconnect for a while. The trip was a way for her to reunite with relatives she grew up with in the upstate New York town of Warsaw, an hour's ride east of Buffalo, and capture their childhood memories and family stories.

“I hadn't seen my cousins in 50 or 60 years, and I realized if I didn't do it now, the stories would be lost forever," Orland said.

She hunkered down in her home in Summerland, California, a beach town near Santa Barbara, and mapped out a 37-day road trip to visit her cousins, who were spread out throughout the country from Tucson, Arizona, to Fairport, New York.

Marcia connects the dots. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

In preparation for the trip, she started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the cost of the hotel stays, food, fuel, and the Toyota Prius she rented (by the end of the trip she had raised $5,500 of the $6,950 she requested).

Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

The packing was relatively light: She took two suitcases of clothes, an iPod and laptop, CDs of family photos, digitized old family films, and a cooler for water and snacks.

Along with the provisions, she also packed two video cameras (she mounted one on the dashboard), a tripod, a microphone, and four external hard drives. Orland has been a personal historian for 11 years, which means she helps families tell their stories in video and print form. Now she's applying those skills to her own life — she plans to make a documentary about the trip.

Capturing the trek with a dash cam. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

By the time she left on Aug. 2, she was excited.

“I had been looking forward to the trip for so long, I was happy to finally start it," she said. “I had originally had the idea for the trip in 2010, but life kept getting in the way. As I was leaving, I realized I was accomplishing something fun and meaningful, and I felt proud."

On the journey, Orland was hoping her cousins could tell her more about her parents and her aunts and uncles.


Marcia and her cousin Bill Embury in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

She wanted to learn things about their early years in Warsaw and gain more insight into their family dynamics.

Her cousins confirmed and added to the memories she had. “We talked about the simplicity of the times we grew up in, the feeling of being safe in spite of World War II going on, and the relaxed small-town atmosphere," said Orland.

Marcia and another cousin, Diantha Heitmiller, in Richmond, Virginia. Image via Marcia Orland, used with permission.

Along the way, she also encouraged people to save their own family stories (as a good personal historian must do!).

To accomplish this, she posted clips of her travels on Facebook (#FindMarcia) and held “show and tell" events, where community members in the places she visited shared stories about heirlooms, mementos, and precious objects.

Orland originally became interested in helping people preserve their memories after her parents died just a few weeks apart in 2004. She founded her company, Afterglow Media, the same year, with the goal of helping others preserve their histories.

As for people interested in creating their own epic family history road trip, she recommends having a plan and preparing as much as possible, but to expect the unexpected.

“For instance, at one personal history 'show and tell' event that I hosted, I noticed a 13-year-old boy sitting at a nearby table listening to the stories being told by the adults," she said. “I asked him if he'd like to join us, and he eagerly did. When the participants realized how much the stories meant to him, it did more to inspire them to continue personal history conversations with their own families than anything I could have said to them. It was a wonderful moment."

You can watch Marcia Orland talk about her trip here:

Sometimes it's not about the destination, but the memories we form along the way.

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."

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Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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