Best Life

Barbranda Walls is a features editor for AARP Media who spotlights everyday people doing exceptional things. These folks might not make national news, but they deserve a shout-out. She loves pop culture – especially food, fashion, television and R&B music. Family, friends and spirituality play important roles in my life. And traffic.

Biking for Books … All the Way Across the Country

Rich McKinless believes books are the way to open the windows of the world to children. So he spent the summer pedaling across America to raise awareness and money for literacy. McKinless, 57, of Arlington, Va., ended a 4,351-mile, “sea to shining sea” cycling journey on Sept. 28 and raised more than $45,000 for First Book, a nonprofit that provides access to new books for children from low-income families. He became acquainted with the organization while working at audit and …

George W. Bush Offers Bill Clinton Some Grandpa Advice

Grandfatherly advice trumps partisan politics, even among former commanders in chief. >> 23 Fabulous and Famous Grandmas President George W. Bush gave a heads-up to President Bill Clinton about how things will change in his family after Clinton welcomes his first grandchild. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting a baby sometime this fall. The two former heads of state from rival parties appeared together Monday at the Newseum in Washington to announce the Presidential Leadership Scholars …

Long Island Weather Watcher, 101, Sets Record for Service

At 101, Richard G. Hendrickson is no weather wimp. He’s been reporting temperatures and conditions to the National Weather Service from his family farm on Long Island in Bridgehampton, N.Y., for 84 years – rain, shine, sleet or snow. For his faithful service, the National Weather Service recently honored Hendrickson as the nation’s longest-serving volunteer weather observer. A new 80-year service award has been named in his honor. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  “I don’t think I …

University President Takes Salary Cut to Help Minimum-Wage Workers

Raymond Burse believes in spreading the wealth. The interim president of Kentucky State University is giving up more than $90,000 of his annual salary to boost pay for the school’s minimum-wage employees. “This is not a publicity stunt,” Burse told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “You don’t give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people. This is something I’ve been thinking about from the very beginning.” Thanks to Burse’s generosity, lower-paid workers will immediately see more money in their …

George Takei’s Take on Hiroshima, From Devastation to Rebirth

Many people know George Takei as Mr. Sulu from TV’s popular Star Trek and most recently as a social media guru and host of the AARP-produced YouTube series “Takei’s Take.” But the Los Angeles native also has ties to Japan, where he lost an aunt and a cousin after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, wiping out the port city on Aug. 6, 1945. Eight years old at the time, Takei was incarcerated with his parents and …

Grace Lee Boggs: Still a Revolutionary at Age 99

At 99, Grace Lee Boggs is rather matter-of-fact when you ask her about aging:  “It’s like preparing for disability,” she deadpans. “You have a lot of time to think and a lot to think about. I have reflected more on particular episodes of my life than I ever thought I would.” Boggs has had quite a life to reflect on. The story of the erudite daughter of Chinese immigrants who morphed into a civil rights and black power activist in …