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'It's fun being 91!' Great-grandmother Fulfills Lifelong Dram


A spunky Tallahassee great-grandmother recently realized a lifelong dream. And as Audrey Post tells us, the people who helped turn that dream into reality learned just how small the world can be.

Harriet Temanson has had a lifelong fascination with flight, going back to her childhood in rural Minnesota.
       “I’ve been interested in planes ever since I was a schoolgirl, and they were that new that they would let us go to the window or go outside and wave to the pilot. And he could smile, you could see him, he was that low.”
       But no flying machine ever captured her imagination more than the blimp.
       “I was just kind of awed how that blimp could be up there, and stay and go so slow, with no wings, and I just thought, wouldn’t that be wonderful, just to look around.”
       Thanks to the combined efforts of her friends at church and The Florida State University, as well as staff of Goodyear and Tallahassee Regional Airport, Temanson got her chance to have a look around. She flew aboard the Goodyear blimp “Spirit of Innovation” when it came to Tallahassee for FSU’s football game against Clemson. It was a belated birthday gift for the great-grandmother who, a week earlier, had turned 91 years old.
       “It’s not frightening at all. All you do is anticipate. I really didn’t know what to expect but it’s even more than that, I said it’s something I’ll think about and relive – several times.”
       Jennifer Buchanan, FSU’s assistant vice president for faculty development and advancement, made the request at the urging of Karen Olson, a mutual friend with Temanson. Although Goodyear gives a lot of blimp rides, those rides usually happen from its home base in Pompano Beach. Goodyear’s public relations manager Doug Grassian explains:
       “Typically, we come in town, we come in places and we are here for the game, and that’s what we do. It presents some logistical challenges to try to get passengers rides when we’re doing TV, but this was a special circumstance. The university contacted us. It was a great story, and we recognized that it was something that would be good for her and good for Goodyear for exposure, as well.”
       Matt Lussier, the Goodyear pilot who conducted Temanson’s aerial tour of Tallahassee, had almost as much fun as his passenger.
       “She did awesome. She had such a blast. She was nothing but smiles and a thousand questions. She just enjoyed it. It’s just kind of cool to think she’s, you know, part of Goodyear’s history, too.”
       That she had a connection to Goodyear came as a surprise to everyone involved in arranging the flight. While waiting for the blimp to land so she could board it, Temanson recalled that her first job, other than working for her father, had been at a Goodyear plant near Pasadena, California.
       “I worked on the neoprene gas tanks, and they were for the B29 bomber. It was during the war.”
       Hearing about Temanson’s history with Goodyear made Grassian even happier the company had made an exception for her.
       “We have an internal web site at Goodyear and I was thinking about writing something up for that based on the fact that she was an ex-employee and she got the ride. I think it would be neat for the rest of the employees to read something like that.”
       With a big smile and eyes glittering with excitement, Temanson posed for photos after her flight, standing alongside the pilot in front of the giant airship.
       “Harriet. Take care.”
       “Thanks again.”
       “You’re very welcome.”
       “It’s fun being 91.”