SHINE Daily

Children Donate Park Bench At The Location Their Parents Began Dating

Well if this isn't just the sweetest thing. 

Every time 92-year-old Shirley Fouts went by the intersection of Boyer Avenue and Division Street in Walla Walla, Washington, she'd tell her children the adjacent park (Wildwood Park) was where their father invited her to go steady 75 years ago.

Shirley’s daughter Gail Hatkoff told Babble, "Mom and Dad had been to a movie downtown and walked to the park. It probably took 17-year-old Bill Fouts a little bit to get up the nerve to ask her, ‘Have you ever gone steady with anyone?’ To which 17-year-old Shirley replied in the negative. So Bill said, ‘Would you like to?’ … Mom said she used to tease him about his less-than-suave delivery of the proposition.”

Son John Fouts and daughters Marilee Magee, Shauna Andrews and Gail Hatkoff decided to give their mother a gift that she would treasure: a bench at the spot where she and husband Bill met. After months of planning with the Walla Walla Department of Parks & Recreation, they unveiled the bench to her. 

A plaque on the bench reads, "At this location in 1941 Bill Fouts asked Shirley Barclay to go steady. Married October 29, 1943.”

Son John tells the Union Bulletin, “It really surprised her. Her comment was, ‘here is where our family began."

Sadly, Bill died at the age of 42 in 1966 of acute atherosclerosis. But clearly their love was for a lifetime.

Image credit: Gail Hatkoff