Children donate park bench in the very spot their parents started dating 75 years ago

Friday, December 30, 2016 10:05AM
Bill and Shirley Fouts went on to live a beautiful life together and raise four children - who are now commemorating the moment it all began. (Gail Hatkoff via Babble)Creative Content
This story originally appeared on Babble and is reprinted with permission.

It's always wonderful to see a couple's love so strong that it lasts a lifetime. (It sure gives hope to the rest of us!) Just take the love story of 92-year-old Shirley Fouts and her late husband Bill. According to the Union Bulletin, Bill asked Shirley to "go steady" while the pair sat on a bench at Wildwood Park in Walla Walla, Washington 75 years ago. And after that, the rest was history.

The couple went on to live a beautiful life together and raise four children in the process - who are now commemorating the moment it all began with a new bench and plaque to be placed in that very special spot in Wildwood Park.


Image source: Gail Hatkoff

The Fouts children got the idea for the special monument after seeing their mom lovingly recall that special day every time she visits the area. As Shirley's daughter Gail Hatkoff tells 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."
How cute is that?!

The couple's son John recently told the Union Bulletin that "she even remembers the kiss." (How precious!)

As for putting in the new bench, John worked with the Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department to make it all happen. It took many months, but the park was finally able to unveil it in November, right before the holidays. Shirley was presented with the bench and the plaque reading, "At this location in 1941 Bill Fouts asked Shirley Barclay to go steady. Married October 29, 1943."

As for Shirley's reaction? "She had NO idea and said, 'I didn't know! Well, isn't that something?'" Gail tells Babble.

What a special gift that will keep on giving.


Image source: Gail Hatkoff

"I love the idea that their love lives on through my mom's stories, my siblings and me, and now this physical commemoration," Gail continues.

We couldn't agree more.

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