The Lovers Bench Is Gone

The other day I learned some sad news when I went on my favorite hike. At the viewpoint, the lovers bench was gone. Forever.

Back in May I wrote a post called The Bench Where Lovers Had Been.

I usually do the same hike every week, about two hours round-trip from my house. Toward the end of the uphill hike, there are countless switchbacks to really make you work for it.

But at the top of the hill is the greatest reward, a downtown Portland and Mount Hood view enjoyed from the comfort of a weathered bench. The lovers bench.

I played a little fiction game each time I went up there. I’d pick out a couple carved in the bench, then make up a boy meets girl story in my head before heading back home.

Over the past few months this bench even inspired me to consider writing my first short story. (Consider, meaning I haven’t started a damn thing. But I intended to after more quality time with the bench.)

Anyhoo, this was the bench then…

Carved Bench

Bench Carving

This is the bench now…

bench pittock mansion

bench with roses

So many professions of love tattooed on the decrepit wood had vanished. This strange, smooth wood no longer held stories of romance, foolishness, and hope.

The fresh and shiny bench didn’t woo me at all. To tell you the truth, this guy was kind of a son of a bitch…um, bench.

Yep, he was a real son of a bench.

I preferred the refreshingly true one from before, all genuine and battered, even if it was a splinter in the butt waiting to happen.

Reluctantly I sat down on the impostor and sipped my water in silence. The city continued on below, as if it never had a single thought about that bench on the hill above.

My fingers ran across the perfectly even surface, searching for the charming grooves that were once embedded in the wood. Craving those carvings of love.

Then I looked down at the brand new black armrest and smiled.

There it was…the very first one. And, a new lovers bench was born.

love graffiti

 

44 thoughts on “The Lovers Bench Is Gone

  1. Dale says:

    Isn’t it funny how little things like a new bench coming in to replace an old splinter-inducing one can just leave us flustered?

    I hope the original was re-purposed too…

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Oh, Gallivanta! Are you sending me on another hunt? LOL! I’m heading back to the zoo today to hopefully meet our totem pole.

      And, since there have been many comments about the fate of the bench from my curious blogger friends, I just sent an email to the Pittock Mansion’s Marketing Manager to see if we can find out. : )

  2. joeyfullystated says:

    Great post!
    One of the first pieces of furniture I bought for myself was a park bench. First apartment, it lived on the patio. Second apartment, it was part of the dining table. Can’t even remember now what I did with it, so I, too, wonder where your old lover’s bench went. Glad someone has begun loving up the new one!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Don’t you just love park benches? So cool that you used it as part of your dining table at one point. They have a lot of uses.

      I’m looking into the fate of the bench. I’ll report back to you guys!

  3. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Oh how I hate it when “they” decide to spruce things up, ruing a perfectly good history. Glad to see that it’s already developing its own history, however prim it looks at the moment.

    I gotta show you a different bench, one that will make you swoon, but I don’t know how to insert it in this post. Will have to figure it out. Stay tuned….

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Who knows? With the rain starting back up again, the bench may have fallen apart finally. I was worried that the bench would stay prim forever, so I was excited to see those first initials.

      Yes, show it to me! On WordPress you can post a URL for the image here in the comment section. Or, just send it to me on Twitter…we’re buddies. : )

      • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

        I just found this link to Kezar Triangle, the place where I found the “Wood wave” near Golden Gate Park. The community has done a beautiful job in creating this space that can be enjoyed by all. I don’t think this bench will encourage “story carving,” though. But I do think it invites passersby to sit and daydream and create stories, perhaps, while watching people walk by.

  4. Roy McCarthy says:

    See that was probably some ‘do-gooders’ group that complained about the crap old bench until the city gave in and replaced it. It would be interesting to see how you go with the short stories Britt. Some people can churn them out at at will but I find them hard work.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      It could be the city…you’re absolutely right, Roy. I reached out to the Pittock Mansion’s Marketing Manager first, so we’ll see what she says.

      I thought the short story thing would be a fun experiment. I’m sure it will be challenging for me, but a good way to branch out.

  5. Andrea Stephenson says:

    Oh no, it was like a slap in the face when I got to the image of the new bench – so cold and ‘tidy’. But a perfect example of transience. I’m happy you immortalised the old one before it went and years from now, there’ll be new stories of what was once a new bench.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      It’s totally like a slap in the face, isn’t it? I can’t even imagine what my face looked like as I approached the bench. I’m sure the other tourists/couples/families hanging around the viewpoint thought I was cuckoo. Glad I got some pix of the old bench months ago. Had I known it was on its way out, I would have taken WAY more!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Big sigh! I wonder how long that other bench was there—I guess at least since 2011, when Belly and Yan carved their love into the bench. I’m guessing this one will take a few years to get some personality. I’ll keep an eye on it. : )

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      A new bench love story is certainly beginning! No, I won’t forget about the short story idea. I see that bench almost every week and it reminds me that one of these days I need to sit my tushie down and start writing again.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    It seems to me that the place wants the lover’s bench back, too, and is encouraging couples to pick up where they left off with the old. A new chapter, perhaps, in the never-ending story of the place?

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Isn’t that funny? The view of the city and mountains (on a clear day) while being surrounded by manicured gardens with a mansion looming behind definitely invokes a romantic feel. A new chapter was inevitable.

  7. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    Interesting how we can get attached to certain things isn’t it? Sounds familiar and I would have had the same reaction. The old one had charm, authenticity ànd of course a story to tell. I’m glad you took some pics of it and I’m curious to learn what short story you have in mind.
    On the other hand, there’s no reason why this one can’t become a story bench as well. It just needs more time and some creative lovers 😉

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