In November — a couple of weeks after Hurricane Sandy — “06880” reader Fran White and her son Michael went to Compo Beach.
They noticed their memorial bench dedicated to David — Fran’s husband and Michael’s dad, who was killed in a bicycle accident several years ago — was gone from its usual spot, just over the wall from the cannons.
A number of benches — tossed and upended by the wind and storm surge — had been stored near the skate park. But David’s was not one of them.
Fran called Parks & Rec. She was told the department knew of the missing benches and plaques.
“They were still dealing with damage from Sandy, and weren’t far enough along to think about replacing and repairing benches,” Fran says. “So we pretty much came to terms with its loss, and made up adventure stories about where it might be. The loss of homes for many seemed far more important.”
Last week, a friend of the Whites went down to Compo, for a final walk on the beach before moving. She spotted a group of benches, near Joey’s. David’s plaque was there — not on its original wooden bench, but an older fiberglass one.
Fran has faith that — with everything else on Parks & Rec’s plate — it will be able to sort everything out by summer. They have a site map for the benches.
Parks & Rec knows the importance of the benches to donors, and honorees. They know how popular the benches are with beachgoers too, who may seek out certain benches because of the plaques — or may never read them, but just like sitting in certain spots.
Sandy left a big mess at the beach. Our town is still cleaning up from it.
One day, David White — and all the others — will be back where they belong.