Compo is a big beach.
You can do anything there — or nothing at all. A favorite pastime is sitting on one of the dozens of handsome, heavy wooden benches. They’re everywhere, from Schlaet’s Point to the cannons and Ned Dimes Marina.
The benches blend unobtrusively into the landscape. But each one bears a small plaque. Each memorializes a man or woman, whose family and friends honor them in this special way.
It’s hard to imagine anything could go wrong with these timeless benches. But alert — and anguished — reader Laurie Crouse writes:
In 2011, after my husband Martin passed away, I purchased a bench from Parks & Rec. It was placed in a spot that was special to him and me, on South Beach facing the sunset.
This bench has provided great comfort through the years. It’s a sacred spot for me, because we did not do a traditional cemetery burial.
On the bench is an engraved plate: “I’ll meet you at the sunset.” That’s what we always said when we would head to the beach at the end of the day. His name — Martin Crouse — is at the top of the plaque. The years he lived are below it.
Right after I got the bench in September 2011, Hurricane Sandy struck. When I visited the bench after the storm, it was gone.
I was devastated.
In the center of the beach near the skateboard park, Parks & Rec created a staging zone for many recovered items, including benches that had been scattered.
Martin’s bench never showed up.
A couple of weeks later, someone on the far end of Owenoke called me and said the bench ended up in their yard. A visitor had recognized his name. and told her how to reach me.
I was thrilled. Parks & Rec got the bench from her. and returned it to our devoted spot. It’s been there for nearly 10 years.
Today I went to sit at the beach. Once again, the bench was gone.
These benches are heavy! You can’t drag them very far. You need multiple people to move them.
I walked the beach. I looked at every name plate on every bench. I don’t see it anywhere.
I called Parks & Rec. They searched. But they cannot find it.
I hope you can share this with “06880” readers. It would be nice to have multiple eyes out, in case I missed it somehow.
More importantly, the public needs to understand more about these memorial benches.
Each bench you see was purchased in dedication for a loved one. I’ve noticed over the years that more and more people move them, turn them around and leave them wherever they see fit, without understanding that the chosen spots are important to the people who purchased them.
We have donated them to the town so the public can enjoy them. But there is a story behind each one.
If there was a greater awareness, perhaps people would be more respectful. Thank you!