July 13, 2005

My Dad's Bench

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Me on my dad's bench, two years ago My father's favorite song was "Under the Boardwalk," oh and "Maggie May," but for the point of this story let's focus on the Boardwalk. When I think of summers growing up, I can't help but think of weekends at the New Jersey Shore with my dad and aunts, uncles and cousins. I used to go with my mother too, one week with her and then my father would head down, spend a day or two that would overlap, but my parents were always good friends even after they separated, so that was fine. Then I'd spend the rest of the week or a weekend with my father. We'd go to Pt. Pleasant, it was more family friendly than the nearby Seaside, which I'd venture later as I became a teenager. We'd stay at a hotel right on the boardwalk so we could enjoy the beach, pool and activities on the wooden pier. It really became a special annual trip for me and my dad. He taught me how to dive there and would spend way to much trying to win me a porcelain doll and Yankee jacket, both of which I still have and sadly still fit into (didn't grow too much).

So, when he passed away five years ago, my aunt who now has a condo in Pt. Pleasant had heard you could pay to get the new benches on the boardwalk personalized and dedicated. We immediately knew we had to get one for my father, Benny.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from an editorial intern at The Islander, which is a free publication in Pt. Pleasant and for the Shore asking if I was related to the Benny Settembre that is mentioned on the boardwalk bench, "Unforgettable Benny." I replied yes, that I was his daughter and answered a few questions for his article about the dedicated benches up and down the pier. It was definitely weird being on the other side of an interview, especially since the topic made me very emotional. Apparently he had found my email address via my blog, since I recenlty posted about my father on his birthday and included his full name. Pretty impressive investigative skills on his part!

Here's the article that resulted: Many of us simply take for granted the benches that line most boardwalks. They provide a place to sit and watch the waves or enjoy an ice cream cone.

For many people in Point Pleasant Beach, however, these benches honor and memorialize loved ones. (more) .

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