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Love's never benched

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WALLA WALLA, WA - This is a story of love dating back a couple decades and stemming from Walla Walla.

These days it's not often Shirley Fouts gets to stop by the bench, but on this day she's here with her family, where it all began.

"When we first showed it to her last Thanksgiving, she said this is where it all started," said John Fouts, Shirley's son. "This is where the family started."

Many may drive by, but for this family and for generations to come they'll always stop and look and know the meaning behind a particular slab of concrete and the bolts that hold the bench together. A bench signifying the love between Bill and Shirley Fouts.

"I had my eye on him," Shirley said.

It started as a high school romance...

"I think he liked my sashay walking."

...a date night to the movies followed by a walk to the park, where their love bloomed.

"We walked up here to this corner - to this bench - and he sat down," Shirley said. "He didn't just come out and say, 'will you go steady with me?'...he said, 'have you ever gone steady?' and I said, 'no', and he said, 'would you like to?' That was the way he put it because if there was a rejection he made sure the question was right."

They got married two years later.

"He played baseball, professional baseball," she said. "And the war came along and he went off to war."

They had four children before he died in his early 40s from a heart attack.

"I always told him I would not remarry, and he said, 'I wouldn't either' and I said, 'bologna, the women would be after you.'"

And she didn't...she tells her children to this day: she found her true love and nothing will ever come close.

"We'd drive past this bench and my mom would say, 'that's where your dad asked me to go steady,'" said Shauna Carette, Shirley's daughter.

Shauna is one of four; together, her and her siblings decided to get the bench installed last November. They invested in the bench and the city helped install it for them.