Los Angeles, California
John Patrick Hanna Bench
INTENDED FOR OCCUPANCY BY COUPLES OF MARRIAGEABLE AGE AND WITH REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS THAT THEIR PRESENT RELATIONSHIP MAY LEAD TO HOLY MATRIMONY AND THAT IN THIS BEAUTIFUL SETTING THEY MAY SERIOUSLY DISCUSS MATTERS OF MUTUAL INTEREST.
To Marry or not to Marry?
The above picture is the view of the Pacific Ocean from the John Patrick Hanna Bench on the bluffs of the Loyola University Campus in Westchester, California.
Historic Loyola Marymount University Bench
Sets Long-lost Lovers on Path to Altar
by Christina La Russa
Many lovers stroll along the bluffs at Loyola Marymount University. Hand in hand they take in the bright lights and big city.
Perfectly situated near the bluffs is an unassuming wooden bench, its green paint faded to chalky brown. The bench, between Sacred Heart Chapel and Xavier Hall on the Westchester Campus, could comfortably fit three or four people. But it is more appropriate for two.
It might well go unnoticed, like the half-dozen others that along a well-worn trail by the bluffs, except for its folklore. For students and faculty and even nearby residents, it's the sweetheart bench, where, on several occasions, a man has fallen to bended knee, taken his lover's hand and asked for marriage.
A plaque just behind the smooth bench spells out the intentions of any who sit there: "Occupancy by couples of marriageable age with reasonable expectancy that their present relationship may lead to hold matrimony and that in this beautiful setting they may seriously discuss matters of mutual interest.
The most recent proposal came in December. A 71-year-old man proposed to his 71-year-old girlfriend. Today, more than 56 years after they met in high school in a small Minnesota town, they are husband and wife.
Such stories passed through the decades keep this romantic legend spinning.
Meetings on the bluffs
The bench's loving beginnings came in the late 1930s when John Patrick Hanna, a Loyola football star, often met his girlfriend, Majory, in the bluffs. No one is sure if there was a bench then. Maybe there was just grass. But the view was as incredible then as it is today.
Joseph Leggett, Hanna's classmate, could always find his close friend and his girl at the spot.
"They would be smooching, and it was in such a beautiful setting," Leggett recalled.
By late 1939 Hanna and Leggett left their studies for WWII.
When Hanna returned, he married Majory, became a teacher at Taft High School in Encino and raised 11 children.