Barbara Dunay’s name has been on the same mailbox in the same apartment building in her Beacon Hill neighborhood since she moved there in the late 1960s. It is the place she calls home. Recently, she admitted quite candidly that for several years she had been eyeing another location nearby. Barbara imagined what it might be like to have her name displayed on a plaque there, and as she frequently read names of others in the vicinity, she wondered how they made it happen. It was a bench! “I always thought the cost would be prohibitive, but it was actually very reasonable,” said Barbara. The cost may have been especially reasonable considering that this particular bench was made somewhat famous in the movie Good Will Hunting.
In 2013, Barbara bumped into a neighbor in her building and the conversation turned to the benches in the Public Garden that she couldn’t get off her mind – the views of the lagoon were fantastic. Lucky for her, that neighbor was Steve TenBarge, who last spring began working as a Staff Accountant for the Friends of the Public Garden; he had the answers she was looking for. He told her of the Tree and Bench Sponsorship Program which offers the public the opportunity to take part in the stewardship of the parks the Friends supports – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Several months later, Barbara’s new plaque was placed in front of the bench she selected in the PublicGarden, where her name will be displayed for the next 15 years. The inscription: A place for Barbara and her pups to pause,” in memory of the dogs who often accompanied her through the years on strolls through the Garden. Her current dog Kobe, a rescue from the Animal Rescue League of Boston, seems to be happy with her choice.