LOCATION: Boston Public Garden. Boston, MA
Warning in advance that this post is the most vulnerable I’ve ever written.
Robin Williams is a legend. There is no questions about that. I first came across this amazing man’s work in 1990/1991 when Mork and Mindy aired on Nick at Night.
I was around 8 at the time and was entranced by the na-nu na-nu hand and the humor of Mork from Ork. A year later, Hook came out and I felt I really looked up to Robin in many ways. He was a hero for me.
I begged my parents to let me watch his older films like Good Morning Vietnam, which I couldn’t because it wasn’t appropriate. When I was in fourth grade, my English teacher asked us to write someone of importance in the hopes that they would return our letter. Mom and I went to the book store and found an addresses of the stars book and I was able to write Robin while many of my classmates wrote the President, local newscasters, or Congressmen. Over the year, so many of my peers had received their return letters while I sat and waited, and nothing came. The year ended and no letter from Robin. Upon entering my fifth year of school, the principle approached me the first day and said I had a letter come for me during the summer and they held it for today. I opened it and it was a signed photo from Robin! The photo was of him in Hook and it said “Happy Thoughts. Robin Williams.”
This photo would go on to be one of my most treasured possessions. I wrote him again later that year and received another signed photo from his movie Toys that said “Make fun, not war. Robin Williams.”
Ever since, he has always remained as my favorite actor and comedian. Once he came to Norfolk for a comedy show and offered meet and greets for $400. I didn’t end up going because that was way too expensive. Hind sight, I really wish I had.
Robin dealt a lot with depression and was very open about it. He was even quoted to say that “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
While, I was in no way going through what he was going through, right before he passed I was having a difficult time in my toxic relationship at the time and was questioning a lot of things. Then, August 11th, 2014 happened. When I heard about the suicide, I began to cry. This man I looked up to was gone and I felt empty. My boyfriend at the time knew how important Robin was for me and decided to make fun of me instead, explaining that crying for a celebrity was dumb and childish and I needed to get over it. It was in that moment that I knew I needed to break up with him. Significant others are supposed to support you and something as important as Robin was to me was completely dismissed as everything else that was important to me was dismissed as well. I left him two weeks later once I found more relationship problems to fuel the fire.
Cut to Marvel, my German Shepherd puppy. I had been looking for breeders for a few months and never found the right fit until I quite literally stumbled on a breeder in Hampton. The pups were due in the next week or so after I met them so I put my deposit down, and it just felt right. It was August 11th, 2016 and I was sad at work, reflecting on Robin’s life as I do every year on that date when suddenly I received an email saying “your baby girl was the first to be born.” Marvel was born, on the same day Robin had passed away and changed my life. To say just how much this puppy has changed my life this last year and made it better would be a complete understatement.
She brings me so much joy, comedy, love and protection. She is truly my best friend. For her to be born on a day that is important to me, I have always taken it as a sign that she was sent to me for some reason. Considering I’ve always wanted to visit the Good Will Hunting bench in Boston, I figured what better way to do it than with the dog that has inspired me this last year for her first birthday. I would want to celebrate the joy she’s given me, celebrate the memory of an amazing entertainer, and release the negativity I was holding on to from my past so that I could move forward in a beaming light. Plus, I just really LOVE Boston!
Marvel and I took the long drive up there from Virginia. I had plenty of time to reflect and think on things. As I got close to Providence/Boston area I was thinking about what this trip meant to me and if this was going to be good. I’m a big believer in signs and noticed a truck that said “Build with Williams” and I saw two signs for an exit to R. Williams Park. I really laughed when I passed a building with the logo “Peter-Pan”. I texted a friend to tell them about the synchronicity of everything when I got stuck in traffic with a Peter-Pan bus and a truck for a William’s company.
Talk about some major signs! This trip was going to be good.
We arrived early to Boston Public Garden, which is a large garden in the heart of downtown Boston established in 1837.
It was beautiful there and I highly recommend going if you make a trip to that area. I’ve been to Boston twice before and did not know about this gem. It was well worth the stop. There are several benches in the park, but in looking up a map, the Robin Williams Good Will Hunting bench is marked so you can find it. It is not, however, marked IN PERSON.
If you start from the Boston Public Garden gate entrance and walk straight you will cross a bridge. Immediately upon crossing, take the first path on the right which takes you to some benches along the pond.
The Robin Williams bench is located next to a light pole. When he passed in 2014, fans made this bench a Robin memorial.
Only today, there were no chalk phrases, there were no flowers, and there was no memory of him left for any jogger to pass by.
It felt a little weird idolizing this bench while I was there and I had a few people give me looks but this is something I wanted. I spent some time just sitting there and reflecting, tearing up a little even. Tearing up even now as I type this. I made sure to leave a little note for him, me, and anyone basically wanting to read it. I sort of wish I had written out a chalk memorial of some of his quotes, but the timing just wasn’t right.
Goodbye sweet Robin. Happy birthday Marvel: my best friend. Peace out toxic past and hello to wonderful and bright new beginnings! How you like them apples, huh?
WOULD I DO THIS AGAIN: Yes. I plan to visit again in the future for sure.