Sunday, May 16, 2021

Locks of Love or Not?

Examples of love locks
Who thinks that a padlock on a chain link fence locks people in love?

The love lock fad has spread throughout Europe and across the globe, including here in the U.S.

Many couples seem to feel that the ultimate symbol of romance is to carve, write, or engrave their names on a padlock, clamp it to a bridge and throw the key into the water. Supposedly, this locks the couple together. The only way to sever the love bond is to retrieve the key and remove the lock. Remember, it's been tossed into a waterway, so there's slim to no chance of retrieval.

As for ourselves, we don't buy into this romantic fantasy which is akin to metal litter. We certainly don't need a lock for prove ❤️ after many years of togetherness. 
Us in much earlier years
That's because today, we're marking a year short of 25 years together. It's not our wedding anniversary that's 22 years in August. Instead, May 16 is the anniversary not only of our 1st date, but of our first in person meet-up.
A look back to other early days after we met
As some regular readers of this blog, may or may not know, we met online and emailed for several months — message exchanges only, no phone calls. This was way before the days of online social media, remember this was nearly 25 years ago and more like the exchanges between Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) in the film You've Got Mail. As for 
love locks, our favorites are kissing and hand holding (no further details here). 

Federico Moccia
Who's to blame for the love locks fad ?
Federico Moccia, an Italian writer, screenwriter, and film director has been credited to his 2006 novel, Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You) in which two young lovers secure a padlock to a street lamp on the Ponte Milvio bridge, then toss the key in the Tiber River, citing a legend that couples who do so will never break up. The 58-year old author, publicly took credit for putting the first lock on that historic bridge in northern Rome, Italy. 

Of course, couples flocked to follow his example (sort of like sheep) and placed padlocks on lamp posts and railings on the Ponte Milvio, throwing lock keys into the Tiber. Less than 10 years later, the lamp post partially collapsed due to the weight of the locks on  much of the bridge. City officials cut off the locks after fines didn't deter additions, but more have been added in the years since.

Which goes to show that too much togetherness can cause collapses, perhaps for many of those relationships too. Okay, back to the padlocks which, after time, don’t do well in the elements. Rusted metal spreads which can then lead to rusted bridges which jeopardizes their stability. Many popular love lock sites have been on more vulnerable historic bridges. Then, there's all the waterways that collect those rusting metal keys that are impossible to salvage. 

Locks removed from Pont des Arts (Internet)
Paris, the city of love, made headlines in June 2014, when a railing on 
the Pont des Arts buckled under the weight of several thousand locks. The bridge was temporarily closed and the city started removing locks. As in Rome, locks have been added since the removals. 

The Paris incident made this trend front page news in cities that earlier had considered it harmless romanticism. Love locks have proliferated and many municipal authorities regard them as litter or vandalism, and there's always a cost to the removal. Other cities turned the trend into a fundraiser or tourist attraction. 

And, it's here in New England as well. This was what we recently saw in a Portsmouth, NH, park along a stretch of river fencing. It was the first installation we had ever seen.
Love Locks in Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH
There were dozens of padlocks on these chain link fences. Many, but not all, bore the names and/or initials (or both) of couples, either engaged or married and many had significant dates included as well. 
Prescott Park is a 10-acre waterfront park along the Piscataqua River in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. This was a run-down industrial area until Josie and Sarah Prescott purchased the land in 1940 and donated it to the city as a free public waterfront park. 
On a chilly and overcast day, too early for blooms and fountains, looking at and reading the lock engravings made this fence a point of interest. The fencing has not yet been completely obscured by the padlocks. 
The Portsmouth Love Wall was created by local artist Dylan Haigh, owner of a downtown design firm who said that the location was chosen as it is in the parking area, off the main concourse and does not interfere with the park's gardens and fountains. While there's been some local opposers, Haigh claims that supporters outnumber them. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Reading about and seeing these so-called examples of love, I couldn't help but wonder what poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning would have made of these declarations of undying love

Ms. Browning expressed the concept of love very simply and eloquently in her renowned Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, a collection of 44 love sonnets. (This poem is in the public domain.)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

As for ourselves, we are not installing a padlock on a bridge or fence to prove our love. In nearly a quarter of a century together, it's very probable that's been longer than many couples who have placed a love lock. Instead, we're going on a(nother) New England getaway.
We're Best Friends Forever (from our Boyds Bears collection)
How about you — Are anniversary celebrations (any type) something you do as well?


MadSnapper said...

The only thing I have heard of what you put here is that there is a lot of places with the locks on them because I saw a couple of them on Facebook but I did not know to the extent of it how much of it there is. And I also had not thought about the damage it could do to Bridges. Happy anniversary of your first date and congratulations on a quarter-century together. Now I'm off to do some research because I see about four locks that I have never seen before the two that are shaped like fish and the I did not know that you can get locks that look like that I've only ever seen the regular locks

Marcia said...

A bridge over the Rhine was the first place we saw lock of love. Later we saw them in Harpers Ferry, WV on a railroad bridge that also had the Appalachian Trail on it. Crazy thing to do, I think.

No get aways planned here yet. Too much to do to the house and yard.

Barbara Rogers said...

I haven't traveled that much, and apparently missed whatever bridges might have locks. Congrats on your anniversary! Love is so special.

acorn hollow said...

While I love the shaped locks I think it is a silly and destructive tradition. More stuff in the water is not really needed and the locks are a hazard after awhile. It takes patience, compromise, and hard work to keep a marriage going.
Congrats on 25 years my husband and I will be married 46 this fall. We were such young kids when we married and had no idea what we were in for.

Anvilcloud said...

We have never done that nor had the opportunity. It might be fun for a gesture, but now that I have read of the consequences, maybe not. Beside, who needs to or wants to follow the crowd?

Edna B said...

I love your Boyd Bears. 25 years is awesome!! I agree, it takes lots of work and devotion to keep a marriage strong. But in the end, it's all worth it. I've never seen any of those fences with locks but if I do, I'll know what they are now. Enjoy your outings, hugs, Edna B.

nick said...

Jenny and I have just celebrated the 40th anniversary of our meeting in a London bookshop where we both worked at the time. And like you, we don't need a love lock to prove we love each other! This love lock vandalism has spread all over the world and as you say is causing problems for the local authorities when the sheer weight of them damages whatever they're fastened to. Creating a special love wall someplace where it won't cause damage is a good idea. But why can't people see their dotty romantic gesture is just causing headaches for other people?

Jon said...

It's so sweet that you remember/celebrate your first date. That has as much sentimental meaning as a wedding anniversary.
I never heard of the love lock tradition - unique and quite unusual. Some of those locks on the fence look extremely old. I love the heart with the two doves (and also the fish).
I haven't heard the Browning poem in a long time. Thanks for sharing it.
Have a great day!

David said...

Beatrice, Despite our many trips in the USA, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, we've never seen a "love lock" installation. We did see a "shoe tree" at the north end of Vancouver Island... Our first meeting over 43 years ago was a blind date and we've never looked back. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Jeanie said...

Happy Meeting Day to you! Ah, the love locks. Eons ago, our Parisian friend not only told us we HAD to do a lock (not on Pont des Arts but another bridge), he went out and bought the lock and the marker to write our initials on and told us precisely where to go. That was fine and we had a jolly time doing it. Then a year or two or three later, when the Pont des Arts started to cave, we began to feel a bit terrible that we had contributed -- not to that but perhaps to another Parisian bridge. I never looked at it as a pledge of forever but as a fun, romantic thing to do in a romantic city and their "tradition," as encouraged by a Parisian. Who knew? But I have to admit, I did like leaving a part of us behind in Paris. Would I do it now? No. Am I glad I did it then? Well, a little bit.

Bijoux said...

I only knew about the Paris bridge. Our anniversary of the day we met is also in May. It’s been 37 years already. Time flies. Happy Anniversary to you both,❤️

William Kendall said...

I find love locks to be a visual blight.

DUTA said...

You two look lovely in the pictures! Congrats on the anniversary!
The fencing with the padlocks in Portsmouth is a peculiar sight; not my idea of love bond.
Anyway, it reminds me of a less harmful tradition, though a headache to the authorities - coins thrown in the Fontana di Trevi, Rome.

My name is Erika. said...

Those locks are fun to look at in your photos. There is quite a lot of variety. I haven't seen those in Portsmouth but then I haven't been down in that area for quite awhile. Interesting to read about the history of the locks too. Thanks for sharing Dorothy. And happy new week. Hugs-Erika

L. D. said...

Lots of locks for sure. I have a couple of the bears from my mom's stuff. I didn't know the name of the brand. Happy first day anniversary.

Rita said...

Wow! I didn't think about them doing damage. I just thought they were an eyesore--LOL! Interesting post. :)

Red said...

The padlock thing is very tacky. You had an interesting courtship.

Coastal Ripples said...

Congratulations on your anniversary and I’m not a big fan of of padlocks. Definitely metal litter we do not need. We celebrate our first going out together meeting every year, more so than our wedding anniversary. Forty six years this February. Have a good week. B x

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Some time ago I read a report that stated that over half of all marriages are dissolved after eight years, so there must be a lot of locks that are badly in need of being rekeyed!

LL Cool Joe said...

I wear a padlock around my neck on a chain sometimes but it's more a symbol of being trapped, not with my partner I might add.

Happy Anniversary!

Emma Springfield said...

I was just sure you were going to say at the end that you were going for ice cream. You always keep me guessing.

Michelle said...

Congrats on your anniversary! My husband and I aren't the type to put a padlock on a fence, either. Like you, we would much rather take a trip and enjoy the time together.

Rob K said...

Happy First In-Person Meeting Day!

Thanks for posting those lovely photos!

I confess I have never heard of this whole bridge lock thing, but after reading your post, I don't like it.

If something is damaging property and the environment you should cease and desist.

Enjoy your latest getaway!

Polly said...

I wouldnt do the lock thing, I think they look ugly, there are so many other much nicer ways of declaring love.

robin andrea said...

Happy anniversary to you and Grenville. Isn't it lovely to spend time with the one you love, make memories, and grow old together. Roger and I met 33 years ago and have literally been together ever since. This year will mark our 29th anniversary.
I would never do that padlock thing. It's crazy.

Karen Lakis said...

Happy anniversary! We don't have any anniversary traditions but try to celebrate each year. this year will be 40! I've seen the love locks, but like you will take a pass. It's sweet, I guess, but not something I feel I need.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Happy not-wedding-anniversary!! We saw a lock bridge when we were in Germany somewhere, which caused me to look up the origin and I read about the collapsing bridge in Paris. There's something about the whole "locked in love" thing that utterly creeps me out -- as if you couldn't escape even if you wanted to. (We've been together/married practically my whole life and I definitely don't want to escape, but I'm still here because I want to be, not because I'm locked in!). I like the sentiment on your bears! That's what it's all about. ...... As a newish blog friend I enjoyed learning some of your back-story. Is there a link to your archives? (I will look. Have been curious about your "pseudonyms" also!)

Linda G. said...

Our anniversary dates are close to each other. This past April 12th we celebrated 23 years of being together. Our 23rd wedding anniversary will be on Sept. 26th. We met online, too, and met in person for the first time on May 1st, 1998.

bill burke said...

I'm not a fan of the love locks but there are some cool ones there in the photo. This August we will celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary, how time flies by is incredible.

DeniseinVA said...

Congratulations you two, those are lovely photos you shared. As for the locks, must make the lock manufacturers very happy!

baili said...

this is such a lovely post dear Dorothy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy anniversary my friend ,may you see so many together ahead amen!

you both were such good looking couple ,thank you for sharing old beautiful photos ,i loved them so much!

Love for me is most inner and private thing and like you i would never try to lock it with metal thing as it belongs to soul not physique :)
best wishes for trip !

Christina said...

Happy Anniversary! I have seen bridges covered in locks, I think it might have been in Amsterdam. I didn't realise that so many locks could actually cause structural damage but thinking about it, it makes sense. Thanks for sharing so many locks, they were obviously custom made for couples. I am hopelessly practical (unromantic?) and would probably choose one from the hardware shop!

Linda said...

My husband and I also met online. It was 1998 and we were both on AOL.

Cynthia said...

Congratulations on the anniversary of your first meeting. A New England getaway sound like a nice way to celebrate. I’m not in favor of the love locks either, which, as they accumulate, begin to look like litter in public places. But you have found some photos of beautiful locks with style and class.
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