As a truly universal language, music has the power to connect people across cultures and ages, bringing together different generations and making lasting memories. Can this power be illustrated any better than by a loved one singing to a family member, to comfort them in their hour of need?
Despite Laura’s illness and blindness, along with Harry’s own hearing difficulties and mobility issues, the two manage to recreate bygone memories with a simple song: “You’ll Never Know,” as performed by Rosemary Clooney.
The video was taken by the family and posted online by granddaughter Erin Solari, where it touched millions of people who were moved by the soulmates. Solari wrote,”Our family prefers this version because everyone always said Grandma had a voice just like [Clooney’s].”
Harry and Laura met and fell in love in Chicago, Illinois. Harry served in the Armed Forces during World War II, which adds an extra level of meaning to their song. It originally appeared in the wartime movie “Hello, Frisco, Hello” and was sung by Alice Faye, who played a war bride waiting for her soldier to come home. Laura, too, felt comforted by that song when her husband was fighting on the other side of the world.
As Erin Solari wrote in the notes for the video, on YouTube:
“At family gatherings, it was not uncommon for the two of them to sing this song together, each taking a verse and serenading the other. In fact, after fifty years of marriage, they renewed their vows and performed this song as a duet for the entire family at the reception […]
“Moments before this video began, when Grandma heard that Grandpa was in the room, she asked if she could hold him. Grandpa cannot stand on his own, but he immediately pulled his wheelchair close to her bed ready to make it happen. My cousin, Serena, who is a physical therapist, helped him to his feet and held him up throughout the entire song.”
Harry’s serenade of the love of his life clearly had its intended effect. “Isn’t he sweet?” she tells the camera. “He likes me!” At the end of the song, Harry, who has been held up by one of Erin’s cousins, who is a physical therapist, finally gets to sit down in his wheelchair, but not before giving Laura a kiss.
The massive response to the video on the internet surprised Solari and her family. She added:
“After posting this video to Facebook, it began to go viral and all the outpouring of love lifted everyone’s spirits … including Grandma’s! They originally gave her just a week to live, but hospice eventually deemed her well enough to go back home to live out her remaining days”
Several months after the video was posted, Harry and Laura both passed away, just five days apart. “Our family misses them dearly and remembers them often!” Solari writes.
Besides the video, which garnered over 15 million views on YouTube, the couple left behind 9 children, 18 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.
Most of all, they left behind a legacy of love and music that will always play in the family members’ hearts when they think of Harry and Laura.
Video Credit: Jukin Media