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A Surprise Gift for a Widowed Husband

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2023 3:02 am

A Surprise Gift for a Widowed Husband

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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February 9, 2023 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Tom and Lillian Lyons married in 1946. They lived a long and loving life raising a family on the south side of Chicago. Lillian was singing opera professionally when she and Tom met, and it was her voice that first made Tom fall in love.  After Lillian’s death, an unexpected discovery would reunite Tom with Lillian’s voice on Tom’s 97th birthday for one last song.

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Say free this week into your Xfinity voice remote. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. This next story comes to us from the south suburbs of Chicago. Tom Lyons met his wife Lillian back in 1946 and they remained married until the love of Tom's life passed in 2020.

Lillian who was an opera singer in Chicago for 18 years was 91 when she passed. On Tom's 97th birthday he received a gift from his son Jarlick that words alone cannot describe. This is the story of that gift an unearthed treasure that brought joy and life to his father and for just a moment through the magic of technology and art brought a bit of heaven to earth.

Here's Jarlick to tell this remarkable story you'll also hear from Jarlick's father Tom. I was back in town for memorial for my mom along with everyone else in the family that we had postponed at least once or twice because she had died earlier in COVID and we were not able to do that. Now the memorial is over everyone's gone home I'm sticking around with my dad and trying to figure out what can I do to help and I'm just trying to organize some things in the basement see what I can get rid of and I noticed a large pile of records and I thought oh I should I should be able to get rid of most of these and so as I'm figuring out what to give away a few records jumped out at me because they were 78s which are unique and old the other was that they didn't have commercial labels on them they had some kind of a label that was to be filled out so it made me wonder if they were some kind of custom recordings. I did set them aside and and I asked my dad about them later and he said you know I'm not sure so I put them on an old turntable that we had that was in really really poor condition it required a lot of thumb pressure to get through these series of skips on the record but I was able to tease out a voice I recognized and it sounded just like my mom. My mom had been a professional singer for years and so we grew up listening to her all the time so a very recognizable voice she sounded quite young and so I asked my dad about this I said well what are these records do you know anything about them and he said you know I think that they might be the recordings of a chorus we put together back in the St. Leo parish right after I got back from World War II and it turns out that there was a I don't know a four or five hundred young people had had joined a social club in that parish my dad was asked to try to put together a chorus out of that group so he raised his hand said I can do that and he started looking for recruits and somewhere along the line he was introduced to my mom who was happy to accept the invitation to join the chorus and not not too long after that he was introduced to her voice and she came to one of our meetings we always asked for a little entertainment if anybody could sing or tap dance or play the piano or do some read a poem whatever we asked for volunteers for entertainment well a friend of Lillian's was there too and she knew that Lillian could sing and she said come on Lillian you sing and she got up and she sang the Ave Maria and it blew me away I had never heard anything like it I never heard a song like that before in my life and I thought my my why why oh what what is happening here what is happening after that meeting where Lillian sang the Ave Maria Ave Maria I continued to drive her to the meetings for the young people's club that we had and month after month I grew to know her better and better and it didn't take me long to realize that I had finally found the one that that I would really like to be with for the rest of my life so I've got these old old very scratched records and I've got a lousy turntable and so I know I need I need help so I I reached to our neighbor who our go-to guy for my everything that my dad needs and he mentioned that he had a friend in the neighborhood with a sound studio which sounded much better than anything I had thought of we were able to gather up the records and I was able to get them to my neighbor who would be able to get them to the sound studio and I was able to order some headphones off Amazon make sure they were there in time and my sister had her phone so she could hook it all up and at just the right magic moment she was able to hand the headphones to my dad on his birthday so he could hear my mom sing fast forward to my 97th birthday in October on my daughter Regina came over with a pair of earphones and put them on me and lo and behold I heard Lillian singing the Ave Maria I was able to listen to Lillian's voice so very clearly it was the most beautiful sound that anybody could have on any birthday ever ever ever and what a beautiful story and that neighbor by the way was the producer of that piece John Elfner the Ave Maria is one of the most recognizable and well-known prayers throughout the western world the most memorable version for Tom Lyons is Lillian's the story of a precious gift here on Our American Stories Lee Habib here the host of Our American Stories every day on this show we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country stories from our big cities and small towns but we truly can't do the show without you our stories are free to listen to but they're not free to make if you love what you hear go to our and click the donate button give a little give a lot go to our and give this February Xfinity Flex is unlocking premium entertainment for you to try every single week no strings attached celebrate during Black History Month with shows like Unsung the Decades snuggle up during Valentine's Day with a Lifetime Movie Club pick like Harry and Meghan A Royal Romance or crank up the action with Godfather of Harlem from MGM Plus get down and funky with the classic soul playlist from I Heart Radio easily discover new free content each week across the best streaming app say free 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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-09 04:24:38 / 2023-02-09 04:28:34 / 4

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