Fred Stobaugh was neck-deep in grief after losing the love of his life. Then he read about an online songwriting contest. Something about it reached Fred, who isn’t actually all that musical, and moved him to write a tribute.
There was just one hitch: Fred is 96 years old, and he doesn’t use the Internet.
No matter. He scrawled his song on paper and mailed it in a big envelope.
“We didn’t quite expect an entry like Fred’s,” says producer Jacob Colgan in a Green Shoe Studio video. The studio, based in East Peoria, Illinois, had asked contestants to upload videos to YouTube and send them the links. No wonder Fred’s submission stood out.
Fred had plenty to say about his departed wife, Lorraine. After all, they spent 75 years together – two dating, and 73 married. “Listening to the lyrics, and the passion behind the lyrics… it was just so heartwarming,” Colgan says. So, even though the song didn’t meet the contest requirements, the studio made the decision to transform the lyrics into a real, professional song – at no charge. When they told Fred, he cried. “Music means so much to so many people,” says Colgan.
“I wish we could do all the good times over again,” the lyrics of the song, called “Sweet Lorraine,” read in part.
Fred says the song – you can hear it at this link or buy it on iTunes – is helping him through his mourning. “It just seemed like she’s just sort of with me… She’s smiling down, and she likes that song, I know.”