Today’s song is ‘Cara Mia’. This is a popular song that was published in 1954. It became a UK Number 1 and US Number 10 hit and Gold Record for English singer David Whitfield in 1954. It was also released by the American rock group Jay and the Americans in 1965 and reached Number 4. Jay & The Americans' version went into the charts in the Netherlands when it was re-released in 1980. The title means "My beloved" in Italian.
The English singer, David Whitfield, first recorded the song with the Mantovani Orchestra in 1954. This recording made the charts in the United States, and in the United Kingdom it was the first record to spend ten consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the ‘UK Singles Chart’. Whitfield's version was one of the biggest selling British records in the pre-rock days. It sold more than three and a half million copies worldwide and was a Top Ten hit in America. Authorship of the song was credited to Tulio Trapani.
I first heard this song when I was a patient in the ‘Batley General Hospital’ in 1954 (long since closed), having incurred a very bad accident which left me with several life-threatening conditions (including a badly damaged spine) and the probability of never walking again. It was sung by the nation’s heartthrob, David Whitfield. He sang with such force and gusto; it ruffled the ward curtains as Whitfield’s voice boomed along the corridor. I think that was probably the moment when I fell in love with everything Italian. When the words ‘Cara Mia’ tripped off Whitfield’s tongue they seemed to resonate in my imagination with everything that had ever been associated with love and being in love. I didn’t know at the time precisely what they meant, but whatever ‘Cara Mia’ meant, I wanted some of it and second helpings! For the remainder of that week, I kept repeating the word, trying to sound fluently Italian as I sounded out the words, “Cara Mia! Cara Mia! Cara Mia! Mama Mia!”
I dedicate my song today to my Facebook friend, Lilian Lockhart from Mentana in Rome, whose 80th birthday it is today. Today, Lilian, I sing for you the song, ‘Cara Mia’ which I believe translates to the term ‘My Beloved’. Although we haven’t met, Lilian (although we once nearly did when Sheila and I spent two weeks travelling through Italy during 2018), your frequent messages and daily entries on your Facebook page reveals you to be a loving family woman, a lady with an astute social conscious; and someone who is happy to place their life and trust in God and their love in their fellow beings.
Even your earlier occupation for over twenty years as a Ward Sister at the ‘Clinica Quisisana’, in Rome identifies you as being someone whose natural inclination is to care for others and to protect and help the sick. I know that for many years now, you have loved, cared for and given 24-hour attention daily to your poorly husband who has Alzheimer's. You are an inspiration to all of us as your goodness shines out of you and down on us as does the mid-day sun. I know you as the woman from Rome who has always prayed for me ever since I incurred a terminal blood cancer.
Were they one thing I could easily see you being, it would be one of those rare adults who still has a great deal of that loving and innocent child in her. This assumption of mine is borne out by Lilian’s own Facebook entry of September 25th 2019 when she wrote on her Facebook page about the most beautiful of birthday presents she once received.
Lilian wrote: “One of the most beautiful birthday presents I ever received in my life was when two enclosed nuns gave me a box, and inside was a little pram made out of a matchbox with a tiny doll. Written outside were the words, ‘Just to remind you how old you are.’ Lilian said that she was 15 years old at the time of receiving the present from the nuns, Sister Magdalene and Sister Paul. Even then, these two sisters of Christ could see the innocence and love inside this 15-year-old girl.
Lilian you truly are ‘My Beloved’, my ‘Cara Mia’, Have a lovely birthday. Love to you and all your family. Bill and Sheila x
Love and peace Bill xxx