The story told in the Nicholas Sparks book and film, The Notebook, is a tale of love enduring against all odds. The two main characters, Noah and Ally meet at a carnival in their hometown when they were young adults. The pairs falls in love almost immediately, but they were separated when Ally’s mother doesn’t approve of the relationship. Undeterred, Noah holds a candle for Ally, hoping to one day find her again and win her over, despite the many unanswered letters he wrote for her when he was off fighting in World War II. The two are eventually reunited, declaring their undying love for one another. The story is intercut with an elderly Noah who is telling the story to his ailing wife Ally as she gradually loses her memory. The film ends with the pair dying hand in hand, one after the other.
While the idea of a couple being so deeply connected to one another seems like it could only happen in fiction, there have been several stories of couples who spend their years so deeply in love that they have died hand in hand. One California couple, Floyd and Violet Hartwig lived a real life version of the story told in The Notebook. Though they met as children in elementary school, their romance didn’t begin until Floyd was on shore leave from the Navy, following his service in World War II. Because Floyd had to ship out shortly after reacquainting himself with Violet, or ‘Vi’ as he called her, the two struck up a written correspondence in order to stay connected until Floyd was discharged.
The two managed to live a happy, simple life in the California countryside, working the land side by side for over 67 years. They raised three children, who gave them grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which was all Floyd and Violet could have asked for. As they neared the end of their days, their children realized, however, that the pair would be more comfortable if they stayed together, even when they couldn’t speak. Pushing their hospital beds together for their final moments, the couple died hand in hand, just like Hollywood. In her grief, however, their daughter had a revelation about her parents that she had never realized before.