'We hope that our story inspires not only the older generation, but the younger generation. It shows you can find love in every chapter of your life.'
It was the perfect first date. They wandered around the exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, enthusiastically chatting about their favorite artists before heading off for lunch. "It turned out to be a very good lunch," Ralph Insinger told Insider. His path crossing with that of his now-wife, Roz Lewy, had been serendipity at its finest. They may have never met if not for Lewy's daughter Karen inviting her to tag along for lunch with her charismatic white-haired client while the retired English teacher was visiting from her hometown of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to spend time with her close family.
Here's a feel-good story for everyone today: These two fell in love in their 80s after months of sending long emails to each other https://t.co/VcvnTylhAv— Conz Preti (@conz) October 5, 2022
"She said that he reminded her of her father," recalled Lewy, who was then a 77-year-old widow. Lewy felt the same when she shook hands with Insinger, a widower who was six years her senior. As for him, he admitted his "heart was beating faster" when he first laid eyes on her. That day marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship that would soon bloom into romance and a commitment to spend the rest of their lives together. Despite living 1,500 miles apart at the time, the pair got to know each other better by exchanging hundreds of witty and poetic emails.
Now, more than 200 of their digital love letters have been immortalized in the recently published book Beyond Beyond: A Chance Encounter, an Online Courtship, and the Language of Love. According to Insinger, the first part of their book title was inspired by a catchphrase of Lewy's. "When she is happy or excited about something, she'll say, 'It's beyond beyond,'" he said, revealing that she would frequently use it in their correspondence. Over the course of their courtship, the pair shared everything from a step-by-step guide to "tape" TV shows to their hobbies and the cultural interests they had in common.
"I would come home in the evening and the first thing I'd do was get out my computer," shared Insinger, a former architect. "I'd look at my inbox and see what Roz had written for the day." In February 2019, he flew to Florida for a brief visit. "We went to places, eating out together, and simply chatting," Insinger said. "It was such a warm experience that, after I left, I realized that there was more there than just friendship." Over time, the emails began to get a little flirty, coming up with nicknames for each other like Presch—short for precious—Gadfly, Patriot and Squeaky Clean.
"I had spent my widowhood feeling that I was independent and didn't really need to seek another mate," Lewy said. However, it was undeniable that there was "chemistry between us," she added. "Ralph is romantic and poetical. He absolutely won me over very quickly." Lewy admitted she was charmed when Insinger mailed her a still-life sketch that he'd done for her. "I am awash with your creativity and thoughtfulness that leaves me speechless," she wrote in her next email. "Deep sighs seem to be the only elicited sounds in this beautiful silence."
Soon after acknowledging their love, the couple decided "to spend the time they had left together." They had a low-key commitment ceremony in September 2020, attended only by close family members, and now divide their time between Massachusetts and Florida. Lewy revealed that their book came to be after she showed some of their emails to a friend, who was charmed by the content and contacted a publisher. "We hope that our story inspires not only the older generation but the younger generation," said Lewy, who is now 81. "It shows that you can find love in every chapter of your life."