Back in 1950, then 28-year-old Howard Attebery met 18-year-old college student Cynthia Riggs in California. Cynthia worked a summer job at a geology lab and Howie was one of her co-workers. Using a simple code Cynthia’s father had taught her after World War II, which replaced each letter in the alphabet with its successor, they sent each other messages written on paper towels. Howie had fallen for Cynthia, but she viewed the gentleman 10 years her elder more as a big brother type.

After the summer that year, Cynthia returned home to the east coast to be with her boyfriend. 28yo Howard Attebery had fallen in love with a woman he would not contact again for 62 years. So let’s fast forward to 2012!
In 2012, Howie was 90 years old and living in San Diego, California. For some reason, he decided to send Cynthia the coded messages she had written to him back in 1950. With the envelope sent to her home in Martha’s Vineyard, he also included a very special message from him. A coded, “I have never stopped loving you.”

When 80yo Cynthia Riggs received the envelope, the accomplished author and bed & breakfast owner had no idea how to respond. She asked her writers group for advice and came up with a simple thank you note to send back. It quickly turned into an exchange of letters about their past and present lives, and later e-mails about the same. They shared stories about their marriages, divorces, children, and more. There is a lot to talk about with a familiar stranger after 62 years!
Howie sent the first letter in February of 2012 and Cynthia was ready to go visit him by May of that year. 90yo Howie has more game than most 25yo dudes! So Cynthia went to visit Howie in San Diego, California, where he owned a house overlooking Tecolote Canyon.

After greeting Cynthia with a red rose and a message for her written in their code, “Hugs, kisses, and passion,” Howie took her back to his place and wasted no time asking her to marry him. It took him about an hour! And of course she said yes.

By 2013, the couple had moved to Martha’s Vineyard together and got married. For their honeymoon, the newlyweds took a paddlewheeler down the Mississippi River. Each day for these two is filled with romance. They know their time together is limited, so they make the most out of it. More people should live like this regardless of their age!
We wish Howard and Cynthia all the best!
 
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