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Fairy tales do come true

Those who love deeply never grow old

Posted: October 19, 2008 7:44 p.m.
Updated: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Anthony Tozzi and Nancy Alexandra Tozzi stand together at the gazebo where they exchanged their vows. Their marriage took place at The Odyssey in Granada Hills on Oct. 10.

 

Nancy Alexandra Webb walked on the rose-peddled ground to meet her fiance, William Anthony Tozzi, who stood at the gazebo. Her long, soft pink wedding gown dragged slightly behind her, and her tiara sparkled under the clear October sky, as her two sons escorted her down the aisle. The voices of the bride and groom, singing the song "The Keeper of the Stars," filled the ears of all who attended as they gazed on their glowing faces.

"I've never seen a smile like that on grandma's face," the granddaughter of Alex Tozzi, Ashley Kessler,  said.

The bride and groom recorded the song together, a song they think represents their union. The Keeper of the Stars, a country tune by Tracy Byrd, is a ballad in which the singer addresses his lover, telling her that a third party must have been responsible for bringing them together. That third party is defined as being "the keeper of the stars."

Nancy Alexandra Webb, known as Alex to her friends and family, and William Anthony Tozzi, known as Bill, tied the knot at the Odyssey in Granada Hills on Oct. 10.

She is 76 years old, and he is 68.

Alex Tozzi has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1978 and is an active member in the community. She writes for "Golden Pen Writer's Guild," sings with the "Silver Tone Singers," and stimulates an appreciation of antiques and their collections with "Questers."

Bill Tozzi lived in Chicago and was also involved in his community, participating in "Kiwanis," a global organization of volunteers emphasizing service to children and youth.

With one in Santa Clarita, and the other in Chicago, how did this love affair begin?

Alex and Bill Tozzi met online. Not through a dating Web site, but through a poetry one. They both wrote and submitted their poems to a Web site group called P.O.E.M.S. The group was an international network of poetry writers that would send their own work to one another, often asking for feedback. Poets from Europe, Canada and Australia subscribed to the group.

Alex Tozzi and Bill Tozzi have known each other through their poetry for years.

When Alex Tozzi's husband, Jack Webb, passed away, she wrote a poem in his memory and send it out to the list serve. Bill Tozzi responded to it, not only offering feedback on her poem, but also offering his condolences on her loss. They started to e-mail one another back and forth, exchanging stories about themselves, their family, and various lessons learned in life. Their conversations moved to instant messaging, and then eventually to phone calls.

"We would talk for hours every night," Alex Tozzi said.

Through these conversations, and through their love and appreciation for poetry, romantic sparks started to ignite.

Their first embrace
Alex's family lives all across America and she travels extensively every year to visit her loved ones. Her sister lives in Florida, one of her sons lives in Salt Lake City, a second son in Phoenix, a daughter in Seattle, and another daughter in Santa Clarita. Alex refuses to travel by plane and therefore drives to each location, usually by herself.

In 2006, she made a trip to visit her sister in Florida ,and upon hearing the news Bill took it as an opportunity for them to finally meet face to face. He asked her if she would be interested in stopping by Chicago so that he could take her out to dinner, despite the fact that Chicago was not conveniently located on her route back to California from Florida.

"I realized it was a bit out of the way," Bill Tozzi said, but he had to ask.

"I was so taken with him over the Internet and phone, I didn't feel it was out of my way at all," Alex Tozzi said.

She drove to Chicago, and with slight butterflies in both of their stomachs, they went on their first date.

"When I met him, I instantly fell in love," Alex Tozzi said. "I was very sad to leave him for California."

Alex Tozzi returned to life in Santa Clarita, and continued her relationship with Bill Tozzi via phone and computer.

One day, as they spoke over the phone, Bill Tozzi proposed.

"I cried," Alex Tozzi said. "And said ‘yes'."

With more than 2,000 miles in between them, a long distance marriage was undesirable for both Alex and Bill.

"Would you move out here? I have my children and grandchildren on this side [of the country]," she asked.

"Yes of course I'll move out there for you," he said without hesitation.

Not too long after, Bill Tozzi packed his belongings into his car and hit the road to Santa Clarita.

The timing of his arrival couldn't have been better. Bill Tozzi arrived a few days before Alex Tozzi's 75th birthday party. With all of her friends and family attending, it was the perfect opportunity for them to meet Bill, and get aquainted with their new love.

"He is a gentle spirit. Kind. Romantic in the pure sense of the world romantic," Alex's daughter, Summer O'Brien. "He is totally in love with my mom."

"It's inspiring to see a couple of their age experience romance," Alex's granddaughter said.

"Anyone can express their love with words," O'Brien said, "but you have to back it up with your actions to make it real. And Bill does that."

After a few months of living together, they decided to get rings for their engagement. When they exited the store, Bill proposed again.

"Will you be mine forever?" he asked, as he slid the ring on her finger.

"It wasn't this big, romantic thing, but it was special to me," she said.

Last April, they took a road trip together to Chicago so Alex can meet Bill's family before the wedding.

"They already started calling me ‘future sister-in-law," Alex said. "They welcomed me with open arms."

And they say ‘I do'
The union between Alex and Bill is as natural as breathing. Neither the bride or groom were nervous on their big day.

"I wasn't nervous because I'm such a ham," Alex said. With prior experience on stages and performing, "I just pretended to be in a show. I loved it," .

"I wasn't nervous either," Bill said.

The only thing that worried the couple was the chance of wind, a natural fear for anyone who planned an outside wedding.

Lucky for the pair, the wind decided to take a break, answering Alex's prayers for good weather.

"I prayed and prayed for it to not be windy," Alex said. "The weather report said it would be, but God answered my prayers and put the wind on pause."

With no wind and clear skies joined by family and friends, their wedding was beyond successful.

"It was like a fairy tale," Bill said.

"My family and friends made it. It was wonderful to share our day with them," Alex said. "They showed a lot of love by attending."

There wasn't a dry eye during the wedding as attendees witnessed the joy and happiness at the union of the senior couple.

"Their love is so true. It's what made the wedding so special since in essence, its what marriage is all about," Alex's daughter Summer O'Brien said.

Poetry brought these two love birds together, and poetry continues to keep their love on fire. Once Bill moved to California, in addition to joining the Kiwanis Santa Clarita Chapter, he also joined Alex in her writing and singing groups.

"We write together, and sing together," Alex said.

Both of these passions were illuminated throughout the celebration. Guests were invited to read the newly married couple's poems in a booklet that was found on each table and family members sang songs throughout.

"Having my granddaughters sing was so special," Alex said.

Kessler, one of Alex's granddaughters who sang during the wedding, thinks their matchmaker made an excellent choice.

"It's nice to see her be with someone who is a good match for her," she said. "At their age, most people have their set routine and are unwilling to change. It's rewarding to watch [Alex and Bill] because they don't do that. It's very unique."

O'Brien shares her daughters excitement and enthusiasm in her mother's new union.

"They represent a hope for the elderly that they can find true love," she said.

Who said fairy tales don't come true?

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