Cynthia and Bill Collins, seen here with their granddaughters, will celebrate their 36th anniversary on Valentine's Day. (courtesy photo)
Valentine's Day anniversary
By John Gregory

St. Valentine's Day is a special day for couples throughout Scripps Ranch, but it is super-special for Bill and Cynthia Collins because they were married on Valentine's Day, 36 years ago.

These two will celebrate their anniversary with many fond memories, some of which Cynthia shared recently.

First of all, they became engaged in a rather casual setting even though they were dressed nicely. It was June 1981, shortly after graduating from San Diego State University. They just had their photos taken as a couple at a studio and were dining at the old Boll Weevil restaurant that used to be on Miramar Road, Cynthia explained.

"We were eating hamburgers all dressed up and he (Bill) said, 'What do you think about getting married like in April?'" She said. "I had just taken a bite out of a hamburger and I said, 'What did you just say?'"

While Bill suggested that April would be a good month for their wedding, Cynthia thought that President's Weekend in February would be better since it would include some days off. She was thinking it would be better for her three young sisters who were still in school at the time.

The couple considered Feb. 13 as a wedding day, but Cynthia said she didn't want to ever celebrate her anniversary on Friday the 13th, so they agreed on the 14th.

"Then we just kept eating our hamburgers at Boll Weevil," she chuckled. "That was it. No ring, no proposal, no family, no on the knee thing."

So, the date was set for Feb. 14, 1982 at St. Cyprian Catholic Church near Long Beach. But, as is often the case on wedding days, the day did not go off without a hitch.

Cynthia grew up in nearby Compton and her mother ordered the wedding flowers from a florist in Compton.

"Apparently, on the way, the van got shot at with all our flowers and they never made it to our wedding," she said. 

Cynthia stated that she didn't cry as she was waiting, but was thinking that this was something that people only hear about in stories.

"I looked at everyone and said, 'Of course, this would happen to me.'" She laughed.

The problem was solved thanks to the time of year and the fact that a funeral service had been held at the church the previous Friday. The priest, knowing that flowers would not be permitted on the altar beyond that upcoming Ash Wednesday, allowed the wedding party to make good use of the funeral flowers left at the church. Cynthia had a very large wedding party, so the flowers were allocated sparingly. Each bridesmaid was given one carnation to carry. Both Cynthia and her flower girl carried one bow and two carnations each, and the ceremony carried out successfully.

While it wasn't exactly perfect, Bill and Cynthia were married on that St. Valentine's Day in 1982, a day that will always remain especially meaningful for them throughout the years.