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My Valentine's Love Story

FIRST-PERSON

Posted: February 9, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 9, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Gil and Cheryl Murphy on their wedding day Aug. 25, 1962. Courtesy photo

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I was just back from a tour of duty in the Far East with the U.S. Marines and stationed at Marine Corps Air Facility in Tustin, CA for the remainder of my enlistment.

The local assignment allowed me to spend time at my parent’s home in Burbank for a few days around Christmas. My sister, Gayle, who was born on my second birthday, was home from Bob Jones University in South Carolina.

Gayle was dating Kraig Kelly who was also home for the holidays from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, when the two of them conjured up an idea to get his 17 year old sister, Cheryl, together with her 21-year old brother Gil – me.

My sister approached me with the idea, but I didn’t like the idea that Cheryl was so young. I agreed to meet her only as long as she Cheryl came up to our home.

Kraig approached his sister and she didn’t like the idea that I was 21, but she finally agreed to meet me. She also, however, called her girlfriend and said “come pick me up at 10 p.m., just in case I don’t like him.”

On Christmas that night in 1961, the four of us met at my home and I showed 8mm movies of me racing my 1959 Triumph motorcycle at a deserted airstrip on Okinawa and flying helicopters on and off aircraft carriers in the South Pacific.

Cheryl was bored to death. Her girlfriend, as promised, came to pick her up at 10 p.m. and I walked Cheryl to the front door.

Just then I realized what a fool I had been and…how beautiful Cheryl was. Before she left, I apologized for a boring evening.

“Why don’t I take you to a nice dinner and show in Hollywood next weekend?” I asked.

Cheryl accepted.

That next weekend, we went to Hollywood to dinner and a show and that night . . . we fell in love! We fell madly in love, and I came home as many weekends as I could when I didn’t have duty.

On Feb. 25,1962I took Cheryl to a most beautiful Malibu restaurant and a table overlooking the ocean with waves crashing just below us. I had arranged for a trio of violinists to stop at our table and play a soft love song.

After dinner, as we walked to my car, a 1959 Corvette that she loved; I opened the passenger side door, got down on my knees, produced a beautiful engagement ring and asked her to marry me.

With tears in her eyes, she said yes and we were engaged!

We planned a large church wedding and set the date for Aug. 25, 1962. On August 25th we were married at Valley Baptist Church in Burbank in front of a couple hundred people.

The years passed and together we had three children who all grew up in Burbank, and married their high school sweethearts. Each of our children went on to have three children of their own – giving us nine grandchildren.

Today, all of us live in Santa Clarita within one mile of one another; and all of our children are still married to their original love.

This story is in memory of my wonderful wife Cheryl who died on Aug. 17, 2013 after an eight-month battle with cancer. I lost her eight days shy of what would have been our 51st wedding anniversary.

Thank you for doing this so quickly and for your continual communication. I live in Saugus just up the hill from Copperhill.

Editor’s Note: Gil Murphy and his wife Cheryl moved to Santa Clarita to be near all three of their children who had moved out here.

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