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The Daily Journal


February 15, 2008


By Heather Murtagh



A first and lasting Valentine



Standing at the alter, 21-year-old Pilar Calderon had a tear running down her face and a smile.

Moments later, with confidence she said, “I do,” becoming Mrs. Sammy Rendon.

In one moment, Sammy became Pilar’s husband and her first Valentine, ever.

The couple was one of many partaking in the weddings conducted at the San Mateo County Clerk’s Office every 30 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. yesterday marking Cupid’s day of mischief. For the Rendons yesterday marked many firsts — first kiss as husband and wife, first Valentine’s Day together and first day of the rest of their lives.

Things began just as quickly. The couple met in March while working at servers at the Hyatt in Palo Alto. Three months later they began dating.

“One night I just kissed her and it was right,” he said.

On Sept. 6, they moved in together. Twenty days later they were engaged.

Rendon went to buy a ring after work that day but all the options were too expensive. That frustrated Rendon who was ready to get engaged but needed a ring. He walked around until he found the perfect ring. Later that evening, he cooked her favorite dinner, stuffed peppers with green beans and pears.

During dinner Rendon shared a song with Calderon he had written for her, the lyrics of which served as the proposal.

“This seemed right to us,” she said. “To other people it might seem fast, but it just feels right.”

Halloween marked another memorable day for the couple — when they found out Calderon was pregnant. They’re due in June to have a little boy to be named Jessie.

Moments before walked into the chapel, Calderon dressed in a white dress with a black sash took a deep breath while holding red roses.

Deputy Marriage Commissioner Eunice Brabec of South San Francisco led the couple to the chapel before beginning the ceremony.

Brabec’s words inspire the first of many happy tears for Calderon who tried to keep her emotions under control. Finally the pair kissed, embraced and shared their first moment as husband and wife.

“She really just complements everything,” he said. “When something is hard, she’s my exhale.”

Heather Murtagh can be reached by e-mail: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.