Thursday, May 24, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

From This Day: A long and sometimes rocky road leads to happiness

ST. PETERSBURG — The third time was the charm.

Shirley Collins and Anthony Sanders met long ago, in 1986, when both were working at Red's Snak Shak, the longtime St. Petersburg institution on 16th Street S that closed in 2011.

"Then, probably the latter part of '87, I want to say, we really became, like, a couple," Shirley says. The next year, she was expecting their daughter, Danielle. They moved in together, but at the time of Anthony's initial proposal, she didn't think he was ready to commit.

Several years later, he "really was serious about getting married," she says, "but we were having a lot of difficulty." Her mother was elderly, and Shirley is an only child. In addition, their daughter has autism, which presented some challenges.

"We just decided that we weren't going to get married at that time. I really was into it, and I was heartbroken that we didn't do it, but there were just too many things to be resolved."

After Shirley's mom died last May, she says, "It really was our time for us to get close to each other and start thinking more in terms of the life we wanted to have because we had been together so long."

Shirley, 54, describes herself as a Jill of all trades at Happy Workers Children's Center, where she has been employed for 25 years. Anthony, 56, works in food service at the deli inside the Obama Express Food Market.

When Shirley was ill and could eat only ice chips, Anthony came to the hospital and fed her.

When he finds her reading self-help books, he asks her why.

"You don't need that," he says. "You're perfect just the way you are."

Shirley's friend Josephine Seafus helped them secure the worship space at Abundant Life Ministries for their wedding on Feb. 9. It was the first marriage for both bride and bridegroom. At their reception, held at the Wildwood Recreation Center, they had their first dance ever.

"My husband knows how to dance," Shirley says. "I'm a total wallflower. Never have we danced until the wedding."

The ceremony included their daughter and Darian, Shirley's son by a previous relationship. It took place five days before Valentine's Day, at which Anthony excels. His birthday falls on Christmas Eve, and Shirley's is Dec. 26, so they focus more on Feb. 14.

"He has never missed a Valentine's Day, ever," Shirley says. "Each one of us tries to outshine the other."

At the wedding, both of them wore white.

"I felt like Cinderella," Shirley says, "the princess, the queen, the whole thing. I think the only thing I could say is there is nothing greater than love. Not to give up on your dreams. If there's nobody there to share with, then it's not the same."

Comments
Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

LIME TIME: Tampa Bay Margarita Festival This year, there are twice the bartenders and a new RFID wristband system for less waiting at the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with a margarita flavor for every taste. Music headliners are the Wallflow...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Our editors' picks for things to do this weekend.
Updated: 12 hours ago
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

SHORTS: Art and Short Film Mini-FestA fundraiser for the [email protected] brings an Art and Short Film Mini-Fest to the studio tonight. There will be four short films, an exhibit of artwork by Corinne Leavengood and photography by Diana Lucas Leavengood. P...
Published: 05/23/18
A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNF’s US Festival tribute

A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNF’s US Festival tribute

THE BEATS GO ON: Sunset Music FestivalAt last year’s Sunset Music Festival, the focus was all on crowd safety. After two fans died from drug overdoses at Tampa’s largest annual rave in 2016, organizers heightened security across the board, yielding a...
Published: 05/23/18
5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

1 Tibetan Monks’ Mandala: As part of a Sacred Art Tour, eight Dalai Lama-sanctioned monks from India will be at the Florida CraftArt Galleries for a week to create a sand mandala of the Green Tara, a female representation of the Buddha of Compassion....
Published: 05/23/18

Tell Me About It: Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepper

Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepper"target="_blank">Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepperQ: My son and his family recently moved back to our area. I feel I’ve missed so many milestones, though I did make the effort to visit them every month ...
Published: 05/23/18

Tell Me About It: Can she trust her new beau not to cheat?

Q: Is it really true that "once a cheater always a cheater," even when the cheater didn’t cheat on you?A few years ago, I left my husband after I found out he was a serial cheater. We are now divorced. I have been seeing someone new, and he seems lik...
Published: 05/22/18
Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

No matter what Cress Williams does the rest of his acting career, he’ll always be remembered as the first to play Black Lightning.The 47-year-old actor with roles on ER, Grey’s Anatomy and Friday Night Lights is now that face of a DC comics franchise...
Published: 05/22/18

Tell Me About It: She has little sympathy for troubled sister

She has little sympathy for troubled sister"target="_blank">She has little sympathy for troubled sisterQ: My mom died when I was 10 and my sister, "Abby," was 6. My dad did the best he could but life was hard. I tried to make it up to him by helping...
Published: 05/22/18