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Love Story: Merrick couple hung out with Billy Joel on early date 

Mark and Pam Flugman of Merrick celebrated their

Mark and Pam Flugman of Merrick celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary in July. Credit: Flugman Family

Mark Flugman of Merrick recalls his courtship with his future wife, Pam.

One day in 1972, I ran into a friend on the SUNY Cortland campus who was with a girl I didn’t know. My friend then introduced me to Pam Greenfader, a freshman from Massapequa. I was from Oceanside and was in my second year at Cortland. Pam was 18, and I was 19. The next time I saw her, I asked her out, not for one date but for two consecutive dates over the course of a weekend. She accepted.

The first date was to a Beach Boys concert hosted by the Student Union. I was the photographer for concert events and was allowed to invite a guest. On our second date, we went to a movie and to Friendly’s for ice cream. We had a great time and became inseparable.

One of our dates was to a Billy Joel concert. We spent time with him and his band while I took photos. I was even asked to hand him the check for the performance.

In 1973, Pam and I both transferred to Hofstra University in Hempstead. I was taking pre-med courses. I had decided to go to medical school in Mexico at Guadalajara University after graduation. We planned to marry and move to Mexico together. Pam accelerated her studies so we were both able to graduate in 1974. She received a degree in teaching the speech- and hearing-impaired.

On July 3, 1974, we exchanged our vows at the former Huntington Town House. We spent a three-day honeymoon in Bermuda. Then Pam and I returned to our summer jobs as counselors at Treasure Island, a day camp in Oceanside.

We left for Mexico on Sept. 29. Pam set up a beautiful apartment for us there, made delicious meals every night and baked literally thousands of chocolate chip cookies for me and my classmates. We made lifelong friends there. Pam also worked as a private English tutor while I went to classes.

After I graduated in 1978, we returned home. Pam taught seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish at Robert A. Van Wyck Junior High School in Jamaica, Queens. In 1979, I was conferred a medical degree from The State University of New York. Pam was supportive over the next six years, all through my rotating internship, as well as general surgery and ophthalmology residency at Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow. Together, Pam and I have endured the early death of my mother to cancer and the hit-and-run crash that killed both of her parents 19 years ago.

In 1984, I started a private practice, and we moved to Merrick. The practice is now in Rockville Centre, where Pam is the business manager and owns and runs an optical department in the office.

We have two wonderful children and a terrific son-in-law. Probably one of the greatest compliments we ever received was from our daughter, who stated she wants a marriage just like ours. We celebrated our 44th anniversary by taking our boat out for the day then having a great dinner at our favorite restaurant.

I kiss Pam goodbye every morning before I leave for the office, even though I’ll see her there in a few hours. I always feel good when she arrives. Pam is definitely my soul mate and, without a doubt, asking her to be my wife is the best decision I ever made.

—With Virginia Dunleavy

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