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Love Story: Best man's warning not to flirt at wedding went unheeded

Amelia and Gerald Mullen celebrated their 50th anniversary

Amelia and Gerald Mullen celebrated their 50th anniversary with their family and friends in August at Arian Waterfall in West Hempstead. Credit: Ketel Photo and Video Inc.

Gerald Mullen of Roosevelt recalls the day he met his future wife, Amelia, and her family.

In 1965, my older brother was getting married. I was in the wedding party along with my brother’s friend, who was the best man. His parents and his younger sister were also invited to the wedding. The best man was very protective and warned me not to flirt with his sister, whom I had never met.

At the reception, I was introduced to his sister, Amelia Wilson, and I was captivated. We were both 19. We danced together and talked all night, then exchanged phone numbers and addresses. At the end of the evening, I gave Amelia and her parents a ride to their home in Harlem. I lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Amelia later told me that her mother liked my smile.

I called her and we had two or three lunch dates. A few months later, I was drafted into the Army. I was eventually assigned to Stuttgart, Germany, with the 101st Ordinance unit, serving as a communications specialist. I also spent a couple of months in Vietnam. Amelia and I wrote to each other while I was away. When I returned home after finishing my military service in 1967, we renewed our courtship.

I went back to my job with the U.S. Post Office. Two years later, I became a sanitation worker for the New York City Department of Sanitation in Brooklyn.

We were married at Kelly Temple Church of God in Christ in Harlem on Aug. 31, 1968. Amelia was an assistant teacher. The school year started a week after the wedding, so we didn’t take a honeymoon.

Amelia continued her college education and became a teacher for the New York City Board of Education. She first worked at P.S. 106 in Bushwick teaching elementary grades K through 6.

We moved from Brooklyn to Roosevelt in 1974 and started a family. In addition to our two sons, we now have two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.

After 32 years for me and 31 years for Amelia, we retired to a life of leisure and travel. I retired in 2001 as a Department of Sanitation garage supervisor; Amelia retired from teaching in 2002. She was a teacher at P.S. 176 in Cambria Heights, Queens. We take trips two or more times a year, either to Europe or to the Caribbean. Last year, just before our oldest grandson went off to college, we took our family to the Sandals resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in August with an afternoon gala attended by family and friends at Ariana Waterfall in West Hempstead. Afterward, Amelia and I continued our celebration on a Viking River Cruise in Portugal.

With Virginia Dunleavy

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