LET us tell you a story… a love story.
But we will have to flashback to the wondrous Sixties, a time when mothers were overly protective of their daughters, and single dates were a no-no! Foursomes were in!
A couple was looking for a chaperone for a dinner date, and the girl asked her good friend if she was willing to be one. The friend replied, “Only if you find me a date, too.” Whereupon the girl offered: “Will this person do?” The answer was in the affirmative.
To make the long story short, the chaperones were Nelia Garcia and Julius Neri!
After many such dinner and movie dates, it was the chaperones who got to know each other better, fall in love and seal their love forever in a lovely ceremony on June 5, 1966.
Fifty years and four sons (JJ, Jedboy, Justin and Jovi) later, the Golden Couple were asked to please, please attend the company anniversary of their daughter-in-law Candice (wife of Justin), at Montebello Villa Hotel.
Although feverish and nursing a bad cold, Nelia said yes, provided she and Julius would stay only for 30 minutes. Pleased, Candice told her father-in-law to don a long-sleeved shirt as it was “very cold” in Montebello.
“Surprise! Surprise!” were the enthusiastic greetings that met the couple as they entered the Montebello ballroom. On a leafy backdrop at center stage was the number “50” in dazzling gold! The secret was very well kept. Nothing leaked out. And it was truly a surprise for the couple as they saw their children and grandchildren and their friends and relatives in the hall.
For Julius: “It was truly a pleasant surprise and unexpected as we have only sons and affairs like this are usually concocted by the females in the family. They made us very happy.”
After guests were seated, the Golden Couple was the cynosure of all eyes. A simple “re-enactment” of the rites was held, with two of the original entourage in attendance. Julius’ classmate and best man Ferdinand “Ferdie” Jakosalem gave a bit of recollection of what happened 50 years ago and proposed a toast to the couple of 50 years. And then their maid of honor, Nelia’s sis, Elma G. Muangkroot, delivered a few family anecdotes.
Dinner was a gourmet masterpiece and wine flowed like there was no tomorrow. Every once in a while, a clinking of glasses was heard, signifying “Kiss, Kiss.” Then it was time for the couple to flit from table to table for photographs! Guests included the huge Garcia clan (eight siblings!) who jetted in from various locations.
Highlight of the evening was the “apo” segment with Tiffany (oldest apo) in charge. The six grandchildren presented a song and dance medley, showcasing their inherent and varied talents.
Upon leaving the ongoing anniversary festivities, we chanced upon a photo gallery at the foyer, showing the Golden Couple’s 50 years of loving and caring togetherness. Nelia as the affectionate wife, mother and grandmother and Julius her great pillar of strength!