August 29, 2010
Patten and Monsrud, Levittown's 1963 Poppy Queen rivals reunite after 47 years; the winner says "It was a stupid contest."
Photo at top, Jane Patten (left) and Marilyn Monsrud, 1963 graduates
In 1963, when they were seniors at Division Avenue High School, Jane Patten and Marilyn Monsrud vied with four other Levittown seniors for the title of Poppy Queen. "Charm, scholarship and personality" were the criteria.
This August, Jane returned to Long Island for the class of 1960s 50th reunion. The Poppy Queens rivals spent a lot of time together, even toured the old high school. Marilyn still lives in Levittown. The "girls" had not seen each other in 47 years. Soon after she graduated from Division, Jane moved to Florida and has lived in the Sunshine State ever since.
Marilyn was crowned Poppy Queen way back when and the gracious Jane recalls that her old friend "looked just like a Barbie Doll."
According to Marilyn,"It was a stupid contest! Read the line that says what we were chosen for scholarship, charm and personality! If you need proof, you should see my 11th and 12th grade report cards! They lied and I don't know why they picked me.
"There was no effect on my life, then or now, except that I got a nice prom dress out of it for free. I also got out of being suspended for getting caught with a forged pass while cutting class, only because I was representing the school in this thing at the time. Saved my ass on that one."
About their personal reunion, Marilyn reflected, "We just flew back in time to our Division days and the friendship we had throughout our high school years. It was so great to see her again and catch up. Our lives have really paralleled one another over the last five decades. Amazing."