It was 1977, and as tradition the king and queen of Mattituck High School’s junior prom were expected to dance together right after the announcement was made at what was then the Holiday Inn in Riverhead.
However, tradition had a wrinkle this time around: King and Queen were brother and sister.
Twins John and Patricia Wilcenski were voted prom royalty by their peers, and took to the floor as “Reasons” by Earth, Wind and Fire played.
“It was like, ‘Yay!’” said Patricia remembering how excited she was, then how she started laughing when she realized, “Oh...we have to dance with each other?”
When their names were called, it took them both by complete surprise. John thinks it was a popularity contest, and at the time the two participated in many school activities.
“I was a pretty good athlete and so I played sports,” said John, who played baseball, basketball and soccer. “We didn’t really specialize, we were in a small school. I played the trombone, too, in band and jazz band.”
Patricia, who played on the tennis team, joked that appearance played into their victory, as well.
“We were good looking. We’re a little older [now] but we still have it,” she said of her and her brother, who are now 58.
John, who now lives in Westhampton, works for the Maxwell Turf and Supply Company in Wyandanch, which sell products and services for the golf industry.
“I switched over to golf [as my sport of choice] and I coach my son’s baseball team,” John said. “My [three] happy places are the kitchen, on the golf course or on a baseball diamond.”
His sister — now Patricia Granneman — has remained an avid tennis player and is now a certified instructor. Before she had her son in 1988, she was a travel agent, but since then she has volunteered, joined a gardening club and pursued her tennis passion, with a stint as an assistant coach for the Mattituck High School girls varsity team.
It was awesome,” said Granneman, who now lives in New Jersey.
The pair’s Class of 1978, which had 168 students, is holding its 40-year reunion on July 7, and Patricia is helping with the planning.
“There was a real camaraderie in that school and there still is that feel,” Patricia said.
Added John, “That small-town feel.”