Pair of queens: Grandmother and granddaughter both crowned at Milford proms

When Joanne Seitz heard her name called 66 years ago and learned she had been named queen of the junior prom at her Milford high school, she was speechless.

She was equally thrilled when she got word several weeks ago that her granddaughter, Quinn Lofthouse, carried on the tradition and was crowned queen of her junior class in Milford.

Like grandmother like granddaughter.

Joanne attended Milford High School, which closed in 1983, replaced by Jonathan Law and Foran high schools as the city’s public high schools. Quinn attends Foran High School.

This grandmother and granddaughter have a fair amount in common: They are both outgoing and civic-minded. When Joanne Seitz, now Joanne Olmstead, attended Milford High School in the 1950s, she was involved in the kind of activities Quinn is involved in at Foran High School: Not heavily into sports, but more involved in the prom committee, student council and similar groups for Joanne, and organizations like Key Club and Youth and Government for Quinn.
Joanne and Quinn
Joanne moved to Milford from outside Pittsburgh when she was 12 years old and then made her way through the Milford school system.

Quinn grew up in Milford, daughter of Joanne’s son, Mark, and Rebecca Lofthouse.

During high school Joanne worked at the former Capitol Theater in downtown Milford, the place to go back then if you were a teen growing up in Milford. She sold candy and other snacks at the candy counter.

Quinn has worked at a place almost as iconic as the Capitol Theater during her Foran High School years — the Cone Zone, a Boston Post Road ice cream shop.

It was June 15, 1951, and Joanne was 16 when she was crowned queen of her junior prom at Milford High School. She was accompanied by her date, Doug Lowe.

“There was no prom king back then, just the queen,” Joanne said.

Quinn, 17, was crowned queen of the Foran High School junior prom on April 28. She attended the prom with Matt Kennedy; Jake Burwell was the prom king.

Joanne and Quinn were both surprised when they learned they had been chosen prom queen.

“I remember being speechless,” said Joanne, flipping through her weathered, maroon scrap book that contained a pressed and dried corsage from her prom, plus a lot of other mementos. “I was dumbfounded.”

She couldn’t say how the prom queen was selected: she never knew what landed her the crown that night.

Quinn said students voted as they made their way into Foran’s prom this year: They put the name of their choice into a box. Later, five girls and five boys were called to wait in the hallway, and then they were called inside in pairs, from runners up to the chosen queen and king.

“I was surprised and excited,” Quinn said.
Prom night
Quinn and her friends boarded a prom party bus to get to their prom at the Trumbull Marriott. After the prom she and her date joined classmates at the Sports Center in Shelton for the post prom.

Post prom didn’t exist in Joanne’s high school days. Neither did fancy venues. Their “Junior Promenade” was held in the “New High School Gymnasium” at Milford High School, according to the dance card that she keeps in her scrapbook. After the prom she and her group of friends went to the Glorietta Manor in Bridgeport, which was an event hall that catered to weddings, banquets and the like.

Joanne didn’t take a party bus to the prom.

“In those days we borrowed our father’s car,” she said with a laugh.

Joanne wore a yellow gown with a sweetpea corsage: Quinn wore a white gown with a white rose corsage.

Neither grandmother nor granddaughter visited a salon on prom day, as many girls do today: they both did their own hair and makeup.

Quinn’s prom was over at about 2 a.m. when she got back to a friend’s house, tired from the prom and post prom.

Joanne stayed out a little later: From the notes in the dance card pulled from her scrapbook, she read, “When I tiptoed in, it was 4 o’clock. Had a wonderful evening with Doug, Barbara and John.”

Joanne graduated high school in 1952, and later worked as a clerk in Town Manager John Desmond’s office. When she was raising her children she took on leadership roles in the parent/teacher organizations at her children’s schools and in Scouting. When she returned to office work, she became a clerk in the city’s building inspection office, from which she retired.

Quinn will graduate high school next year, with the Class of 2018, and then she plans to study nursing in college.

Grandmother and granddaughter think it’s pretty special that they share a crowning Milford moment.

“When my son told me, I said I can’t believe this,” Joanne said.