Here we all are, dressed the way our parents dressed us on this important Picture Day, some of us probably not too happy about it either. I see Clay in the back row though and while you can’t see the bib straps, we all know they are there, why, because it was cool, that’s why.
I look at this picture and I smile, I see Casey and Bruce standing next to each other. Of course they stand next to each other, they probably just finished a belching contest, and as we all know those contests had no winner.
I see Ashley and Adrienne in the middle and of course they are next to each other, you cannot possibly remember one without remembering the other.
The fourth grade, when boys noticed girls and girls noticed boys. I remember how our romantic interests culminated in a couples’ skate at Marvic Skate center. I once wrote the incredibly brave ‘Will you skate with me? Check yes or no.’ note. There you would find yourself in your happiest moment to date circling the warped wooden floor, pinky fingers locked because your palms were too sweaty, gently bopping to the beat of Miley’s dad country crooning about his achy breaky heart. Or perhaps as more often was the case, just like Phil Collins couldn’t dance, you could not skate backwards, so you found yourself seated on the carpeted bench watching others undulate in the strobe light, lamenting your own achy breaky heart.
Music more then than now ruled our lives and while I don’t recall anyone brave enough to show up at school with their clothes on backwards, we never missed an opportunity to ‘Jump Jump’ if Mr. Kriss or Mr. Kross asked us to.
The toughest decision we ever had to make those days was whether to allow or disallow the dreaded “popcorn” move in a game of Two Square.
Long before the American presence of Jackie Chan we would dangerously plummet from the upper battlements of the old wooden fort, free falling stories down, exploding pea gravel as we landed. Free running through monkey bars and chain ladders only to have the person you were desperately chasing clutch at the last possible second to the fireman pole and yell ‘Base!’
Ryan Turnball didn’t play tag. He played everything else, who here didn’t want to be on his team during Kickball. It was a sure win!
That’s not a peace sign being flashed in the back row, Charlie Curtner our class clown is throwing up the bunny ears. My own kids don’t know how funny bunny ears can be.
I see the two who are no longer with us. I remember them both and wish I could see them post how much they too love this photo. I distinctly recall being pleased after losing a game of chess with Greg Schreiber, I made it all the way to the end, just a few pieces left before he crushed me. He was the smartest person our age that I knew. I look into this picture and I wonder how Nick Feely’s Mother persuaded him to wear something other than his Motley Crue T-Shirt. I know when I picture him today…He’s wearing it.
Kyle and Ryan are on opposite sides of the bleachers that must have been hard on them, no wonder Ryan looks bored, his best friend is in the back row.
Rachel is laughing and Mellissa is probably preparing to do a backflip.
I think about everything I want to do. I want to beat Chris Auckley in a race, I want to go to art class with Steve Carol and Isaac Hubbard. I want to do tricks on teeter totters and leap from a swing, most of all I want to find out why at west school is it mandatory to learn the xylophone. I mean, what the heck, why all the stress on xylophones?
I can’t name everybody here, not without writing a book, what I will say is this…
My watch phone just vibrated at me, I have an alert on my twitter feed, ( My how far we’ve come from the 5 and a half inch floppy drive game of Oregon Trail in Mrs. Henshaw’s class room) It says this, “The American Psychiatry Association states that if a person is friends with another person for seven years, then that friendship will last a lifetime.”
While none of us today look at this 25 year old photo and see the face of a now bosom buddy, I believe that we all would call each other friends. I was at West school for 7 years and I know that there isn’t a face here, despite past childhood grievances, imagined or otherwise, that met on the street today I would not greet as an old friend.