These 5 Friends Honor Their Bond In the Best Way

By the time we launch into our teenage years many of us mentally fast-forward into adulthood. While trying to bridge the time between being a kid and being a grownup, we might wonder what parts of us we’ll still be able to hold onto. We wonder about college, jobs, family, and friendships.

Love and adventure are mixed in there too. But the reality is that many of us don’t stay in the same hometown our entire lives, or even live close by. This can lead to losing touch with those we grew up with and shared major life milestones with. Social media has made it easier to reconnect, but what did we do before that?

Those of us who still have true friends we’ve known since childhood are quite fortunate. Not everyone can count friendships that have lasted for decades. To keep those bonds intact across geographical lines is even more noteworthy. The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” does not apply here.

Five guys from California who have known each other since high school figured out a way to memorialize their friendship with a picture. John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, and John Dickson have been hanging out since the early ‘80s. As kids, they had no idea one photo would spark a tradition that’s lasted for thirty years.

Back in 1982, the group spent the Fourth of July weekend at a family cabin at Copco Lake in Cali. They seated themselves on a bench to snap a picture, complete with cool, brooding facial expressions. In those times, a camera with a self-timer was used. In the photo above, you’ll notice a jar with a cockroach in it, their newly adopted pet at the time.

1987 found the young men to be college grads who met up that summer at the lake again. They decided to repeat the first photo with only a few changes. Over the next few years they kept it up, with them making it an official tradition in 1997 (pictured here). Every five years, the five men agreed to get together to recreate the same picture, posing in the same way with minor tweaks. That’s in addition to weddings, parties, and general chill time.

The last pic was taken in 2012 (seen below), so 2017 will see them doing it again. Wardlaw maintains a website for the crew that shows every picture from every gathering. You’ll note the subtle differences in their appearance, and the jar is always showing up with them too. According to an interview with CNN, this is a lifetime committment:

“We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what,” said Dickson. “Up until there’s one guy just sitting in the same pose! Even then, maybe someone will take a picture of an empty bench for us.”

See if you can pinpoint what’s different about each picture and each of these fellows’ looks over time. If you’re over 30, it makes you want to dig up your own old pics from back in the day and check yourself out. Oh, the memories and oh, how digital is crisper!

What a lucky bunch to still be this tight after all this time! More than the pictures, they’ll have the memories of one another to cherish forever. Do you have friendships that have lasted this long? Are there any special traditions that have kept the bonds strong? Share with us in the comments!