The Student News Site of East Grand Rapids High School

The East Vision

Shannon Ors Senior Column

Shannon Ors, Web Editor

It was the year of Angry Birds, iPads, and The Black Eyed Peas. A single scoop of ice cream at Jersey Junction cost $1.90 and Wizards of Waverly Place was on TV. What a time to be a fifth grader.
I have never been one to wallow in the past, but as the looming end of senior year approached an unavoidable nostalgia swept over me. I suddenly found myself wondering how the naivety of childhood somehow evolved in the reality of growing up. I felt an urgency to salvage the past before I was too far away in the future.
An idea took shape to recreate photographs that feature a mosaic of different friend groups, GAP Kids outfits, questionable haircuts, and awkward poses. I scoured dusty albums and old yearbooks tracking down photographs. I began with a photo from fifth grade graduation since I figured if there was anyone willing to participate it would be the girls I dragged into backyard plays and Walk Like an Egyptian dance routines.
The seven of us met at Lakeside Elementary just as we did everyday in fifth grade. The brick wall still stood behind us as we squished together under a black umbrella on an ironically sunny day. After the last flash of the camera, a camaraderie arose from the group. We didn’t go fleeing back to our cars, rather we all gathered in a circle almost instinctively, reverting back to playground gossip of days bygone. It was as if we were all holding on to something we weren’t quite ready to let go of.
Looking at the photo there is an innocence and authenticity to our grinning smiles. We had no foresight into the challenges the next seven years of schooling would present. We didn’t know there was such thing as a five page English paper. We didn’t know that on the first day of sixth grade we would all sit at different lunch tables. And we certainly didn’t know that the moment that photo was taken was the last time all eight of us would be together alone until we recreated the photo seven years later.
I don’t regret the friends I drifted away from or the relationships I couldn’t save. I know that is the reality of growing up. But if there is one thing this project taught me is that people don’t forget old friends. It is a fact that I wish I had come to terms with earlier in high school, but even when the simplicity of elementary school seems so far away, childhood friendships can be revived. So to those seven Lakeside girls I say thank you. Thank you for not hesitating when I texted you out of the blue asking to re-create a photo, but more importantly thank you for the conversation that followed.

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