Retro Forever Fair Haven Eighth Grade Friendship Snapshot

Knollwood Class of ’74 graduation fashionistas Stephanie DeSesa, Elaine Van Develde and Wanda Becker.
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Eighth graders in the Rumson-Fair Haven area are going through graduation rites of passage of a different kind right now — the COVID-19 pandemic era kind.

And what’s different about it is that there are no photos of friends clustered together, arms wrapped around one another or stiff shoulder-to-shoulder stances, signaling the end of a grade school era and beginnings. It’s definitely a missed moment or several this year.

Those ends and beginnings always involve childhood friends, some who stay with us throughout each milestone in our lives. They’re always there, if not in physical presence, in our hearts and on our minds. Those friends were markers in the milestones that are rooted in all that’s home. Our history.

So, while those friendship poses won’t be struck in the isolated pandemic Class of 2020 photos, the kinships inherent in them remain a hallmark of homegrown, hometown life.

Even if you were one of those kids that just didn’t like school all that much, the awkward, trying and exhilarating moments marked with those childhood friends are the ones that stay forever etched in minds and hearts. It’s the stuff that makes you who you are. The stuff that keeps you grounded, or up in the air — always home.

Those questionable fashion pics and fumbling adolescent moments also comprise great friendship blackmail material. Who else would have such epic fashion failure photos to go along with a string of clumsy, trouble-making memories up for grabs?

Your oldest friends. That’s who. And when the time comes to say your final goodbye, a standard eulogy by the most stable adult in the bunch just can’t compete with the memories of childhood, adolescence, teen years and adulthood and all of its ugliness, awkwardness and beauty with best friends.

Crews of grade school cronies, regardless of fashion or common sense, have something special — dating back to the beginning of graduating times.

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Retro Eighth Grade Grad Close Encounter

Knollwood School Class of 2002
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

The Fair Haven Knollwood School grads have always been a styling, close-knit crew — a crew of cohorts that’s always shared many Kodak moments, in pairs, trios, cliques and all together.

Just as photography has evolved from Brownie camera to Instamatic to Polaroid, to phone camera, to full-on professional photo shoots, graduation photo ops have devolved back to single inspired family front lawn shots. That’s where the photo blitz usually began. Now it’s where it ends, too. So, some things never really change — much.

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