Sunday 17 December 2017

These pals have been taking exactly the same photo every 5 years since 1982

Now that’s friendship.

(John Dickson/PA)
(John Dickson/PA)

By Prudence Wade

Some friends come and go, and others are for life.

The latter is definitely true for these five mates – and they have the photographic evidence to prove it.

1982 (John Dickson/PA)

Meet, from left, John Wardlaw, Dallas Burney, Marke Rumer, John Molony and John Dickson.

Dickson and Burney met when they were six or seven, and the other pals joined their gang when they teenagers at Santa Barbara High School in California, where they graduated as part of the class of 1981.

1987 (John Dickson/PA)

Wardlaw said: “We spent our weekends make Super 8 movies.” For the uninitiated, that’s a type of motion picture you could make using Super 8mm film cameras, which were first manufactured by Kodak.

1992 (John Dickson/PA)

As friends often do, they took a squad photo when they were staying at a cabin on Copco Lake in 1982 when they were all aged about 19.

“In 1987 we realised we would all be at the cabin again and I suggested it would be a great idea to reproduce it,” Wardlaw said. “It was fun but we still didn’t plan on doing it ever again.”

1997 (John Dickson/PA)

But once again, the friends all managed to find themselves in the same place five years later so they took another photo, thinking it would be the last time they would be reunited at the cabin.

Wardlaw said: “In 1997 we decided it would be great to keep doing this for as long as we could, and we made a vow to keep it going every five years.”

2002 (John Dickson/PA)

And they have indeed managed to keep the tradition up – taking the same poses in the same place, every five years and posting the new pictures on Twitter.

While some things remain constant, much hasn’t. Wardlaw said: “For us personally, the things that have changed the most are hair lines, waistlines, hair colour and all those things that come with age.”

2007 (John Dickson/PA)

And it’s not just the guys themselves who have changed over time. Wardlaw said: “For the world the biggest change is the internet. We are now able to stay in touch because of email, Facebook and other online methods of chatting.

“When we first came to the cabin there was no TV, barely any radio and the phone was a party line (a local telephone circuit shared by many people). We still don’t have cell reception at the cabin, but we have internet now.

2012 (John Dickson/PA)

“Now we all live in separate cities and rely on emails and texts and those trips to the cabin, which some of us do more often than just the five year photo,” Wardlaw said. “We just didn’t allow ourselves to drift apart.”

And in case you were wondering what was in the jar Molony is clutching, in 1982 it was a cockroach that the boys had caught. Wardlaw said: “He was hungry so we gave him a butterscotch. We also though he would be lonely so we gave him a photo of actor Robert Young (From the very old shows Marcus Welby MD and Father Knows Best).”

2017 (John Dickson/PA)

In later photos, the jar was empty, but in 2012 the friends put in a butterscotch, another picture of Young and a plastic cockroach in homage. After the five went on the NBC Today Show they promised to put a picture of its host Matt Lauer in instead, so that’s what is in the 2017 jar.

They’ve even got a mock-up of what the gang will look like in 3017 – and it’s not the cockroach that’s in a jar now.

3017 (John Dickson/PA)

But don’t get too ahead of yourself just yet – wait for 2022 first.

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