anacostia

Garfield Elementary's Oldest Group of Friends Come Back to Class

Some things never change, and the friendship that a group of D.C. natives known as the “Kindergarten Crew” is one of them.

The six living members recently took a stroll down memory lane when they walked through the halls of the place where their friendship began: Garfield Elementary School in Southeast D.C.

The men have been best friends since 1945, sharing life together – through the good times and the bad.

After 70 years of friendship, the crew decided to come back to class on Friday.

“We didn’t have guns, or access to guns. We protected each other,” James Strickland said.

Strickland grew up in Anacostia, where the group’s friendship started.

“Our community was really more a village,” Arrington Dixon said.

Dixon and his friends said Anacostia was fertile ground for their success. The group became teachers, business owners, husbands and fathers.

The group had 10 men in all, but some have passed. William Hutchins said their meetings grew more meaningful over time.

“It seems like we kept meeting at funerals, and so that’s one of the things that led us to start doing joyful things together,” Hutchins said.

Garfield’s kindergarten crew gets together every month, remembering the past.

“When we have our drinks in hand, we salute,” said one member.

From champion swimmers to pilots with decorated military careers, the group has celebrated many milestones together, showing lives well lived.

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