The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Summer of '68

July 13, 2008

Woman recalls feeling wistful, restless in ’68

I, like many others, experienced one devastating blow after another in 1968. My life was changed forever because of these events.

First, my best friend — my sister, Lindy — got married, moved away and became a hippie. I missed her dearly. My boyfriend of several months broke up with me. Then mom had a miscarriage and almost died from a negative reaction to penicillin.

When my parents’ marriage fell apart, I began to wish I could leave Enid and be a hippie, too. Television news stories about the war, college protests and the hippie movement fed my dreams. I idolized Martin Luther King Jr., and fell in love with Bobby Kennedy, only to experience further heartbreak when they were both assassinated.

Oh, how I wanted to go to San Francisco and wear flowers in my hair! But I was only a junior at Enid High School, so I was stuck here. I did do what I considered a “hippie thing” that fall: Presidential candidate George Wallace made a campaign stop in Enid. I skipped school and walked downtown to hear him speak. I really wanted to join the protesters from Phillips University, but since I had skipped school, I did not want to call any further attention to myself.

The next day, I forged my own excuse note and endured the “I know where you were yesterday” glares from Mrs. Montgomery in Spanish class.

Thinking back on that year, I am reminded of these words from Edgar Allan Poe:

“Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, and each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow ....”

Bleakness, dying embers of dreams, ghosts of things gone and wishing for tomorrow. That sums up 1968 for me.

Nancy (Hutchins) Hempfling

Enid

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Summer of '68