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