Researching 1968 Brings Me Hope in 2016

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about 1968. I’m reflecting on that year because I set both The Cavanaugh House and Buried Secrets in 1968. Why? For two reasons. First, I remember 1968 and they say, “Write what you know.” I loved living in that era. Who wouldn’t, what with the Beatles and protest marches and hippies and flowers in your hair?

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old-phoneThe second reason is because of the lack of cell phone technology. I wanted Jesse to be on her own in dangerous situations. No texting or calling for help. In 1968, families usually owned only one or two phones, and they were plugged into the wall. If you were fancy, your phone might be a color other than black, maybe harvest gold and hanging on the wall in the kitchen…it might even be a princess style phone. That was living large.

 

So, what happened in 1968? Read on:

 

Entertainment:

Oscar winning movie: In the Heat of the Night

Broadway:                   The musical Hair opened

Top Selling Song:       “Hey Jude” by the Beatles

Top TV Show:            Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in

 

Politics:

Civil Rights

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law

Dr. Martin Luther King is assassinated

Presidential Election: 

Robert Kennedy is assassinated during a campaign stop

Richard Nixon defeats Hubert H. Humphrey

VietnamWar: 

The Viet Cong & North Vietnam launch the Tet Offensive

 

Sports

Super Bowl winners:  Green Bay Packers (this was Super Bowl II)

World Series Champs: Detroit Tigers

 

Pulitzer Prize Winners

Fiction                         The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

History                        The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn

Poetry                          The Hard Hours by Anthony Hecht

 

 

Top Selling Books

Mystery                       By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie

Suspense                     A Small Town in Germany by John LeCarre’

Romance                     Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

Fantasy                        The High King by Lloyd Alexander

Children’s                   The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss

Future Movie/TV        M.A.S.H.

Memoir/Essays           Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

See more titles here

 

I began writing this post before the recent presidential election. I felt nostalgic for the “good old days” of 1968, but as I researched that time period, I recalled that it wasn’t so innocent. In fact, often, as in the case of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, it was a time of despair. Maybe my muse, Boris, was preparing me for what would come on Nov. 8.

 

For those of you who remember “the good old days,” this is a walk down memory lane. For those of you who don’t, this era was fraught with dissension, fear, protest, envelope-pushing social change…and hope. Never forget, the last item to fly out of Pandora’s Box was hope.

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16 thoughts on “Researching 1968 Brings Me Hope in 2016

  1. Kathleen Shaputis says:

    Yes, as much as we may romanticize the late Sixties in our hearts, there were dark corners and violence. Innocence worn in fringed vests and bell bottoms ignored the headlines of war and the fissures of integration. Glad your books keep the era alive. Here’s to holiday sales!

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Even with all the troubles, those times seem simpler than today, Kathleen. Probably because we lived through them and found solutions…or at least could cope. Thanks for your good wishes. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. This was the year before my first divorce. I smoked Virginia Slims, “You’ve come a long way baby.” I also changed politics from Republican to Democrat. I keep hoping the fool will wake up and remember he used to be a Democrat.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Ha! Jesse’s mother smokes Virginia Slims in The Cavanaugh House, Rohn. I wanted to use the phrase “You’ve come a long way, baby” early in the book (June) but my research showed they launched that ad campaign in July 1968 so I couldn’t use it in that scene. I was able to use it later in the book (August). Yes, I believe he is already disappointing his supporters with recent comments and decisions.

  3. Susanne Matthews says:

    I remember 1968, too. Simpler times. I was in high school. Loved the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Had the whole future ahead of me. Now, as I look around me, I didn’t do so badly, but the world is a lot worse than it was.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      I loved the Beatles and the Beach Boys. We just went to a Beach Boys concert. The young guy next to us asked, “How many Beach Boys have to be left to be able to call themselves the Beach Boys?” LOL Didn’t do so badly?? You’re doing great, Susanne!!

  4. I remember that era, Betty. I was in the third grade. Family Affair was a hit show with Buffy, Jody, Cissy, uncle Bill & Mr.French. Our neighbors’ son was killed in action in Vietnam. I wore peace symbols and flowers on everything.

    Although it was a troubled period, it was a great time to be alive without the wires of technology. Thanks for the memories.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      I loved Mr. French!! Sebastian Cabot. That was a great show. Yes, Terease, so many people lost sons, fathers, brothers, lovers, in that war. My brother went to Vietnam three times, and thank God, he survived and is still alive. I had a Nash Rambler with the big flowers stuck all over it. Groovy.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Ah, yes. The other designer color of that era. Jennifer, the picture of the phone on this post is hanging on the wall of our family room in the basement LOL We bought the house last summer, and couldn’t bear to take it down.

  5. I remember it all, too, the good, the bad, and the ugly of 1968. How devastated we were when Bobby Kennedy was killed. The best part was probably the music, but the nightly newscasts from the war front were sad and eye-opening. It was a tumultuous time, and yet we survived. Let’s hope we do now! I love your books set in that time frame.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Yes, I remember the nightly newscasts, Lucy. So difficult to watch. the music gave voice to our protest, and one of my favorite songs still is “War (What is it Good For?”. I have to believe good will come from this time, too.

  6. Alyssa Alexander says:

    I love this, Elizabeth. It seems to me that no matter whatever era we are living in, it is difficult. Yes, some are more difficult than others, but what we are dealing with today is not new. Dissension. Anger. Hate. Violence.

    But where there is dark, there is light. One cannot exist without the other.

    So there is also love, peace, hope. Togetherness. Tolerance. They are there, if we simply look for them and pull them toward us.

    Life is what you make it. Joy is what you make it. If you focus on positive, you can effect change. One voice, one light–that is where it all begins. Shine a light.

  7. What a great trip down memory lane. I remember deliberately no watching the news because it was so depressing with body counts (Viet Nam war) every night. It was also a time of joy and freedom.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Yes, Diane. I think those newscasts prompted an awareness of the horrors of war. Like you, I remember the promise and hope of that time, too.

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