Out in the world, they indict Dr. Spock on charges of conspiracy to encourage acts of violating the requirements of the draft. Alexander Dubcek becomes the leader of the Czech Communist Party, and North Viet Nam launches the Tet Offensive.
But in my world, all that matters is that chewing gum in England costs threepence and the heat is free at the London YWCA....
Out in the world, the Associated Press publishes a photo of a Viet Cong officer being executed with a pistol shot to the head. Peggy Fleming wins a gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Eldridge Cleaver’s “Soul on Ice” is first published. The U.S. minimum wage is set at $1.60 an hour. Robert McNamara resigns as the Secretary of Defense. Richard M. Nixon and George Wallace announce their candidacies for president. 10,000 West Berliners demonstrate against U.S. involvement in the war in Viet Nam.
And in Heidelberg, we see our first anti-American demonstration…..
Out in the world, oil is discovered in Alaska’s North Slope. Lyndon Johnson announces that he will not be running again for President – but Bobby Kennedy announces that he will. In Czechoslovakia Antonin Novotny resigns the Czech Presidency, and in Viet Nam, U.S. ground troops from Charlie Company slaughter 500 civilians in a village called My Lai. And in the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King gets the Poor People’s March underway.
We know so little of this! We’re busy consorting with rock musicians and hotel maids in Heidelberg-Mannheim…..and then, in Munich, we’re finding a home - and a tribe. And me: I am about to cast the first stone in the avalanche that is to come.
Out in the world, Martin Luther King delivers his “mountaintop” speech to striking sanitation workers in Memphis. In Czechoslovakia a new government is formed that leads to the liberalization of many aspects of Czech life. Lyndon Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Striking students occupy 5 campus buildings at Columbia University in protest of the war in Viet Nam. And Martin Luther King is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, setting off riots in numerous American cities, including my own hometown of Washington, D.C.
And I: At a news kiosk in Istanbul, I stare – stunned and confused – at a photo of Washington’s 14th Street burning against the city skyline.
Out in the world, peace talks begin in Paris between the U.S. and North Vietnam delegations. Student riots and strikes hit France, with up to 10 million workers on strike by May 22. Surgeons in Houston perform the world’s first successful heart transplant. In Maryland, Catholic priests Daniel and Phillip Berrigan seize and burn hundreds of draft board files. Eugene McCarthy defeats Robert Kennedy in the Oregon presidential primary. The Rolling Stones release “Jumping Jack Flash”….
.… and I: I hear “Jumping Jack Flash” for the first time in the cab of a semi lurching through the Austrian mountains on my way home, to Munich.
Out in the world, an actress/writer named Valerie Solanis shoots Andy Warhol in his loft in New York City. Martin Luther King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, is captured in London. Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison in California. And Robert Kennedy is assassinated one day after winning the California presidential primary. At first, that matters. But then all that matters to me is the message Kitty passes on to me, sitting on a bench in the back garden of the Heim.