The year we graduated, 1968, the first Big Mac debuted at a cost of only 49¢. Gasoline was 33¢ a gallon, hamburger was 59¢ a pound, and minimum wage was $1.60. We listened to music by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, the Supremes, and Aretha Franklin. We went to movies like The Graduate, Rosemary’s Baby, Planet of the Apes, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
But 1968 was also a most tumultuous year with a number of earth-shattering and tragic events. The United States was embroiled in the Vietnam war (Remember the battle of Khe Sanh and the My Lai massacre?), North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King was assassinated. In May a million students marched on Paris, France and rioted in the streets — and I was slated to leave a few days after graduation to further my musical studies there. (You can imagine how my parents felt about my trip!) All this happened in our senior year.
But it was on June 5th, 1968 that I remember most vividly. I was up late, in fact it was after midnight, writing a paper, and had the radio turned on softly. Suddenly the radio announcer started yelling that Robert F. Kennedy had been shot in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles — not very far away. I turned the radio up and was transfixed on the melee and confusion that ensued. I don’t know if I ever went back to sleep that night — but I know I did get my paper finished.
How about it, Class of 1968? Were you up late that night, too?