In This Issue
an Editorial Note
History from Below
1968. A View from the Air
The assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Student rioting in Paris and throughout the world. Riots and police brutality at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise black-gloved fists during the medal ceremony in Mexico City. Czechoslovakia is invaded by Soviet troops. Lyndon Baines Johnson announces, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.” Richard M. Nixon, promising to end the Vietnam War, is narrowly elected the 37th President of the United States. Just before the year ends, Apollo 8, with three astronauts aboard, breaks free of the Earth’s gravitational pull and orbits the moon ten times.
1968. A View from the Ground
But what about the view from the ground? Let’s take as our metaphor an image from early 17th Century Elizabethan England.
For one penny, the poorer among theatregoers could gain entrance to stand in “the pit,” some five feet below the stage of the Globe Theatre. Here, packed together with as many as 500 others, the aptly named “groundlings” look up as Hamlet rants, “O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumbshows and noise.”
If “All the world’s a stage,” let’s face it, not everyone views the spectacle from the upper galleries, where the playgoer not only gains a much better view, but, equally important, can be seen. For an extra penny, or two (not a negligible amount at the time), a groundling could gain access through doorways to a gallery seat. Who knows? Maybe even finagle his way onto the stage for an impromptu walk-on role.
For most of us old enough to remember, the world-historical events of 1968 took place some distance from the knockabout rhythms of our daily lives. Therefore, as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of 1968 (and recall the sixties in general), our perspective will be history as seen from below the world stage.
In addition to these stories, we invite you to check out other contributions, written and visual, in our special 1968 section.
Longtime OLLI writing instructor Diane Frank’s 2018 summer course, Writing: The Gentle Art of Haiku and the Haibun, resulted in several fine examples of the haibun—a literary form composed of a brief prose section followed by a haiku or tanka that adds a poetic twist to the preceding prose. Our contributors to this intriguing form, all of whom took Diane’s class, are Elsa Fernandez, Angie Minkin, Mary Heldman and Elinor Gale.
See Inside OLLI for a brief profile of Diane Frank and an interview with another longtime OLLI writing instructor, Sarah Broderick, who also taught a writing course this past summer, Lighten Up: A Creative Writing Class.
And don’t miss Mary Hunt’s interview with rock and pop icon, Linda Ronstadt, conducted in the cozy confines of Ms. Ronstadt’s Sea Cliff home. She openly discusses with Mary her battle with Parkinson’s, including the loss of the ability to sing, and what life is like in her seventies.
We are pleased to announce that our sister SF State organization, Sixty Plus, has republished in the September 2018 issue of their newsletter, Horizons, two pieces that appeared in the Spring 2018 Vistas & Byways: Mike Gordon’s “Rain or Shine” and Elinor Gale’s “Broken Connection.” Our thanks are due to Mike and Elinor for kindly granting permission for their work to appear in Horizons. We hope this will mark the beginning of a fruitful relationship between V&B and Sixty Plus.
We invite you to check out our Table of Contents to discover other works of poetry, prose and the visual arts in this sixth issue of our magazine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1968: A Fifty-Year Retrospective
INCLUDES FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY, AND VISUAL ARTS
Those First Few Weeks Were Murder
by Charlene Anderson
a rousing account of a young woman’s difficult transition from the Midwest to San Francisco in the psychedelic sixties
by Bill Carpenter
a fictional microcosm of the Vietnam Era about a chance encounter between a student awaiting his draft notice and an Oklahoma farmer whose son was in the war
by Hari Huberman
an oh-so-very-sixties acrylics portrait of singer/songwriter James Brown
Simone, Pot, and OLLI
by Marsha Michaels
a personal essay driven by the lingering spirit of the sixties, with an ‘appearance’ by Nina Simone and pot-procurement to ease the pain of an OLLI student
1968—An Episodic Memoir
by Joan Selen
a memoir of the author’s childhood in a dull Southern California suburb in the sixties and how that experience affected her later in life
by Corey Wienstein
an energetic poem that reveals how being in with the bad crowd in the sixties wasn’t actually bad
Take the Money and Run—1968
by Linda Zamora Lucero
a story of an Hispanic teen’s turn from joy to disillusionment as he works as a bit-player in a Woody Allen movie to earn money to buy conga drums
by Steve Surryhne
a poem about the living theatre that was Berkeley’s People’s Park protests in the late sixties
Homage to Psychedelic Art
by Pamela Pitt
a collection of four digitally-produced photographs created much later, but in the spirit of 1968
by Michèle Praeger
an account of the 1968 student protests against the old order in France, personified by de Gaulle, that resulted in his ousting and significant social change
Berlin: A Photo Essay
by Bill Carpenter
a black-and-white photo essay of Berlin in the late sixties that takes a look back at the photographer’s visit to that partitioned city during the Cold War
(CLICK GENRE FOR TABLE OF CONTENTS)
A SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERS OF OUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY
A Profile of Diane Frank
by Kaaren Strauch Brown
a brief profile of OLLI at SF State’s popular writing instructor, who recently taught a course on the gentle art of haiku and the haibun
Interview with Sarah Broderick
by Mary Heldman
a thought-provoking interview with one of OLLI at SF State’s popular writing instructors, showcasing her particular approach to teaching
Review of Standing at the Edge of the Pool
by Judy Goddess
a book review of OLLI at SF State member Cathy Fiorello’s second memoir of her life, from her childhood in Brooklyn to starting over in San Francisco at 75