Novelist Michael Murphy
With frightening parallels to today’s headlines of an unpopular war on the other side of the world, Class of ’68 follows three young Americans whose lives are forever changed by war, student unrest and political assassination during one of the most tumultuous years of the twentieth century, 1968.
Kevin Cooper’s plans for his senior year of sex, drugs and rock and roll are shattered by his brother Tim’s first letter from Vietnam. In Vietnam, Tim struggles to survive and to forget about his love for anti-war activist Sarah Johnson. Their lives and the lives of their families are forever changed by the tragic events of 1968.
Sarah Johnson sat alone at her desk in Cal State’s Draft Counseling Center. She finished reading the letter and crushed it to her face while tears flowed. She sobbed into the paper, shoulders lurching as she rocked in the chair. The scrape of the chair against the cold tile floor and her muffled sobs echoed in the empty building.
When her tears ended, Sarah pulled the letter from her face. Tears had dribbled black streaks on the wrinkled page.
“Oh shit!” Sarah smoothed the paper and blotted the wetness with both hands. She snapped open the top desk drawer, grabbed a tissue, and dried the letter.
Sarah stared at Tim’s smeared words and thought back, not to their last meeting, a tender good-bye at LAX Airport, but the cool April evening alone under the stars at People’s Park, sipping red wine from paper cups and listening to Tim’s favorite group, the Beach Boys. He turned to shut off the radio, and with a click of the knob, changed their lives forever.
When he took Sarah’s hands in his, Tim told her he was quitting college to join the Army. If she had not been staring into his determined eyes, Sarah would not have believed him, but she saw it was true. She knew in spite of the number of arguments they might have in the coming weeks, nothing she could say would change his mind.