The year is 1968, think hippies, the cultural revolution and Americans divided into two diametrically opposed camps. Those who were freaky and those who were square. I’m glad to say I ranked among the former at the grand age of 13. The song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” came out in ”67 but exemplified the hippie movement still going strong in ”68. The war in Vietnam suffered its worst year ever and brought the horrors of the battlefield with civilian casualties into our living room via the evening news. Our first fully televised up close and personal war. Which explains the many marches, rallies, and protests.
Fashion was all over the place, and fishnet hose all the rage. I delighted in my very own pair. The maxi dress followed on the heels of the maxi skirt, which I was all about. Mom sewed several for me. I floated around like a princess, loved my first Bonne Bell lipstick, thrilled to the outrageous (for that day) rock song Innagadadavida by Iron Butterfly, was awed by Aquarius and the musical production Hair. Stunned might be a better word, but it definitely impressed me.
Space exploration erupted in a big way. I shared the nation’s excitement over the launch of Apollo 7 which orbited the earth 163 times, and Apollo 8 began the first U.S. mission to orbit the moon. Our family and friends gathered around the black and white TV set to watch both takeoffs. And I was a big fan of Star Trek, the original TV series, with James T. Kirk and his stellar crew.
The top films in 1968 were Romeo and Juliette, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rosemary’s Baby, the first Planet of the Apes, Funny Girl, the Thomas Crown Affair, the Lion in Winter, Bullitt, Yours, Mine, and Ours, and Oliver. Romeo and Juliette stamped me as a romantic forever.
Guru’s and Eastern religions gained popularity in America and the world, as did several cults. Remember the Moonies? Not to neglect the ‘Jesus Freaks.’ I’m a Christian, but they were over the top for me. Behind all of this heightened spiritualism was much soul-searching as people tuned inward to discover who they really were. And many didn’t have a clue.
Nostalgia drew me to set Somewhere The Bells Ring in 1968 in the old family home place at Christmas, with flashbacks to an earlier era, 1918 and the end of World War 1, the Great War as it was known. Contrasting the effects of WWI and Vietnam through Eric and his Great Uncle Edward Burke, Marines who returned from each war, plays a significant role in the story. And much self-discovery takes place in Bailey and Eric along with fast growing mutual discovery. And then there’s the ghost.
Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.
To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?