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Chaparral 2017-2018: 26.5 College Culture

Facilities Department

Disclaimer: The story, feelings, thoughts, and incidents portrayed in this diary are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. This is a work of pure imagination based on articles in the Glendale Junior College newspaper, El Vaquero. c 1968-1972. Although Sharon Hayden was a student at GJC in the Sixties, this is in no way based on any reality of her reactions to events.

FROM SCRAP-BOOKER TO WARRIOR, PART I [1]

Juliette's scrapbook

Hi, my name is Juliette Smith, and this is my scrapbook.

Here are the two faces of me. First, I was a cheerleader. Back then, I was only concerned with dances, boyfriends, who would be Homecoming Queen or “Miss El Vaquero,” but now I’m a different person.

I thought I would share my diary, in hopes that others might understand my transformation, and perhaps encourage people to take actions that follow their conscience as well. The world needs more people who care, and more importantly more people who are willing to act!

It’s 1969, and I’ve just learned that last year was the deadliest year for loss of lives for our boys. We lost almost 17,000 soldiers, most of whom didn’t even want to be there at all. We’ve lost over 36,000 lives already for a war that doesn’t even have Congressional approval! This insanity must stop! I only wish I had realized this a little sooner.

Here is my friend, Sharon Hayden, running for Associated Student Body Historian. She and I are best friends and we both started out in kind of the same boat. When I started to get political, our paths separated. Now we don’t even talk to each other. I mean, I still think preserving our history is important, but what’s more important is to make history and even change its course—if only a little bit.

But first, here’s how it all started, back in March 1968.

March 1968

Mar 2, 1968: I wonder who will be voted “Miss El Vaquero” this month! I only wish it were me—don’t tell anyone! But me with my “baby fat,” as my parents call it? And my braces? I’m a very unlikely candidate and just don’t stand a chance. I know this. My parents reassure me that I’m a “late bloomer.” Urrggh. I wish I could bloom now instead!

March 15, 1968: Classes are piling on the work! I hope I can pass all the midterms that are looming closer and closer. Being a freshman in college is harder than it looks.

Tonite I beat Dad at chess. First time!

Our basketball team lost. What a surprise it wasn’t. We were cheering hard. Yelling “Mark, Mark, he’s our man! If he can’t do it, NO ONE can!” Mark missed most of his shots tonight.

Well, that’s settled. Here’s who they picked for “Miss El Vaquero.” Maybe if I put on a bikini (and paraded around on campus like Sue over there), someone would notice me, even though I don’t look as good as she does. But, what if that doesn’t even work?

I bought tickets to see Simon and Garfunkel in August! They are Feeling Groovy. (joke)

My parents think I should be happy with my brains. They just don’t understand how brains in a girl are sorely underrated. Maybe if I became a blonde like this “November Dream” over there and wore a pointed bra like hers—but I’d need a little padding of course since I’m so flat-chested.

March 30, 1968: Maybe I’ll be a stewardess. I can take a class here at GC on Monday night. That might be a good career for me, and the article in the school paper says that it’s a glamour job.

But am I pretty enough to get hired?

My brother is growing his hair long. I don’t know why he’d want to look like a messy girl.

Things seem a little bit in upheaval these days.

March 31, 1968: Another fire drill! Gosh, why do we have to keep filing out of our classrooms over and over? We’ll never get anything done at this rate!

I think I’m interested in the new War on Poverty that President Johnson started. I feel sorry for poor people and would like to see if I could help them. I know I’m only one person, but maybe I could make a little bit of difference.

Yes! Resolved: I will see what I can do about poverty. My father says they just have to work harder and they would become “not poor,” but I don’t think it’s always their fault.

April 10, 1968: Today I worked at my first soup kitchen with some kids from school. I didn’t know anyone, but we car-pooled downtown and went to the homeless mission there. Secretly, I was kinda scared, but then I just got busy with the food. I did the dishes afterwards, but I was crying to see so many people without homes, clothes, or food. I feel like maybe if more people shared with them, things could get better.  Randy didn’t come. I wonder if he wants to help the poor.

April 20, 1968: It’s all set! I wanted to volunteer to go to Denver, but my parents wouldn’t let me! At least Sharon gets to go. Dad says that I should focus on my studying. But they just don’t understand! They never do! The generation gap lives with us every day at home and at school, too. I’m glad my brother is here, at least. Never thought I’d say that! But at least I’m not alone and he wants to fight poverty too.

Oh well, that’s ok. If I can’t go, I’m happy for her. She gets to go all the way to Denver for a conference on poverty! I hope she can meet a lot of important people. Maybe we can start a national network of people to get into the poorest areas of the country. It’s a big job, but with us working together, we can do it!

Well, I’ve decided that my parents aren’t going to stop me and I’m going to go and do something in this world, finally!

April 31, 1968: What a disappointment! Sharon flew all the way to Colorado, and she said that all her hopes were dashed by the second day. They were at a workshop talking about the wretched state of affairs on the Indian reservations in New Mexico, and she was telling them about her work in the soup kitchen on Skid Row. It was only one time (SO FAR) but they actually started laughing out loud. She was even called a racist! And a Super-Conservatist!

It’s not her fault that she’s white! Same here! She didn’t even ask to be born that way! We’re not racists! We would know it if we were!

Here’s what the paper wrote about the Denver trip. There was a peace march, but Sharon didn’t march in it.

We’re not sure how we feel about the war because we have a few friends over in Vietnam fighting and I think that if I marched against the war, I’d be marching against them. I wouldn’t be a good friend if I joined all this anti-war stuff. They are fighting to keep Vietnam free. That seems ok to me.

But on a positive note, I talked to Randy today. I think he’s so cute!

May 15, 1968: Our college is all upside down. It seems that people are fighting everywhere. This war is causing so much division and hate. Even our freshman class can’t elect a president without some kind of scandal! It’s so confusing—turns out that there was so much fighting that one guy made enemies of everyone so they elected the other guy because they said that the first guy was elected in a way that violated the rules of elections. They said that he made enemies with his attitude! Then someone else decided to run and it took THREE! elections to get someone in office.

Peace signs are everywhere. Today our political science professor talked to us about the war. He said it was an immoral war and that the North Vietnamese president, Ho Chi Minh, was elected democratically. Why are we trying to get him out if that’s what the people wanted? I know Communism is scary, but maybe it’s kind of none of our business?

I think I’m changing my mind about a lot of things. The more I talk to people about the war, the more I think America shouldn’t be fighting there, especially if they are drafting people that don’t want to go. How can you make someone kill people? That just isn’t right. And, to top it all off, the boys that are drafted and have to fight and die, can’t even vote! (Or, as they like to point out, they can’t drink either.)

October 6, 1968: I’m saving this article from the school paper because Mike is in my English class. He seems pretty smart, but he says we definitely should be in Vietnam. A lot of people hassle him and try to start fights with him because he was over there and fighting. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the last few months, and I just can’t get behind having our troops over in Asia. So many are being killed. It makes me sad every day.

Mom and Dad watch the news every night, and we see the caskets and the jungles. We see the sweat on our boys’ faces and the faces of the enemy. Those Vietnam faces look so open and honest to me. They have children, they work hard to raise crops and get by—like anyone else. Why can’t they have the government that they chose? I know about the Domino Theory, but maybe instead of losing so many people, we could wait and see if Communism really does spread. I’m no great thinker, but I hate any war.

Today I heard a chant: “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” I joined in. I guess I’m a war protester now. This was my first time. And, to be honest, it felt really good!

My parents would kill me if they knew what I did today and how I think.

This is the end of Part I. In Part II, Juliette listens to a member of the Black Panther Party speak, joins in the Vietnam Moratorium, and takes part in draft protests on the Glendale College campus.

 

Thank you to GCC Archives.

[1] All events described are factual. The sequences and dates are not pinpointed exactly, but put together for the sake of a story.

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