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Memoir of a War Resister—A Novel of the 1960s

By Trudy Knowles All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Drama


Memoir of a War Resister, inspired by true events, is a work of mainstream women’s fiction that tells the story of Becky Jamison's journey through the turbulent times of the late 1960s. Interspersed throughout the novel are vignettes of her son’s protests and arrests during the Occupy Wall Street Movement forty years later. As Becky sits with her son in a courtroom following his arrests during Occupy Wall Street, she thinks about her own activism forty years before. It’s 1967 and widespread resistance against the Vietnam War rocks college campuses. Becky abandons the security of her small Kentucky hometown to spend the next four years at Lake Forest College near Chicago. There she confronts the political and cultural turmoil of the times—protests, demonstrations, occupations, riots, assassinations, drugs, and free-love. Becky will never have to fight in a war she doesn’t believe in, but the draft comes to her nevertheless in its hunger for her brothers, friends and lovers. She watches their agonizing decisions—go to Canada, jail, or Vietnam, and she becomes the voice of the anti-war movement on campus. Forty years later, her son follows in her footsteps in the streets of NYC.

PROLOGUE—December 2012

Matt approached the judge, his waist-long dreadlocks pulled back from his face, a black bandana hanging from his back pocket.

“Thanks for always supporting me,” Matt said to his dad and me moments earlier.

I gave him a hug. “That’s what families do.” Biological or chosen, I thought.

Eight times in the past year Matt appeared in court for his arrest during an Occupy Wall Street protest a year ago. Today the judge must rule.

“Is the prosecution ready?” the judge asked.

“Yes, Your Honor.”

“What are the charges?”

“This young man was arrested when he refused to leave the sidewalk after orders were given. He is charged with resisting arrest, refusing to disperse, trespassing, blocking traffic and intent to harm an officer.”

“Those are serious charges, young man,” the judge said. “How do you plead?”

I tightened the grip on my husband’s hand. I thought of another time, another courtroom. I heard the chants. What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now! Hey, Hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today? The Whole World’s Watching.

“Not guilty.”

Not guilty.”

I cried both times.

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1. PROLOGUE—December 2012
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