It was a grey day as the numbers began to be called out for the first ever lottery in modern times. I was a senior in college preparing to graduate in 1970 and unsure as to my future. Join the service, go to Canada or disappear. I had been 1-A eligible once before when I took off a semester from school. At the time this change occurred, I returned to school and my draft status resumed to a student deferment. I understood the reality of being drafted. My entire apartment building emptied out when the graduate deferments were removed and now I was approaching decision time.
My plan prior to the lottery was to attend graduate school in Canada. I was accepted to the University of New Brunswick, but my attending school there was considered contrary to Canadian interests due to my active anti-war activities at Wisconsin. The lottery became my last resort to avoid more drastic decisions. I remember listening to the numbers being released on the radio, but awoke the next day to re-check the newspaper to match my birthday and lottery number. I was lucky–my number was 321 and I knew that being drafted was no longer an issue. That same morning as I walked up Bascom Hill to class, people were wearing their numbers around their necks. The low number folks were joking, but we all knew that they were going. The middle number folks felt that they might escape the dreaded draft and I felt somewhat guilty about my high number. Nevertheless, my life changed because the opportunities for me became remarkably unlimited. Graduate school, travel, etc.–all were options. Ultimately, I went on to graduate school at Arizona and made on with my life.