I arrived home in the evening, after the lottery draw had begun. I found my mother listening to the numbers being called on a radio. She, too had missed the beginning of the draw, so we didn’t know if I had already been assigned a low number. I went to my room, laid in the dark, and listened intently on another radio.
The lottery proceeded slowly, and as the numbers got higher I (and she, in her room) began fearing I had been one of the low numbers. The longer it dragged on, the more extreme we knew the results would be, one way or another. Eventually we heard mine, No. 310. My mother turned her radio off. The next day, we found that my mother’s birthday was assigned No. 4.
I hadn’t met her yet, but my future wife had a brother serving in the Fish Hook region of Viet Nam at the time. He was killed in action 75 days after the date of the lottery.