I was sitting pretty in March 1969. Had a full scholarship offer to Oceanographic School at FSU after I finished at Duke. My planned marriage in June would give me a draft deferment. Then the bottom fell out: no more marriage deferments, or grad school either.
My dad pulled strings, got me into Navy OCS while finishing up at Duke. Got an official letter to appear for a swearing-in ceremony at the local recruiting office. Drove the Greek’s MG to the recruiting center on my "last day as a civvie" in April, 1969. Expected to be assigned to some kind of oceanographic vessel. Then the Navy guy says "uh, let’s see, you’ll be on a minesweeper in.." I excused myself, ran outside, and drove back to the White House (on Green Street) as fast as I could. A week later my dad calls and says "you did what?"
Next went to the Air Force recruiting center, took lots of tests, got accepted, qualified as a navigator (bad eyes). They said they would send my file back to Waukegan.
Graduated, went home, got married, went on honeymoon in June 1969. On return, called the local Air Force office, who said "file, what file?" The file was never found and it was too late to start over (or maybe no spots left in the Air Force OTS). So I went back to work in dad’s store awaiting the draft, expecting to hear in August.
A friend stopped by one day and asked "whatcha doin bout dat draft?" "Waiting," I said, since there was no more marriage deferment and it was too late to have a kid. "Why not teach?" he asked–a badly needed profession, qualifies for deferment. So off I go, no teaching credentials whatever, and landed a job at a second interview in a farm town, Antioch. When I explained my situation, they simply asked that I stay two years. The scholarship to FSU had been lost by then anyway since I couldn’t enroll without being drafted.
I was actually having fun teaching (another story) when they announced there would be a lottery. My brother (8 years younger and would never be drafted) and I listen on the radio. His birthday is 352, yeah! I’m 197, rats! By October 1970 the local board says they are around No. 185. By November 1970 I’m sweating like a pig but holding my teaching deferment. The draft board lets me know that if I drop my deferment for the last month of the year, and if my number isn’t called, I’m free.
Sweating it out, what do I do? By December 1970 they are at 195. So I go for it, and in December they call..no numbers at all! I’m free to make plans to start grad school in the fall of 1971. Finished teaching in June 1971, got scholarship back…and the rest is history.