The Vietnam war and the draft were an immense weight on male college students. And of course, far more intense for those non-students who were drafted. Students had the II-S deferment, but there was always this monster–the draft and shipment to Vietnam– just over our shoulder. A male student now has the luxury to drop out for a semester or a year or longer, to work, travel or for any nonstudent experience. We did not have that important relief valve. The pressure to stay in college was overwhelming. Also, for some students there were real concerns about flunking out and getting drafted.

The father of my roommate in 1969/1970 forgot or was late making the Duke tuition payment. Duke then reported him to his draft board as a non-student. He went through some hoops to get it straightened out, but it put a chill into all of us. The monster was real.

I remember being glad to hear about the lottery system, mainly because it would allow us to be eligible for only one year and get the trauma over with. There was no internet or cable TV, so I was in my dorm room listening to the radio as the dates were called out. I was pleased to get No. 169.

The next day the scene on campus was like a dream. You could tell by looking at the faces of the males whether their numbers were high or low. One student wore a sign hung over his shoulders saying "Thanks Mom, I’m number 365."

I thought it would be fun to relate the lottery numbers to the signs of the zodiac. (Astrology being an "in" thing at the time). So I listed each day of each sign, inserted the lottery number for that day, and calculated the average lottery number for each sign. My purpose was to see if there was a correlation of the supposed "peace and love" zodiac sign Aquarius with high lottery numbers, and the supposed "warlike" sign Taurus with low numbers. I recall that the Aquarius average was a bit higher, thus giving some credence to astrologers, but not enough for me to get excited about the findings.

As for my fate, I kept my II-S deferment through college and was draft eligible for a year afterwards. The draft faded by that time and my number was high enough so that I was not called.