Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Detour

Wednesday, July 1,1970. The day that changed the direction of my life. I had graduated from high school the previous year, I was working my dream job at a radio station in Peru, Illinois (WGSY) and I was feeling pretty darn good about my future. And then … the Vietnam draft lottery happened. I was on the air at the radio station when the lottery numbers were being drawn. Our AP (Associated Press) teletype machine was spitting out the lottery numbers between the “more important” events of the day. (Kids … this is how radio stations received the news back in the day. Sort of like receiving a one-way text, on paper, from a big, old clunky typewriter.) Clank-clank-clank with the teletype. Thump-thump-thump went my heart as I anxiously waited to see what my draft lottery number would be. In the radio studio, I introed a song (CCR – “Fortunate Son”), quickly popped out of the room, rushed down the hall to the teletype and began to scan several yellow pages of the latest news to see if I could find my birthday and the corresponding draft number. As luck would have it, my birthday was being typed as I stood next to the AP machine. April 16 … clank-clank-clank … 3 … clank-clank-clank … 1 … clank-clank-clank-clank-clank … carriage return … April 17 … clank-clank-clank … 2 … clank-clank-clank … 6 … clank-clank-clank … 4 … clank-clank-clank-clank-clank … carriage return. WAIT A MINUTE!!!! Why did my birthday only have TWO numbers! This can’t be right!!! Seriously, 31 is my draft number???? My head was spinning … and “Fortunate Son” was ending. I rushed back to the studio just as CCR was fading to start my next song … Country Joe & the Fish “I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag.” (OK, the part about playing Country Joe is not true. But that’s what I should have played.) The fact is … I can’t remember much of anything that happened that Wednesday after my draft number of 31 appeared on the teletype. However, I do remember the next day. (To be continued …)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Part 2?