Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis


The way I remember it, there was no sign at the end of my sophomore year, how different things would be in the fall. But, there must have been something.

The Fall of 1969 brought a new world. My contemporaries and I were getting our adult feet under us. No pants for girls during the week?? Fuck that shit. Take 'em off me if you don't like it. No beer? No prob. Just don't bogart that joint.

But, mainly the war. I had a statistics class that Fall. It was required for journalism and for some science majors so it was a full class and I was the only female. I looked around the class and realized that if I flunked the class, no biggie. I'd just take it again and again until Dr. Wu got tired of my stupid face. If the boys flunked the class, it was likely they were rewarded with a trip right to the rice fields of Vietnam and it could very well be a one way trip.

All I really could think about was the war. The draft in particular. Men had always been drafted into the military - all of my life anyway. But, it was pretty darned easy to get out of it. Students could, there were lots of health exceptions. A big ole' bag of money would do it easily. Except now it was getting more and more difficult and no one was volunteering.

There is a lot of angst and drama in the life of anyone in their late teens and early 20s but I those of us who hit those years in the late 60's and early 70's got a triple dose.

And then, in December they started the draft lottery. They drew dates from a drum (literally) and if you had a penis and your birthday got a low number, you were gone. It was horrible. So horrible.

I was working at the radio station that night and the numbers came in over the ticker tape and we had to read them on the air - without crying. I knew the birthday of every single guy I knew and it was so hard to see their fate spit out from a machine.

Every day there were war protests - even at our isolated little school. And then, in May, during a protest at a school not far away, the National Guard were called in and started shooting and killing people. The Kent State shootings rocked us to the core. Everyone. They closed Kent State and all the students fanned out to nearby colleges. We got a bunch of them at Bethany and that really spread the fear, stress and anger on a whole new level.

We really did not trust anyone over 30. We really didn't. Adults were not doing their job. Presidents got shot and killed. Presidential candidates got shot and killed. Preachers who were going to get peace for all got shot and killed. We were just kids - we were scared and pissed. My junior year at college was not that great a year.

So I went to work as a newspaper reporter.

To Be Continued.
Tags: tbc
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