Even though my last post was lengthy, there is even more to the story.
Steve’s draft number was 47, which meant he was high on the list to be drafted and sent to Vietnam. A side benefit to his assistantship at Pittsburg State was that he might get a student deferment. Might.
In the fall, he received a notice to report to a campus location to be taken to Kansas City for a physical exam before he was actually inducted. This, like a COVID test, was an exam no one wanted to pass. Unfortunately, Steve passed with no restrictions.
He came home totally dejected, as was I. What should I do? I was obligated to finish my year at Washington School, and I’d be in this wasteland by myself for a year before I could leave. I decided I could do it! I’d never lived alone and this would be a good experience for me.
Steve went to the induction office on campus to sign his final papers. The induction officer looked over the forms Steve had filled out and looked up in surprise. “You were married on August 24, 1965?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Steve replied.
“Son, this is your lucky day! You’re a Kennedy husband.”
Of course we had no idea what that meant, but he explained. President Kennedy had signed a bill keeping married men from being drafted. The bill expired August 25, 1965. Yes! One day after our wedding. What rejoicing!
So our 15 months in Kansas was secure. I enjoyed my year of teaching fifth grade and walking home for lunch. I enjoyed little Billy riding his bike up and down my street and calling, “Hi, Mrs. Boyd!” over and over. We loved our church friends there and our tiny little apartment. We got to eat fried chicken at Chicken Annie’s and Chicken Mary’s on Sundays and visit Aunt Juanita, Uncle Gilliam, and Annelle in Edmond, Oklahoma, for Thanksgiving.
Steve earned his Master’s degree in communication and we accepted jobs in North Carolina. This time my parents came to haul our earthly possessions in a trailer from Kansas to Tennessee and then to North Carolina. I guess we wanted to give each set of parents the opportunity to drive across Missouri. I’m sure Steve’s parents smiled with relief that they weren’t asked to make that trip again. It was great to have them all there for the graduation, plus my brother Larry and cousin Mike, on their way to California to work for the summer. We were blessed.
Thanks to President John F. Kennedy and the grace of God, we were on our way!