By Alan Burke
---- — Gamblers were in the holiday spirit yesterday as they lined up to play the Powerball lottery.
It’s virtually a national lottery, with only a handful of states failing to opt in. Consequently, the pot for the drawing has swelled to $500 million.
Asked what they would do with the money, a random group of players made clear that it isn’t fast cars or fast living they are looking forward to — it’s spending to help others.
Of course, most had a few less altruistic aims, but it was tough getting those out of them.
“The best part would be the giving,” Ed Bussone of Beverly said. He went on to explain that he’s only playing at all because of an unusual incident. He happened upon his late mother’s favorite number and that, combined with the coincidence of the huge Powerball pot, triggered him to spend the two bucks on a ticket.
He concedes, however, that the number never paid off for Mom.
Terry Valente said that if she were to win, everyone she knows would be invited to a party. She picked up her ticket at the often-lucky Summit Street Variety in Peabody yesterday afternoon.
If they call her number, on the other hand, she will soon be hard to find.
Valente explains that she won’t need a fancy new house because once the party ends she’ll be in constant motion, traveling. “And I wouldn’t have to work again,” she pointed out.
Sheila Richardson discussed her plans with owner Sam Patel at the Beverly Stop & Go. There would be money for her daughter, her daughter’s husband and her granddaughter.
“I would give money to all my dear friends,” she said. “My special friend, I would buy her a beach house. That’s what she’s always wanted.”
For herself, Richardson said she would visit London and Paris in style. And keeping up the British motif, she’d buy herself “a brand-new Jaguar. Without a doubt.”
Just hearing that discussion was enough to inspire Don Purcell to buy a ticket. He runs his own business stocking the shelves of stores like the Stop & Go with snacks. What would he do with enough money to buy anything in the world? (Except Twinkies)
“It wouldn’t change my life,” Purcell said. “I’d probably put some money away for my children and grandchildren. ... I would hand some over to people who need it. I already help at a number of places.”
He expects to go right on working, the world’s wealthiest snack cake distributor.
“I might buy myself a new car,” John Capozzi of Swampscott said. But there are three kids and grandkids to take care of. “I’d probably go on vacation.” He shrugs. “I’m a workaholic. Would I stop working? I don’t know.”
Mary Kaico came from her job at the beauty salon to buy a ticket.
“I would just ...” She paused. “What would I do? Well, I would just help everybody.” She gave it a bit more thought and wondered, “What would you do with all that money? ... I’m kind of a simple person. I’m happy if I can pay my bills and relax.”
Yet, it was suggested that there must be some personal reason why she bought the ticket.
She nodded and decided she might cut back at the salon, going to part time. But nothing much would change.
Except, well, she would hire a full-time driver and limousine to take her there.