$600M Powerball jackpot plays into customers' dreams

Today’s prize biggest-ever in U.S.

Retired Spanish teacher Rose Corcoran-Smith says she will fly her friends to Spain and set up a college fund for her great-grandson if she wins the Powerball.
Retired Spanish teacher Rose Corcoran-Smith says she will fly her friends to Spain and set up a college fund for her great-grandson if she wins the Powerball.

Rose Corcoran-Smith can see it now: A college fund for her great-grandson and a house in Spain.

Only six perfectly picked lottery numbers, and odds of 1 in 175 million, stand between her and that dream-come-true Powerball jackpot estimated at $600 million as of Friday afternoon.

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“I have got the cutest, most adorable great-grandson that would greatly benefit with a college education from Powerball winnings,” she said.

As for her friends, they could fly — in luxury — to that home on the Spanish coast.

“I would own a plane, and then I would ... bring them back and forth, and they would win as much as I won by coming and visiting me there,” said Ms. Corcoran-Smith, a retired Springfield High School Spanish teacher who lives in Toledo.

She spent $10 on those Powerball hopes at the In and Out Mart at Alexis and Talmadge roads, where players on Friday snapped up $2 tickets for a shot at the biggest prize in the game’s history and the second-largest lottery prize in the world.

And the estimated $600 million jackpot could grow.

More than 51,000 tickets were sold in Ohio between noon and 1 p.m. Friday, said Ohio Lottery spokesman Danielle Frizzi-Babb.

She said she expects the frenzy to build before the drawing later today.

“It’s been busy from the minute I opened the door,” said Sue Morris, the mart’s manager.

“There’s a lot of big group [ticket purchases]. You know, you get everybody who’s ... never played eeeeeebefore so they’ll throw down $10, $20.”

She has the fever, too. Ms. Morris pools money with others to buy tickets and plans to pick up another $20 worth just for herself.

She has another way she could strike it rich, too: If one of her loyal customers gets lucky.

“They say they would take care of us if they win,” she said.

Wannabe-millionaires copy numbers from fortune cookie slips, anniversaries, addresses, license plates, cash register totals, and digits pulled from thin air as inspiration for choosing lottery numbers, Ms. Morris said.

Gene Hudson of Toledo purchased four tickets, two for himself and two for his wife. He picked his numbers “out of the air,” but said his wife selected hers using birthdays and ages of family members. He plays the lottery when the jackpot is sky-high.

“You don’t need to sell anymore. I got it,” he said, as he handed slips to the cashier.

And if one of those numbers really is a winner? Then Mr. Hudson said others would reap the rewards, too.

“If I won that money, I’d do all kinds of things. I’d pay off my church’s mortgage,” he said, adding he’d also give money to his children and take a vacation.

Don Schmidt of Lambertville picked up half a dozen Powerball tickets. He’s had more luck with scratch-off tickets, but he keeps playing “just to donate.” Equally pithy is his explanation for how he would use any winnings: “Spend it.”

At Joseph’s Beverage Center on Talmadge Road, players have been buying tickets as part of office and factory workplace pools and picking up a ticket as they shop.

“A lot of people that normally don’t play seem to be playing,” said store manager Tom Shea, who expects lottery sales to more than double because of the giant jackpot.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.