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Taking It in Stride : Folks in Mother Lode Country Unfazed by Their $2-Million Winner

October 30, 1985|CARL INGRAM | Times Staff Writer

RAILROAD FLAT, Calif. — Outwardly, at least, there was little sign Tuesday in this Mother Lode hamlet and in neighboring Glencoe that folks were celebrating the good fortune of Linda Scott, the Glencoe woman who the day before became the new state lottery's first $2-million winner.

No marching band. No parade. No well-wishers clustered at her driveway. No "Welcome Home Linda."

It wasn't even the exclusive talk of the town. At the Railroad Flat General Store, two shoppers remarked that even though it isn't Halloween yet, they had heard Christmas music over the radio. At Haag's Grocery Store, clerk Lisa McCoy and deliveryman David Price unloaded cartons of milk and went about filling a dairy case. Over at Sharon's Cafe, Marie Taylor wiped off a table in preparation for the lunch crowd.

In short, it was a typically peaceful, shimmering-red-and-orange autumn day in the Gold Country foothills of the Sierra Nevada, where privacy is precious and community demonstrations are few and far between.

Railroad Flat and Glencoe are Calaveras County foothill villages where everyone seems to know everyone else and, if not, then they certainly know of them. But they're villages where, as one man put it, "People don't get too excited and people enjoy their privacy."

While Scott's new celebrity status may not have been the No. 1 topic of conversation in Railroad Flat and Glencoe the day after she became a multimillionaire, townspeople would confide, when asked, that they were "thrilled" for her.

Certainly the luxury Mercedes-Benz she said she would now buy will contrast sharply with the utility four-wheel drive pickups parked outside the general store and post office at Glencoe, population 205.

As he tended a young tree at their knolltop home, Scott's father-in-law, George Scott, agreed that "oh, yes, I feel fine, I guess" about her good luck, but turned aside questions about whether instant millionaire-status would change the family's life style.

"Money always makes a little change," he said, turning back to the tree.

A red-and-white "Private Property No Trespassing" sign hung from the gate to the Scotts' driveway.

Scott herself was unavailable for comment Tuesday and was believed to still be in Los Angeles, where she scored her big win.

Next-door neighbors Mark and Letrisha McCullar agreed that things will probably stay pretty much the same, but said the region's public relations might improve.

"Maybe this will give us a little good publicity instead of bad," McCullar said. "We're only about five miles over the hill from Wilseyville."

Wilseyville is the site of a mountain cabin where the late Leonard Lake and Charles Ng are suspected of murdering as many as 22 people in sex-torture slayings. Lake killed himself while in police custody in South San Francisco and Ng, who is in custody in Canada, has been charged with nine murders.

McCoy likewise expressed doubt that much will change the slow pace of life here, except for the Scotts. "It's her money and I don't think she's going to be saying, 'Here, take whatever you want.' "

Nevertheless, McCoy confided that lottery ticket sales at her one-room grocery soared after the announcement of Scott's big win. "I've sold 15 more this morning than I did at the same time yesterday and that's a lot for this little store," she said.

McCoy also noted that Scott, a telephone company maintenance administrator, had said she intends to return to her job and stay on until retirement.

"Can you imagine a millionaire working for the telephone company?" she asked rhetorically. "I'd quit."

At the Pines Bar

The closest thing to a community celebration came Monday night, when some 50 to 60 people turned out at the 60-year-old Calaveras Pines bar. A large sign on the wall read, "Congratulations Linda--Stay on the Roll," and well-wishers offered toasts and downed a hastily arranged buffet supper of cold cuts and cheese while watching a tape of Scott making her fateful wheelspin on TV.

"There were people here who knew her and didn't know her, but it didn't matter. In a place like this everybody's a neighbor," bar owner Donna Jordan said. "It was a gathering of the community. . . . We're all sort of like family."

The normal Monday night crowd at Jordan's numbers about 12, she said.

Meanwhile, in Whittier, 10 more people were selected Tuesday to spin the lottery wheel Monday for their chance at $2 million. They will be joined by 10 others selected last week.

The 10 new finalists are Mazal Eytan of Los Angeles, William Collins of Oxnard, Kendall Byrd of Long Beach, Guadalupe Lopez of Salinas, Clyde Epps of Bakersfield, Rosa Fraga of Tracy, Nicki Lopez of Long Beach, Alfred Evans of Los Angeles, Eva Julianus of Pacifica and Ivan Cox of Covina.

They were selected from among 6,250 names in a large drum by Daniel B. Grady, board president of the San Diego Community Colleges. Winners of $100 in the lottery's instant "scratch-off" ticket game are eligible for the jackpot game. About one-third of the amount grossed by the lottery goes to public education.

Times staff writer Nancy Skelton in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

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