This Week's Contestant
POSTED on 6-11
My Wheel journey started back in 1977 in Charleston, SC. My husband was active duty military stationed at the air base and I was a stay-at-home mommy with little to do during the day. I had seen Wheel many times before but only when I made time to sit and watch. Now that I was home all the time, I needed something to do to keep my mind off the fact that I was 3,000 miles from my family and hometown for the first time in my life.
As an avid crossword player and reader, the game seemed a natural to me. I used to play along and win most of the time, and even bought my own make believe prizes for my home. Well, the years went by and my life went soon went from stay-at-home mom to working mom. I missed my show so much that my husband bought a VCR. Would you believe it had a corded remote with a 12 foot cord? No cordless back then! Every day after work, my ritual was the same, make dinner, clean the kitchen, play with daughter and watch Wheel. Many years have passed since my corded VCR. I now TiVo or use my DVR and I watch it every night live or later.
One night several years ago I was sitting down watching Wheel when a commercial came on that Wheel would be in my area looking for contestants. I planned time off work to make sure I could go to this Wheelmobile event. Oh what I shock I got when I arrived and saw the line. I almost went home but decided oh well, I'm here anyway. There were a couple of shows each night over the next two days. I was at every show and my name was not called, but I just felt that one day I was going to make it.
Two years later Wheel came again and this time I took the whole day off to make sure I was there early to secure my spot inside. The last game of the last show, they called my name. I still remember adrenalin rush as I ran on stage for my interview. I was the last person in line and knew the puzzle right off. I kept hoping no one would solve before me and as soon as my turn came, I called out BOWLING ALLEY, which of course was the answer to the puzzle. Afterwards we were told that we might get a second call to come for additional screenings and I just knew I'd be called. Surely enough a month or two went by and I received an email for the second screening. I made the first cut and was told that if we were selected we'd know within a few months. Well, the call never came and I felt let down.
On October 5, 2011, guess what, Wheel came back to Tacoma! I told my husband I was not going as that date was his birthday. He insisted I go and as did my God momma. God momma Dorothy was like a mother to me, and had recently had a stroke. She was not always lucid but had seen the commercial and insisted I go. Knowing the drill from my previous times I was there extra early and was one of the first in a long line of several thousand people. While in line I befriended a young military wife who also had the dream of making it to Wheel. I shared all of my past experiences and she asked if we could sit together. Imagine our shock to hear our names called back-to-back in the very first grouping. Jen and I made it on stage with neither solving the puzzle. I'd made it that far before so I was not about to get excited.
On November 12, 2011, my beloved Dorothy closed her eyes for the last time. I was very despondent over her death and was busy planning her funeral. We buried her on November 22, which is the same day that Wheel sent me an email inviting me back to Seattle for another look. I told my husband I just know that this time I would make it. That it just felt right. The email required me to be in Seattle on December 7, which was right in the middle of my holiday giving season. I am President of a small 501c3 non-profit for needy children (Toy Rescue Mission) and this is my absolute busiest time of the year.
The auditions went great and once again I was kept in the final grouping and given the "We will call you" speech, only this time was told the call or letter would be within the next two weeks. Two weeks came and went and no call. We got closer to Christmas and still no call. So finally after two and half weeks, I told my husband that it was not to be.
On Christmas Eve, I was home baking and husband asked if I had checked the mail that day and I said no. I quickly said that the only mail I wanted was a letter from Wheel and went back to what I was doing. Moments or hours had passed when husband came back in kitchen and threw mail on the counter. Immediately I told him to get his pile of Christmas cards and bills off my counter. He ignored me which was odd. I walked over and picked up the stack to find just what I expected - five Christmas cards and one utility bill. One business envelope had been turned upside down and as you probably have guessed, YES it was my letter congratulating me on being selected as a contestant. I almost fainted. What a Christmas gift this was!!!!!!!!
After calling my daughter and BFF, I said Merry Christmas we are going to Wheel! We all screamed and cried. My BFF lives in Lexington, KY and said all she needed was a few days' notice to fly out to LA with me. My daughter lives locally and said OK mom, let's go winand so we waited for the call which came about a month later.
It was an awesome experience flying down to the studio. Vanna came back and talked with us before the show. She is so sweet and down to earth. (I am still trying to find her brand of yarn.) I felt like a movie star having my make-up done and retouched throughout the day. The entire staff was absolutely amazing. They were so friendly and accommodating.
We drew numbers for days of the week and for shows. My show is on during "America's Game" week which airs on Thursday, June 14th. Now I can't tell you whether I won not. You'll have to watch it for yourself on KOMO News 4 at 7pm. Maybe you can figure out my weakest subject in school.
Come back Friday and we'll finish... See ya at the Wheel!