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A Year Later, Lottery Winner Wishes He'd Been Quieter

29 December 2003

ST. ALBANS, W.Virginia -- As reported by the Associated Press: ``The letters never stop.

``They come by the dozens, day after day, though it has been a year since Andrew 'Jack' Whittaker learned he held history's most profitable lottery ticket.

``…`I can't even read them,' Whittaker says. 'I wouldn't have any money left if I did.'

``The visitors keep coming, too. Two to four pilgrims a day -- from as far away as Washington and Idaho -- bringing tales of woe to the Scott Depot house Whittaker still owns, ringing the bell that's still answered by his wife, Jewell.

```If I had to do it all over, I'd be more secluded about it,' Whittaker said. 'I'd do the same things, but I'd be a little more quiet.' .

``…Whittaker brought his wife, daughter and granddaughter to a state Lottery Commission press conference, then did a giddy round of national interviews in which he said he would tithe a tenth of his winnings to his church and start a foundation to help poor West Virginians.

``…A year later, the openness is overlaid with wariness.

``Security guards now watch his home and office, and last week an assistant videotaped and audiotaped a press interview in which he said he regretted the toll fame has taken on his family.

``…The Whittakers' situation is not unique.

``Lottery winners often struggle to handle newfound wealth and fame, psychologists say, and many become tied up in lawsuits or estranged from family and friends. One study claimed that instant millionaires have about the same level of happiness as recent accident victims…"

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