CALEDONIA, Wisc. — Nancy and Al Mohrbacher lived simple lives in Wisconsin before they won the lottery. And things haven't changed, they said.
Despite the $2.8 million they won earlier this year, they spent the same amount on Christmas presents. They're doing the same things this holiday season that they always do.
The family will come over Christmas morning, and they'll share monkey bread before opening presents and having lunch together.
"Our lives are pretty much the same," said Nancy, 67. "But it's fun having new things around."
The couple has been married for 21 years, since two months after they met through The Journal Times' Heartline feature. Their families thought they were a little crazy, jumping into a marriage so soon. But they figured they were adults, their children were grown, and they were happy together.
And the money hasn't changed that, they said.
"We're as happy as we were before," said Al, 66.
Overall, much is the same, they said.
"We're pretty simple people," Nancy said.
They take comfort in the financial security that came with the lottery win, but don't often think about the money in the bank.
"You still hear yourself say 'I'm not paying $15 for that!'" Nancy said.
"We still say 'What, you think I'm made of money?'" Al said.
"$2 million isn't that much these days," Nancy said.
While they enjoyed spending some money on themselves — like the new house, new car, and some new things for inside the house — they feel the best about the money they gave away.
"Giving it away was a lot of fun," Nancy said.
They helped family, and gave a large chunk to their church.
A handful of strangers wrote letters after the win, Nancy said, asking for money for various reasons.
"The lottery people told us that would happen, and that we had to choose where we were going to help," Nancy said.
They chose to help people they knew rather than strangers.
Some of the things the Mohrbachers were sure they would do with the money, they haven't been able to do.
About one month after they moved into the new house, Al started having health problems. He's been hospitalized several times, for problems with his legs and heart.
They don't know whether Al will be well enough to use the new fishing boat they hoped to get, so for now, that purchase is on hold. They had to cancel a trip to Branson, Mo., because of his health, and their dreamed-of cross-country train trip is still a dream.
"I've seen New York, and I'd go back in a heartbeat," Nancy said. "San Francisco is next on the list. Hawaii, that would be real nice. Maybe next year. Maybe next year it will be hard for anyone to get ahold of us."
Their Christmas wishes are few.
"His health would be the main thing," Nancy said.
"And just being together," added Al.
Anything else is a bonus.
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