By OSCAR ABEYTA
Tucson natives Robynn Newton and Wesley Dorffi didn’t sleep from Wednesday to Friday night.
They were too busy enjoying the news they’d just won $49.5 million in the California Lottery.
Newton bought one of two winning tickets for the $99 million SuperLotto Plus game drawn Wednesday, the biggest one-state lottery jackpot ever.
When she claimed her prize, she opted to take the cash value payment of $26 million in one lump sum, which comes to $18 million after taxes.
Had Newton chosen the annuity option, she would have received $49.5 million before taxes, but it would be paid out over 26 years.
Since then, life for her and fiance Dorffi has been turned upside down, she said.
Even checking messages on her voice mail is difficult because the phone won’t stop ringing.
Dorffi said they have had time to revel in their good fortunes.
“We’ve been going nonstop. We finally got sleep last night for the first time since Wednesday,” Dorffi said in an interview Saturday. “We’ve been partying like rock stars.”
Newton and Dorffi have been sweethearts on and off again since childhood.
Both grew up on the Northwest Side and met when they were 12 years old.
They attended Mountain View High School, but she went on to graduate from Flowing Wells while he finished there.
Newton worked at Inglis Florist, while Dorffi waited tables at the Gold Room at the Westward Look Resort and at the Sheraton (now Hilton) El Conquistador.
Both attended Northern Arizona University after high school.
Dorffi joined the Navy in 2001 and is stationed at North Island Naval Air Station near San Diego, where he works as an electrician on helicopters.
Newton moved to Hollywood five years ago to take a shot at acting, but her acting career didn’t exactly take off.
She works at a film production house in Brentwood.
“I was office manager, receptionist, I cast things for them, I did voice-overs,” she said.
And last week, she happened to buy a lucky ticket.
She said the numbers she chose – 6, 9, 17, 29, 32 – have significance to her and Dorffi.
The two had once set a wedding date of June 9, the couple have known each other for 17 years, they are both 29 years old and Dorffi was going to be 32 when he got out of the Navy.
The final number was pulled out of the air.
“On the Mega number, I always pick 13. I picked 12 instead. I just had a feeling about it for some reason,” she said.
At least one of those significant numbers is changing.
Dorffi is taking nearly a month of accumulated leave from the Navy, long enough for his discharge paperwork to be processed.
“I wouldn’t be the most motivated sailor ever,” he said “I really did enjoy my time in the Navy, though.”
Newton hasn’t decided whether she’ll keep her job, but said she’s taking some leave to think about it.
She still has movie ambitions, and now she can afford them.
“I want to start making some films with my friends,” she said.
Though they won’t receive their payout for another few weeks, both were astounded at the pay raise they’ll be getting.
“I’m looking at my earnings statement, and I made just over $20,000 last year,” Dorffi said.
“I’m right about the same,” Newton added.
Newton said she used to go into Macy’s and dream about the expensive clothes she couldn’t afford.
She got to indulge her clothing fantasies after claiming her prize.
“I spent more than I ever have in my life, and I look fabulous” she laughed. “I put it on four credit cards, but it felt great.”
Dorffi admitted he’s dreamed about one piece of clothing himself.
“I’ve always wanted a snakeskin jacket,” he said. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always wanted one.”
“I always wanted to buy it for you,” Newton replied.
When the California Lottery delivers their payment, she will get her chance.
PHOTO CAPTION: Photo courtesy of Robynn Newton
Lottery winners Robynn Newton and Wesley Dorffi celebrate their newly won fortune.