Times have been challenging lately from an economic standpoint for native Walla Wallan and 1981 Walla Walla High School graduate Dena Guglielmelli.
But the Phelan, Calif., resident said her prayers were answered when she was selected as a contestant on The Price is Right and won just what she prayed for: a car. The program aired Tuesday on CBS.
She and daughter Chantill Guglielmelli just decided to load up in the car and go to the CBS studio in Los Angeles, according to Dena's parents, Dee and Jo Guglielmelli of Walla Walla. "Dena let out a squeal when emcee Drew Carey called her down to compete," Dee said.
First, Dena and Chantill faced six hours of processing and interviews. To get the producers' attention Chantill told them she was a ninja. When pressed about this occupation, Dena said Chantill told the producers she could tell them, but then she'd have to kill them. And Dena followed up, saying she was the mother of a ninja and she sang them a song. As she's from Phelan, near Victorville, her song said "I have phun in Phelan, I have a phelan that I am going to win a car … phunny story and I guess you have to be there," Dena quipped.
The pair were seated in the front row where "Drew Carey leaned over and said to me, ‘you've just gotta win!'" Dena said.
"I prayed to God to win a car," Dena said by phone on Thursday.
"We had a blast all day and then I won. It was extremely loud. I am hoping I didn't embarrass my family" while on camera, she said.
She won a Ford Mustang 2011 - "a nice car, a fast car" Dena said. She also scored a trampoline.
The new car might have been a keeper, but Dena already has a newer vehicle, so she didn't need the Mustang.
She paid Chantill's tuition to the University of California at Davis and bought her a house to live in while she attended school.
Chantill just earned her AA degree as a pharmacy tech. She has a job in her field and will continue her studies to earn her bachelor's and become a pharmacist, Dena said.
"I was able to sell the house in Davis," Dena said. By taking money from the game show instead of the Mustang Dena said she should be debt-free some time this week.
"I've been having nothing but good luck lately," Dena laughed. She is director of sales and a consultant with Potere Co., a solar panel business in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
After all the excitement, Dena's dad said, " ‘keep the trampoline because when you come down you'll need a soft landing,'" Dee said.
"I did keep the trampoline for that very reason," Dena laughed.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or afternoons at 526-8313.