When the public eye last focused on Mara Spade, the Chevy Chase widow and part-time bartender had just won $1 million in the D.C. Lottery's grand-prize drawing last November. A day later, her teen-aged son, Doug, who had moved to Philadelphia because his mother couldn't afford the $32-an-hour tennis lessons he wanted, came home and announced, "I'd much rather live with my mother."
As it turned out, Doug, 17, stayed in Philadelphia after all, with the wealthy parents of a friend.
"He's not coming home, ever," Spade, 38, said recently as she ruminated over her new life, contemplating the receipt of a $50,000 check each of the next 19 Novembers. Doug still wants to start a life of his own, she said. "A touch of reality hit him. He decided it really wasn't that much different" since she won the money.
On the surface, Spade's life remains much the same as it was before she and Charles H. Puryear triumphed over 18 other finalists and won the two million-dollar prizes offered at the conclusion of the D.C. Lottery's first instant-winner ticket game.
Another 20 finalists will participate in the lottery's second million-dollar prize drawing Friday night, and two people again will win $50,000 checks for the next 20 years.
For those who win Friday's drawing and are assured sudden wealth, Spade presents a textbook case in cautiousness. On the other hand, Puryear, according to court records and his attorney, is finding that as the District government giveth, the District government also taketh away.
Spade still lives in a modest, $500-a-month rented stucco home with her daughter, Darah Velie, a 14-year-old Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School freshman who stood in for her mother at the prize drawing. Spade, who resumed use of her maiden name in 1974 when her husband died of a heart attack at age 29 on the beach at Ocean City, still works three or four times a week as a $13,000-a-year banquet bartender at the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel.
"I am able to live off my bartending," she said.
Still, there is a difference now.
"Emotionally, I'm more secure," she said as her part-terrier dog, Cubby, bounded about her living room. "I don't have any more concerns about money. If the car breaks down, I get it fixed.
"The only thing that's happened is that people who are impressed by money treat me differently. They come up to talk to me where they wouldn't before. People are so awed. They tell me their fantasies about what they'd do with the money."
Spade said that shortly after she won the prize, word of her new-found status spread rapidly through the crowd at a bar mitzvah where she was mixing drinks.
"I wanted to crawl underneath the bar," she said. "I felt so awful, like a freak."
Despite such occurrences, which she says have waned in recent weeks, Spade alternately smiles warmly and then turns serious as she recounts her experiences. After taxes, she said, she had between $36,000 and $37,000 left of the first $50,000 installment she received.
"You can't be rich living off that," she said. "I paid bills, a little over $2,000. I gave a lot of people money for Christmas, people who had helped me. And then I invested the rest, about $22,000."
Spade said she only splurged for herself on a $1,200 26-inch television and a $600 video tape recorder. "I'm very addicted to television," she confessed, saying her particular attraction is to news and sports shows and movies. She said she has promised Darah a cross-country trip "in a couple of years."
She received three letters from charities congratulating her on winning and promptly asking for money. "I threw them in the trash can," she said.
Because she, rather than her mother, participated in the million-dollar prize drawing, Darah has also had to contend with instant-celebrity status, often having to endure the stage whispers and pointed fingers of strangers at school who inform their friends, "There's the girl who won the million dollars."
But the worst role, Darah said, was taking part in a D.C. Lottery television advertisement just before Christmas. She and Puryear, the other million-dollar winner, sat patiently while 100 one-dollar bills were dropped out of a punch bowl held over their heads by a person stationed on a ladder, to make it appear that D.C. Lottery money was raining down on them.
The only problem was that the bills were new and clumped together so that it didn't look like all that much money. Darah and Puryear had to keep picking up the money off the floor for another of an estimated 65 still camera shots.
Puryear was an $11,300-a-year security guard when he won the lottery last year. Since then, Puryear gave more than $6,000 of his initial winnings to his children and other relatives and bought himself a used 1976 Chevrolet for $400.
Half of his $40,000 in after-tax winnings went to his landlord, Alethia Craig, with whom he said he agreed to split any lottery prizes. After taxes, he has asserted, he ended up with only $20,000.
Last month, a D.C. Superior Court judge, acting in a suit filed by Puryear's estranged wife, Beatrice, eight days after he won the lottery's grand prize, temporarily ordered the 53-year-old lottery winner to start paying $300 a month in support of his two minor children and another $400 a month to his wife.
In the face of a suit brought in February against him by the D.C. government, Puryear has agreed to start paying back, in $2,400-a-year increments, the $27,088.77 that the District has made in welfare payments to his children since November 1970, according to court records.
Puryear declined to talk about his life since becoming a millionaire-by-stages.
Craig said that of the $20,000 she got, she gave each of her six children $1,000 and used the other $14,000 to pay bills. "I don't have a bit left" of the first installment, she said, but she expects to collect $20,000 more each November.
Puryear's lawyer, Benjamin F. Saulter, said that Puryear gave $500 to each of his eight children, another $600 to one of them in college, $300 apiece to a niece and two nephews who are orphans, an additional $300 apiece to his two youngest children at Christmas, and $100 to a church. In addition, Saulter said that Puryear spent $500 on various Christmas gifts, $400 on the used Chevrolet and about $8,500 on miscellaneous bills and living expenses.
The net result, Saulter said, is that Puryear has $4,000 left in a savings account.
"He didn't squander the money," Saulter said. "He only ended up with a beat-up car out of it." CAPTION: Picture 1, For Mara Spade and son Doug, the $1 million lottery win hasn't changed life much; by Frank Johnson -- The Washingto Post. Picture 2, Mara Spade's daughter, Darah Velie, and Charles Puryear on their lucky day; by Bill Snead -- The Washington Post