Holt woman and her mom win trip of a lifetime“My knees buckled and I’m hyperventilating … People are crying, laughing and screaming.” You might think what Holt resident Diana Priebe is describing above is something horrific. But the opposite is true. While telling the story Priebe gets goose bumps, “She yelled at the top of her lungs … ‘I’m taking you to the other side of the world!’” If you’re a fan of the Oprah show, than you know exactly what Priebe is talking about. That’s right Priebe and her mother, Alice Mansfield, are two of the 300 lucky ultimate Oprah fans who were invited to travel with her to Australia this December. Priebe and her mom start their 10-day journey down under on Dec. 4. But Priebe’s adventure with Oprah started long ago. Twenty-five years ago to be exact. Living in a rural community in IL., Priebe said the only channel she got was the one that showed AM Chicago. One day there was an opportunity to call in for tickets and despite being eight months pregnant with her son Matthew and having a toddler at home; Priebe picked up the phone and got herself a ticket to the show. Soon enough she loaded herself into the car and made the trip into the city. Once at the Sears Tower, Priebe got into an elevator to head to the AM Chicago studio. All was well until the elevator got stuck. Forty-five minutes later the crowded elevator began to fill with a feeling of anxiety. It became apparent to a man in the back he had to do something, and so he began to pry the doors open. Since the elevator was stuck in between floors the only way out, was to crawl. Priebe went first. “I turn around and there’s Oprah,” said Priebe. “She looked at me and said ‘girl, what are you doing?’” Priebe said she was there to see Oprah. Oprah touched Priebe’s belly and told her she was sure there were big things in store for the baby inside. She was right about that, said Priebe. Her son Matthew has followed in his father’s footsteps and is now a Lansing Police Officer. The story of the fateful elevator mishap was the first thing that came to mind last year when producers of the Oprah show asked audience members to email with their favorite Oprah memory. Priebe sent in the story and soon enough a producer called and invited Priebe and a guest to the show. In September Priebe and her mom headed to the windy city. Once registered at the show, they began to get the feeling something was about to happen. “I didn’t know what it was,” said Priebe, “but I knew it’d be big … You could feel the energy in the room.” Before Priebe and her mom knew it, Oprah was announcing their trip to Australia. A mom to four, Priebe is also a business owner and helps to promote her husband Jon’s entrepreneurial endeavors including a product called Cide Shields, which he has developed for first incident responders. Mansfield is employed by the state. Priebe and her mom are excited for their trip. Through a series of questionnaires from producers they have a few clues as to what they’ll be doing while down under. No matter what, one thing is for sure, they’ll be having fun.
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.