Carmel author abandons quest for Prince Charming – Monterey Herald

When Pam Walters was little, her grandmother would often tell her to watch the clouds float by. As Walters studied the sky, keeping her gaze on the puffy white shapes, her grandmother said Prince Charming would one day come galloping through those clouds on his white horse and put her in the saddle. And then she would never have to worry about anything again.

His grandmother taught him to hope but also to leave his life in someone else’s hands. His father, morbidly obese, taught him how to eat. His mother, who subsisted on alcohol and speed, taught him how to do it without gaining weight. Pam Walters excelled in all of this. But it didn’t give her the life she was hoping for.

Walters was 62 when the man who took her walked through a cloud of smoke; his mount was a motorcycle. He said everything she had waited so long to hear: “You don’t need to work or worry; I’ll take care of you.” She was sober as a rock. He wasn’t. She went anyway.

Pam Walters’ life has been quite an adventure. Now celebrating 32 years of sobriety, she felt it was time to share her experiences in the hope that others might learn from her choices and experiences, or be inspired to share theirs. “I Hope Prince Charming Drinks” is something of a hybrid, a tale of memory and caution.

“Some people, reading certain chapters, said they realized I had survived to write the book,” Walters said, “but they still wondered how I experienced certain events in my life. .”

Walters dedicated his book to “the helpless community”.

The manor

Born and raised in Chicago, Pam Walters attended college for just one semester before dropping out to work as Hugh Hefner’s assistant at the original Playboy Mansion, now a historic landmark on the N. State Parkway. Perhaps many young women, at that time and place, would have been drawn to the presumed glamor and excitement of the job. Yet the attraction to Walters likely stems from the sense of self she developed growing up in the context of her parents’ lives and in the backrooms and garages of her neighborhood’s tree-lined street.

Walters felt like she needed a drink to get through her first day at kindergarten. She abstained until the age of 8, when she drank her first sip of Crème de Menthe. From then on, she knew exactly where and how to get alcohol.

“I took a detour from normal when I started working for Hef,” she said, from her home in the Carmel Foundation apartments, far from her big brownstone near the north side. from Chicago. “My job was to maintain his schedule, which included getting celebrities – Warren Beatty, Bill Cosby and whoever was promoting a movie – on the guest list for the Sunday buffet.”

It was there that Walters first met Clint Eastwood, who was promoting “Play Misty for Me.” She, with a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other, was showing him around the mansion. When he offered to light her cigarette, she leaned a little too close and felt her artificial eyelashes stick up like flash paper.

“Clint Eastwood was a handsome man. People just stared at him,” she said. “The other day I met him on Ocean Avenue and said, ‘You remember me at the Playboy? Mansion in Chicago when you set my face on fire?’ Always quick on his feet, he said, “Well, it looks like everything has grown back.” ”

Whatever drinks and drugs Walters hadn’t discovered growing up, she found in abundance at the Playboy Mansion. But that’s where she drew the line on indulgences.

“I was a pretty girl,” she says, “but no one at the mansion ever asked me to undress or pose for a picture. Hef’s executive staff was banned. Models and bunnies walking by were complaining about the way they were being treated, and I was like, “What did you expect? Even though I was their age, I felt like an old matron.

When Hefner left Chicago in 1974 and moved into a mansion in Los Angeles, he invited Walters to come with him. She decided enough was enough and used her “executive experiences” to land advertising jobs for Fortune 500 companies.

The first step is to admit that we are helpless

Pam Walters began her book while she was still living the story. She developed it further by sharing her story in meetings with people in similar circumstances.

“More than anything, writing a book about my childhood was cathartic,” she said. “My parents, whose lifestyle had prevented them from caring for me, died in 1988, 10 days apart. I was 40 years old and I did not mourn their loss so much as the loss of the childhood that I had deserved. Part of the reason I wrote my book, I think, was to allow myself to mourn my parents and also my youth.

The title of his book, “I Hope Prince Charming Drinks,” was meant to introduce irony and add humor, Walters says, to a story that wasn’t very funny. She wanted to reveal her drinking days and also the dual addiction to both alcohol and any man who might be willing to save her.

Walters, who has self-published her first book, is currently working on “Oldish,” a book about becoming a “middle-aged woman” and the perceptions and treatment received by a woman who knows she is still young and beautiful – on the inside.

“People kept telling me that books are only published by celebrities, the ‘somebody’s in the world, and I’m nobody,” she said. “The irony is that in the process of writing and publishing my book, I learned exactly who I am. I am a woman with a story worth sharing.

Walters recently received an email from a reader who said his book had changed his life. “My idea and my hope was that if I could reach even one person,” she said, “then coming back through the trials of my life to write this book would be worth it.”

“I Hope Prince Charming Drinks” is available on Amazon and locally at Bookworks in Pacific Grove, the Carmel Drug Store, and River House Books at The Crossroads Carmel.

“I Hope Prince Charming Drinks” by Pam Walters

Lola R. McClure