Grand Slam Pam

18 Aug

Grand Slam Pam

When I met Pam she was working as a mortgage officer with a well-known bank in Vancouver, Washington, a beautiful area in the northwestern territory of the United States where the majestic Columbia River runs along the banks of carefully placed high rises and corporate offices. Nearer to the Columbia Basin, Pam had an office high enough to view the rapidly changing currents of the river. Having an office overlooking the river was something Pam never seemed to take for granted because it came with her planning. When we spoke by phone, usually on her lunch hour, she’d interrupt our conversation with, “Oh, Jo, I can see a great heron from here! He’s beautiful! I think he’s caught a fish!” That’s how good a view it was that Pam could watch blue heron dive for salmon and trout.

Pam had been working for the bank seven years and had come up through the ranks, starting first as a teller and with her sunny good looks and smart, facile tongue, she had a good head for numbers and she went on from one promotion to the next until she became a mortgage officer. Known for her ability to see a job through, and with her connections, she could move paperwork where no one else could. To arrive at this stage in the banking and loan industry was a coup of sorts, and though it may have come with a bit of cunning, her meteoric rise to break the glass ceiling was, nonetheless, a carefully planned move – not an exercise in complacency, but rather a bold move by a bold and confident woman who wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted.

“This is what a woman has to do,” she told me after her excitement over the blue heron, “I work this hard for my kids, because no one is going to raise them but me.”

Pam had two children, a boy and girl, both in college. The children were self-sufficient and were working part-time jobs to help pay their tuition, but Pam often helped by sending checks to help with incidentals. She seemed to have it together: great job, healthy life attitude, good health, good children, a life that was well-balanced, and she seemed, overall, very happy.  If she did complain the complaint was minimal and she’d quickly move onto the next topic.  A considerate and thoughtful woman, she was mindful of taking up too much of a conversation, stopping to ask, “So, enough about me, tell me girl: what have you been up to?” Underneath that savvy, smart businesswoman exterior was a woman who yearned for a simpler life, one out of the corporate world. “Well, what is it?” I asked her one day, she had just come from a tarot card reading.

“I went into a metaphysical store that has just opened in Vancouver. I heard about her, this woman, there. I was just leaving when a very beautiful woman approached me and took my hands in hers. I didn’t know who she was. She looked into my eyes and said I think you need a reading. I found out she was the psychic I had been hearing about. But she didn’t know I was asking about her.”

“Wow, hmmmn. Amazing.”

“Well, I thought so anyway. She said I don’t belong in corporate America (I knew that about myself).”

“Where do you belong?”

“When I brought up the idea of the pet shelter, she thought I meant just volunteering. The next card she pulled was a card that said “Destiny.” Then she pulled the next card and it was a picture of a half-human, half-lion and it said “Power.”

“Hmmn. so, that’s where you got the idea? You don’t belong in the corporate world?”

“I hate the rat race and the petty competition. I always have. I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something bigger that benefits people. Every time I take a job making good money (working in a corporation) I feel like I’m just doing it for the money…I feel…like a prostitute. But I have never felt that it was my purpose. I have had the idea of a pet shelter for the past couple of years. It was just something I thought I might want to do someday…later.  I’m good at what I do and this is my job for now because I need the money and the benefits. But I need to be working towards my other goal at the same time.”

As fortune would have it, realizing her world was incomplete, on one particularly stressful day, feeling the walls of loneliness closing in, Pam had gotten onto a local dating site where she began an exchange of love letters with a woman from Seattle. She would later tell everyone – including her boss – she had met “the love of her life” and that it was time for a change. Soon after that, everything that Pam built for herself, everything she had worked for, was pushed aside in order for Kasey to place first in Pam’s life.


Kasey Fairfeather was a tribeswoman, seated on the counsel of tribesmen in the Suquamish tribe of the Pacific Northwest. This tribe also approves of same-sex marriage, and so when Pam told me how high an honor it was for Kasey to be on the counsel, I was surprised, having little knowledge about tribal customs. In addition to this rank and privilege, Kasey held an RN degree from the University of Washington, and had a nice home twenty minutes from where she worked as a second-shift nurse at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center.

Pam became quickly involved with Kasey and in February of 2010 began to unravel her life – she had left her Vancouver home – doing a short sale to unload it as quickly as possible, she left her Vancouver job at the bank (and the view), and told her children she was moving to Seattle. By June of 2010, Pam and Kasey, only knowing each other four months, were living together in Kasey’s home in Seattle. Pam and I spoke infrequently during this time, and I let it be, giving her the latitude to develop her relationship, I figured she’d call when she could.

In July, she called wishing me a happy birthday and during that exchange she told me how happy she was with Kasey, how leaving her job and moving and being free of her home in Vancouver was the, “absolute best decision” she had made. I was surprised and saddened, leery of the situation happening so quickly and said, “You don’t even know her that long, Pam.”

“Jo, but I do! We are like glove-in-hand, it’s a fit. We know each other instinctively. She is the one I’ve been searching for all my life.”

They say that good news sleeps late and bad news calls early, so when the phone rang early the day after Thanksgiving, I knew it couldn’t be good.  “Hello?” I answered cautiously. I picked up to hear Pam’s sobbing voice into the phone.

To be continued.

© Terry Rachel, 2011

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