FOREWORD BY GENO SCALA
Executive Director of the Academy Awards
During one of our conversations, I could tell Pamela had a question, but seemed a bit hesitant. She then asked if I would be “kind enough” to provide the foreword to this book. I was stunned, a little nervous, but most of all, honoured. Surely she must have other friends who are much closer to her and know her, personally, better than I. The fact is I’ve had two or three long telephone chats with Pam and a number of texts and emails to one another- only because we have a business relationship. After reading her autobiography, I can assure you I know her better than almost anyone I’ve ever met in my sixty years on the planet. I also respect and admire her more than just about all of them, too.
I told her in response “Pam, all you have to do is ask.”
Being a screenwriter, I’ve been told hundreds of times by authors, or others, that their life would make a great book; better yet- a movie! When you really drill down into the facts of their life, nothing appears to be so “different” than the life most of us lead every day. As a result, their book would be boring, and the movie of their life would be even worse. Take my life, for example; raised in a very middle-class, one income home, with four sisters and parents who were married for one month short of fifty years; till death did they part. Over my lifetime, I’ve met a Pope, two U.S. Presidents, thousands of the most famous people in the world, serial killers, rapists and child murderers (believe it or not, they are NOT all the same people). Even with this, my life is NOT book-worthy, which is my point. I can tell a few good stories now and then, but I don’t think it’s much different than my neighbor’s life, or the lives of the millions of readers of this book.
Then, you learn about the life of Pamela Millican-Hartnoll. You learn about her childhood, how she had to grow up quickly and, mostly, alone. You learn how she parlayed her tough beginnings into several careers, achieving amazing accomplishments, and how she is dedicated to giving back to the world by helping and coaching others to do the same. When I was growing up, I didn’t have to worry about my next meal. I knew if I didn’t eat my mother’s meat loaf (which I despised), it was fine. It would be right there at my spot at the dining room table tomorrow morning for breakfast!
Pamela, however, had to be more “creative” when it came to eating even one meal a day, which was few and far between. Like other families, I grew up with a family pet- Chino. He was a mix of German Shepherd and Chihuahua (don’t ask). I loved Chino, but I didn’t love having to walk him during the cold, winter months. What I didn’t have to worry about was whether or not my dog was going to suddenly disappear, only to reappear in a stew later in the week. There were times, I would go away with a friend and their family- camping, hiking, to the shore, wherever. After a few days, I would miss being home, but I wasn’t afraid that I wasn’t going to HAVE a home when I got back. For all of our faults, my family was very loving. We had a close extended family of many uncles, aunts and cousins, and we all lived relatively close to one another (no pun intended). We celebrated anniversaries, birthdays, and nice summer evenings together. I wasn’t concerned at all, nor were my sisters, of being attacked or assaulted in some despicable way, by a blood relative- or ANYONE that I can recall.
When someone you know lives a life that is vastly different from the norm, you take notice.
Having worked in law enforcement, and familiar with jails and prisons, I met many people with a similar background and family history. It’s sad, it’s repugnant, and it’s unfortunate to put it mildly. You immediately realize why these people are in the position that they are in; incarcerated for an extended period of time. I once took an eight-year old boy in custody one night, for throwing a glass bottle filled with soda pop, at someone, hitting them in the head. The victim was severely injured, and we actually thought it could turn into a homicide. As I spoke to this child- who was a very cute African-American boy, he shared with me some parts of his “life” which, to him, was quite normal. That’s when he lifted his shirt and showed the three scars in his chest from bullet wounds he received when his father shot him during a fight with his mother. I sat there and cried, knowing this boy’s life was over and it hadn’t even started. I was aware of his life being more of the norm in the area where I worked, but I didn’t know anyone who came out of that life unscathed.
Now, I know one.
Is she unscathed? Probably not, but she has accomplished things most of us can only dream of; not least a prestigious Law Degree completed while working full time and raising a family; multiple other degree and advanced level qualifications; she does not stop studying or learning; she has also won many prestigious awards for outstanding service; spends her time traveling the world; becoming a world champion waveski-er and winning the European titles within 1 year of learning to surf, and then became one of the most requested ski instructors in Mammoth.
Now, she owns several businesses with clients on every continent. Is her life “book-worthy”? Most certainly, and this is a book you won’t be able to put down. You will cry. You will become enraged. You will be frightened - but you will also laugh. You will also smile, and you will also be amazed at her “overachievements”, as she likes to say. You will want to know this woman on a much more personal level - and she’ll let you. All you have to do is ask.