Pamela’s Prayer: Part 1
Well, here we go, you guys. Pamela’s Prayer.
Pamela’s FREAKING Prayer.
The One That Started It All for me.
Once upon a time, a younger and more innocent Ruby was at college. Unable to sleep, I flipped through late-nite TV, finally finding what looked like an old After-School Special. It was only ten minutes in or so, and featured a teenage girl whose strict father didn’t allow her to date. At all.
Naïve as I was, I assumed that surely, this Pamela would find a nice boy to date, one who would never want to take advantage of her, and Dad would realize that he was being too strict, probably because he just missed Pamela’s mom so very much, and he and Pamela would hug it out.
Oh, how wrong I was. So young, so innocent, not yet wise in the ways of Christian films.
Because Pamela’s father is right. The only way for Pamela to be happy is to avoid all physical contact with the opposite sex until the day of her wedding, at which point she is finally allowed her Very First Kiss.
(You just have to picture the look of slack-jawed amazement on my face. Oh, to be so young and trusting again…)
Seriously, though, you guys, Pamela’s Prayer is a classic of the genre. The most classic movie we’ve watched so far here is probably Second Glance, but Pamela’s Prayer…well, people take actual Life Lessons from this flick. This story makes it icky to kiss someone unless you are bound in matrimony to each other.
Yeah, it’s just gross.
So let’s go!
This is the biggest lie of the movie. This is NOT Pamela’s story. This is the story of her father, Wayne, and his obsession with keeping his daughter’s lips (let alone her ladyparts) pure and untouched for the sake of his future son-in-law.
But let us travel back, back all the way in time to “May 1968,” when young marrieds Wayne and Sarah drive up to some random rock formations, where Sarah, after scrambling over some rocks in a suitably modest long dress, reveals to Wayne that their joyless, ritualized intercourse has finally resulted in the only God-ordained result: a fertilized egg.
Sarah: I have something to tell you.
Wayne: What, Sarah?
Sarah: We’re going to have a baby.
Sure enough, in “January 1969,” Wayne takes Sarah to the hospital, with the part of Pamela being played by a basketball held under Sarah’s coat. However, after the title sequence, the Music of Sadness plays as Wayne makes a little visit to the cemetery…
Yep, following a long line of Disney moms, Sarah didn’t even make it past the opening credits.
Farewell, Sarah! We’ll never forget your thirteen words of dialogue!
Fortunately for Wayne (and especially for Pamela, but we’ll get to that), his parents are completely awesome, and all but move in with him to help with Pamela.
At least for a few days, until Wayne boots their collective ass out.
Wayne’s mom offers for them to spend the night “again.”
Wayne: Ma, I’ll see you in the morning. Dad, I’ll be coming back to work tomorrow.
So Wayne’s mom is going to go home, grab sleep, then come back first thing in the morning. I just love how Wayne takes that totally for granted. (Not that Wayne’s mom shouldn’t do that, if she wants to. Just that I think Wayne could be a bit more grateful about the whole thing.)
And yes, Wayne works with his dad. They run a Christian film library.
Wayne checks on the baby and prays over her, then reads his Bible for a bit before turning out the light. (His nightstand, of course, has a picture of Sarah on it–who could ever forget that unforgettable character!) Two hours later (in a touch of realism) he’s up for a feeding. The next morning, his mom is there before Wayne even wakes up. (THANK THE WOMAN, YOU INGRATE!)
The tinkly-music montage that follows is quite sweet, showing Wayne bonding with the baby by reading the Bible to her and taking her to unsafe rock formations.
We fast-forward in time to “July 1975,” and it is time for the biggest gorram event of the year, by gab: the convention. The Convention. Presumably one of Christian film library owners. Wayne’s dad can’t go, because the doctor told him he shouldn’t travel because of his heart. So Wayne is supposed to go instead. But, there’s a problem…
Wayne: When Pamela was born, I made a commitment to the Lord that I would pray with her every night. So far, I’ve been able to keep that commitment. If I go to the convention, I don’t see how I can.
At this point, Wayne is not impressing me with his mental aptitude. His dad, however, is no fool, and comes up with a brilliant idea.
A TELEPHONE!!! BRILLIANT!!!
Seriously, this thought never even crossed Wayne’s mind for a second? What an asshole!
(This is perhaps the right time to let you all know that I hate Wayne. Like, a really, really lot. I might even hate him more than Paul Stepola. Sure, Paul murdered people, but Wayne is just so self-righteously smug and ungrateful and FRAKKING STUPID.)
Sure enough, Wayne actually uses that wild new invention, and telephones his daughter from his hotel room to pray with her. And this is all starting to read less like Wayne wanting to keep his commitment to the Lord, and more like Wayne not wanting to release his iron-fisted control over every tiny facet of Pamela’s life, even for a second. Honestly, did nobody ever tell this man that it’s healthy for a child to bond with trusted adults besides the parents?
Probably not. The last scene of Pamela’s early childhood shows her on Wayne’s lap, as he reads the Bible to her. I wonder if he’s ever read any book besides the Bible to her? Wayne is made happy by Pamela’s spontaneous statement that “I have Jesus on my heart.” Aww.
Next time: Pamela turns Sweet Sixteen!