By Hannah Richardson
“Painting came out of pain, memories and life events. When I felt I had no voice, the paint and canvas became my vocal chords, hiding my words and thoughts from the world and allowing my emotions to calm. The canvas became my therapy, my friend and sometimes, my judge” – Pamela Causey Stanforth
Pamela Causey Stanforth, a self-taught artist and recently published writer, currently resides in London, Ohio, but has deep roots in Natchitoches Parish. She was born in 1951 in Cabrini Hospital (Alexandria) to Airforce Sergeant Charles Ben Causey and Dorothy Causey. “My father was one in a long line of servicemen and he was often deployed across the United States and overseas. We traveled with him when possible, until my mother returned to Cloutierville when I was about five years old,” said Stanforth. “Life events occurred and as such, I am the oldest of nine. In my elementary years, I attended St. Mary’s Elementary in Cloutierville and later when we moved into Natchitoches, I attended St. Mary’s for some time and later Natchitoches Jr. High, graduating from Campti High School. I also attended NSU Vo-Tech for Business classes.” Stanforth has family in several areas of the parish, from public servants in law enforcement and hospital workers to landowners along the Cane.
“My mother worked the cotton fields on Little Eva Plantation and for a time we lived in the old slave quarters in Chopin. Later, when we moved to Natchitoches, we lived in the slave quarters behind Stephen and Hub Supermarkets. My mother worked downtown at Johnson’s Restaurant, part of a hotel on the main street,” said Stanforth.
Her start in the world of fine arts began with a small community art competition. “When I was seven years old, Sister Eunice of St. Mary’s Elementary entered my drawing in a nearby community art contest,” she said. “We were asked to portray our idea of the battle of Monet Ferry- a historical event that happened at a site not far from Little Eva Plantation, where me, my mother and my siblings lived in the plantations’ old slave quarters. My painting took first place and it hung in the small postal service area for years. That event happened at the same time as a personal, painful, life-changing event. It was the one bright spot in an otherwise dark time. I think that this is why, when in later years I faced challenges, paint and canvas spoke to me, held my focus and allowed creativity to flow, until I was ready to tackle the challenges at hand.”
Shown below is art by Stanforth:
Though painting is so near and dear to Stanforth, she said writing is her first love and creative outlet. She has written a plethora of feature articles for her community newspaper and is the education director of the London Visual Arts Guild, is a motivational and guest speaker for a number of conferences, all while having a career as a managing director for ServiceMaster and traveling across the United States on assignment in hospital organizations and various school districts.
“I have written a number of healthcare magazine articles, co-authored a leadership development manual for supervisors and was part of developing the PSA Program, an implementation at St. Anthony Hospital in OKC at the time of the OKC Bombing. In fact, my son was scheduled to be in the Murrah Building on the day of the bombing. My son’s calendar error saved both our lives. I was part of the first responder team at St. Anthony as we were the closest hospital to the site and I participated in a National FEMA training video. Ironically, I was teaching an emergency response class at the time of the bombing. Walls and ceiling tiles imploded and, needless to say, all but one of the twelve new students quit after that day,” said Stanforth.
Stanforth said she has been writing stories and letters all the way back to the first grade. “I stopped writing for years after all my songs, verses and stories were lost to a fire. However, writing is a friend that could not stay away for long. I try to journal daily and have enjoyed many published magazine and newspaper articles throughout the years, as well as the leadership training and development materials, and recently my book, “The Princess of Waterfall Castle” was released by Westbow Press Publishing.” The novel tells the story of Angeletta of Waterfall Castle, and Stanforth wishes to convey to readers they can relate their own story alongside the protagonist’s journey.
Stanforth said she comes from a legacy of strong female Steel Magnolias. “Although my granddaughters were my inspiration for writing this book, the four strong female characters in my story resembles Steel Magnolias in my own life,” she said. “This story line speaks to and is pertinent to what we hear and see in today’s culture and news across our nation. We hear a message in the “Me Too” movement and various high-profile cases. We see strong females taking the lead in the movie industry.”
Stanforth recalls a pivotal moment in her life that occurred two days before her first show at the London Visual Arts Guild. “I received a letter from my cousin who lives in Natchitoches (I had not heard from her in 30 years). She had discovered a 50-year-old letter that held secrets about our lives. It held confirmation to events that happened in our childhood, one particularly that left me with the feeling that my voice had been hushed and my person was insignificant. Yes, healing came over the years and I put all remembrances away. My story came out in my paintings, but that letter gave me a freedom I had never felt. I had not planned, but when I stood to speak, I put away my notes and pulled out the letter. Finally, after 60 years, I shared my story and surprisingly after it was all over, people were lined up to tell me their stories. It was truly a tearfully freeing experience.”
Stanforth’s message to readers is this, “… regardless of life events, regardless of constraints, and yes, regardless of sorrows in life, we can and must stand strong, make caring thoughtful decisions, find beauty wherever we are, and above all, have hope.”
London Art Center:
Stanforth’s Web site:
Publisher Westbow Press (part of Zondervon) Web Page for The Princess of Waterfall Castle:
Columbus Messenger Article (2nd page) Story about Author, Pam Causey: