I was a young theology student at a private university in Seattle, and quite frankly, I was going to save the world, at least that was the plan at the time! We all were, the collective student body at that parochial school. We were young, freshly scrubbed, had all come from religious backgrounds, and we were ready to take on the world.
As all of you probably experienced, finances during the college years were to say the least, strained. So, I had to go to work. One of the members at the church that I attended, and coincidentally, a former Wallace resident whom my parents had known, owned a hotel in Tacoma. Chuck was his name, and he was a good man with a big heart. Chuck called me aside one day after service and inquired in a polite way about my finances. I told him that times were tough, and yes, I needed to make more money. And, with that, my hotel career was born.
It was one week before Christmas when I began working at the Carlton Hotel in Tacoma.Ah yes, the old Carlton Hotel. Picture for a moment if you will, the Davenport Hotel in Spokane. No, not the image of the splendid state it is in now, nor the majesty of it during the golden years of the thirties. No, picture it as a once splendid structure fallen on very hard times. Picture it as located in the seediest of areas, surrounded by bars, strip clubs, pawn shops, hookers, and pimps, and missions. That was the Carlton that I began my hotel career in.
The marble staircases were still there. The old chandeliers still graced the cathedral lobby. The front desk was made out of marble, and the old elevator still had the golden cage look of glory days gone by. It sounds like a great place to begin a new career in, right? Wrong. Instead of ladies and gentlemen in fine evening apparel as you would have found at the Davenport, and instead of sharply dressed doormen, and bellman, and instead of desk clerks wearing stiff collars and starched white dress shirts, the Carlton looked more like what it had become, and that was a hotel of derelicts, drug addicts, transsexuals, bums, drunks, and every type of low life that you could imagine, and those were just the employees! You should have see the "guests"!
Enter a young, naive, freshly dressed, innocent kid from Wallace. Yes, not all Wallace kids were wordly wise.In this maze of human misery, The Cedar Street Kid began a job that would later become his life's profession.
You have heard , of course, about the 'Ritz Carlton", well this was the "Pits Carlton"
next-the cast of characters who would change my life forever. Stay tuned, and don't change that dial.