Note: Eugene Purdy shot and killed my grandfather E.S. Hutchison in Tulsa Oklahoma on 13 January 1925. Purdy went to trial but was found “not guilty due to temporary insanity”.
I just read your book and want to share information about Charles Eugene Purdy with you. Eugene Purdy was my grandmother’s older brother. I’m sorry your grandfather and family suffered the loss inflicted upon them by Eugene. But more importantly, I want you to know that my grandmother told me that the crime ruined his life and he was very remorseful about it. Her exact words were “it ruined his life”. I will share with you what I know. Gene raised the two boys that he and Helen had together. We were told that Helen left the boys with Gene. She was gone. As you may know Charlie Purdy – Gene’s son with Helen, got hit by a car and died in Tulsa. My mom told me that Helen came back for the funeral and they never heard from her again. The other son was Robert Purdy. Gene and son Robert left Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles for a short time. Then they moved up to San Fransisco. There Gene would live out the rest of his days- quietly working as an accountant. He remarried and died in 1963. He became a Christian Scientist- the coincidence that he was surprised me when I read your book. His son Robert joined the Navy for WW2. The family pretty much lost touch. The whole murder was painful for the family. So I guess it was natural for the relations to slip away. Gene was buried in the veteran’s cemetery in Northern California.
Per my Mom-Gene’s niece, he was a quiet and soft spoken person. You may know he was an accountant and worked for an oil company in Tulsa. His father, also Charles Purdy, had been the town banker in Billings, Missouri and he was a traveling judge for the Springfield area. (Another coincidence with your family) He died before his son Eugene committed the crime. Gene came from a good and happy family. So the whole situation was a big shock. My grandmother told me that she had to testify at the trial- she was 20 years old. It was a ordeal. She also told me that Gene’s employer really helped him and pulled for him in the trail. Apparently this employer was very well to do and very well connected. We all know that if this happened today Gene would have gone to prison. I have photos of Gene and one of Helen. I will share them if you like. Again, please know that Eugene Purdy was sorry for what he did. My grandmother was there and she knew him well as her brother. She is the person that told me of his lifetime regret.
Have you heard that expression or did I make it up?
That’s how I felt when I read the positive feedback about my book Tracking the Human in an email from a friend in Kansas City, Missouri, who lives in the neighbourhood where my mother lived.
Here’s what Anne said about Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time:
“You did a fine job on your book Tracking the Human. What a great approach to telling your father’s story – your painstaking search for facts bring him to life through the device of fiction. Your biography is so readable and so poignant. I’m amazed and moved by what your father – and your mother – overcame. Your depiction of the hobo life is fascinating. What a story of survival.
Your book is a generous exercise in reaching out to the past to understand a man who in so many ways was not kind to you. You too are a survivor. Sending love to you and congratulations on completing this project and doing it so well.”
Many many thanks to Anne. Everyone’s feedback to Tracking the Human is much appreciated.
If you haven’t read Tracking the Human yet, you can purchase a copy on http://www.lulu.com. It’s also available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon websites, but they pay the author very little.
I would like to share information about my book Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time which I finished writing in January 2020. Because of the COVID19 pandemic there was no possibility of traveling from my current home in Canberra, Australia to the USA to launch the book.
Many years after being disowned by my father and after his death (1971), I made a decision to reconcile with him – with his memory – to construct a portrait of a human being that I could respect. I wrote a novel Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time based on data I collected about my father’s contacts with the justice system in the USA. He was in and out of jails, prisons and mental health institutions (known as asylums) for many years.
The book Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time is available on line at www.lulu.com. Also available on Amazon, but they pay the authors very little.
Here’s a comment about Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time from my friend Martha Woodmansee, Case Western Reserve University Professor of English and Law, emerita.
It being Presidents Day here, I took the day off from politics and paperwork (a euphemism for my present stasis) to read your novel. So delicious! It’s really, really good. I do really wish you’d been able to launch it in Kansas City MO.
If you want to situate your novel thematically in our American literary tradition I’d like to stress its fit into our deeply held embrace of the individualistic self-made man myth — so destructively sexist and racist in my view — as set forth so brilliantly by F. Scott Fitzgerald in *The Great Gatsby.*