Update on Eugene Purdy

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”.

Hello Pamela, 

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. 


Laura, a relative of Eugene Purdy

Yerrabi Track, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory

Driving the road



Stopping at a space

Previously known

Stepping onto the track

Recovery of memories


Starting over

Drizzling day

Break through sun failure

Doubling down

On rain gear

No set goal

No set time

No measurements

Burned out log

Forest remnants

Damped down

No smells

No bird calls

Unseen frogs croaking

Limited colours

Walking on

Looking up

Ghost stumps

Burned black

New growth

Shooting from trunks

Shooting from soil

Defying destruction

Bushy grey green

Redefining a once forest

Walking on

Drizzled on

On and on

Up and up

Looking down

Tiny purple flowers

Thumbnail size

Could be orchids

Thoughts leap to partner

Limited by Parkinson’s

Returned to car

Unable to complete

The track

Reach the ridge

Joy of wild orchids

Thinking of him

Alone not lonely

Ridge arrival


All directions

Hills upon hills

Too Many Layers

Too many poems

Cannot choose

Too many photos






Too many layers

To my life

Is that what

getting old


So many layers

Lost the thread

How to find my way



Or don’t

If it’s past

Give it up

Go ahead

Yet I hesitate

People left behind

Names on a list

Names on my phone

Some forgotten

Some ignored

For years

For months

Can I reconnect

Can I remember

Should I remember

Too many layers

So many countries

Here I am


Trees surpass people

Beautiful reliable diverse

Providing food and living space

To birds and animals

Providing shade and inspiration

To humans

Trees give long lasting comfort and acceptance

The colours, the shapes, the textures

Always inspiring

More beautiful

Than anything made by humans

More beautiful than any sculpture

Any building, any vehicle

Especially eucalypts

Their variety their shapes

their colours, their textures





Homage to Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia

Objects Around

Objects around

are not mundane

Each one is unique

Handmade by someone

I purchased them

Their provenance forgotten

Their creator unknown


The objects are here

Surround me


Do I see them?

Do I overlook them?

The strange polka-dotted beast

from South Africa

A gift from Gabriel

The soft sculpture of a woman


A craft shop visit with Pilar

in the Midwest USA

Once my best friend and confidante

who years later rejected our friendship

The horse and carriage

from recycled bits of metal

Made in Pakistan

The Kansas City ceramic cow

The Kibera 8 collage, a slum in Nairobi

The beachside print by Sheila

inspired by Tucacas

Emerald Suites Venezuela

The camel train oil painting

from a door-to-door salesman artist

in Islamabad Pakistan

The Faberge glass cat

from my aunt in Florida

How did it get to me?

Muddled past

All are here now

Objects around me

Unreality Check

Leaving the cinema at night

surprised I can still drive

I am not a character in a film

The streets are Canberra

not France

The lights are shining

on Lake Burley Griffin

Watching movies

brings another reality

a heightened unreality

of the real

Movies take me

in and out of reality

With more space

More options

Everything slightly off

Not quite right

Not quite normal

The reality of movies

More than real

Life worth living

Even if it’s not my life

I love movies!

Why Move?

Yerrabi Track

Namadgi National Park

Australian Capital Territory

Why move

Just sit


Brindabella mountains

Toothy line to sky

View through burned

Gum trees


Only one bird

Forest burnt out

What now?


Write your way


Words leaving a trace

On the rock

Comfort zone



Winter day

Let go

Say no more

View of the Brindabellas, from the Yerrabi Track, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory

What Astonishes?


There is so much

we do not see

We watch the waves

Maybe the whales breaching

But what I want to see

is there


demanding I change

my frame of reference

from warmth to chill

from light to muted

Adjust your body

Adjust your eyes

Head down

Keep looking


in water environment

as you never are

in air

walking standing breathing

seeing objects colours

floating in the ocean



Lose track

So that


When you raise your head

out of the water

the world is still there

And you will return

Over the Moon

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.

Thanks again for your interest!!

My father, the drug addicted vagabond

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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.

If you do purchase and read the book, I would very much appreciate your feedback,
on my blog  http://www.familyfiction.comor by email at pamela@tucacas.info.

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.*

Thanks for your interest!

Pamela Hutchison Collett


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