Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Noblesse Oblige Meets The Dust Bowl

Noblesse Oblige Award

The fine writer and book lover, Carol, of The Writer's Porch

has honored me with this colorful and dynamic award. What a charming acknowledgement of my efforts here at OWL blog. Thank you, friend!

Here is a description of the award

This award recognizes the following attributes:

1) The Blogger manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervades amongst different cultures and beliefs.

2) The Blog contents inspire; strives to encourage and offers solutions.

3) There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture, Sciences and Beliefs.

4)The Blog is refreshing and creative

5) The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking

Wow! What a compliment! Here are my responsibilities:

The Bloggers who receive this award will need to perform the following steps:

1) Create a post with a mention and link to the blogger who presented the Noblesse Oblige Award to you.
2) The award conditions must be displayed in the post.
3) Write a short article about what your blog has thus far achieved preferably citing one or more older post to support:
4) The blogger must present the Noblesse Oblige Award to blogs in concurrence with the award conditions.
5) The blogger must display the award at any location on their blog.

Oasis Writing Link; A Short History of Beginning at an Ending

Oasis Writing Link started almost by itself; I had been thinking about starting a blog after I read the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell; briefly, it's a book about a woman who started a blog and how it evolved into a book (now it is a film staring Meryl Streep that is scheduled to be released this August!) when a work friend told me I should just type in blogger.com and see what it was all about. She said it was quite simple. (Julie has a current blog where you can comment!)

Without clear intention, I decided to fill out a request for a blog. Many of you know that Oasis Writing Link has the acronym OWL which points to my mother, Susan Pittmann, a Halloween baby, who loved that she was born on the witch's day. She was murdered in 1992 by our neighbor, Mr. Brooks. (James Elwood Brooks); I have written about the circumstances surrounding this hate crime. OWL blog is a tribute to my mother's life.

Recently, my sister, Linda found this photo of Brooks; it appears to be the mysterious missing photo taken by Christine Puckett, my mother's murdered partner, just before they were both shot. I heard that Brooks hit Christine with a shovel before he went into his house to get the murder weapon. I understand that Chris was trying to document his aggression so that the police would take precautionary-preventive action (at least take his weapons away!!!) How shocking to see his blurred angry face just before he shot my mother and Christine. (I saw these photographs for the first time just one hour ago.) From the photo angle, Christine must have been lying on the ground while she quickly took the shot. I remember Mom saying that they needed to prove that he was behaving aggressively because the police wouldn't act on Brook's verbal threats. They said they needed evidence to document his irrational condition. Sadly, it is on this day, cinco de mayo, that they both were shot and killed.

I also have two other new photographs most likely taken just before this one:

Mr. Brooks -as we used to call him as children- is quite angry here, and shouting in the first mini photo. In the second, he is reaching into his car to get the shovel to strike Christine. The larger blurred photo is when he lifted the shovel and moments after, it must have struck Christine. Then he returned to his house, lifted the rifle and shot Christine from his kitchen door. When she fell, he selected the loaded double barrel shotgun, which was along side the door and walked over to her bleeding body. My mother was on the phone talking to a 911 operator (I heard the tape); she said: "My worker's been shot!" They asked for information and likely tried to keep her there but she left the phone dangling and ran out to Christine. By that time, Brooks was again out in our yard with the shotgun, they had some words. Probably, mom tried to calm him down but he just lifted the gun and shot mom at close range. She died rapidly as the blood poured from her aorta just below her heart and into the soil. Brooks then walked over to Christine and shot her again. This is what I think happened; it's what I can piece together from the various stories, hints and facts that I know. Great sorrow swept into many people's lives on that day. Mom had five children, seven grandchildren, many unofficially adopted children and grandchildren, many friends and relatives.

Mom and Christine's deaths were like a dry wind that left a shadow of ash on all of those members of society who passively permit anger and aggression towards those who chose to love someone of the same sex. (For more information about the impact of this crime, you can go to this documentary film website and read about the Pittmann Puckett Story.)

May we all learn to love and accept difference in each other.

The DUST BOWL - natural disaster cause by the violation of our earth, unknowingly caused by the belief that we can dominate nature, and force it to change.

I want to call attention to these blogs that strive to bring understanding and empathy into this world; these blogs uphold a positive faith in our ability to act by the force of love to create a better world.

1. The Soaring Impulse
2. Lori Times Five
3. Lost and Found in India
4. From Forensic to Fine Art
5. Mama Shujaa
6. An Aerial Armedillo
7. Tangobaby
8. Psyche Connections

Please visit these lively blogs that celebrate life and call on all of us to be the best version of ourselves.


  1. Wow.
    You must be reeling from that photo, Cynthia.
    I will say a special prayer for your Mum and Christine this Sunday - Mother's Day in Australia.
    All my love to you, and my support as ever,Cynthia.xx♥

  2. What a wonderful and well deserved reward!

    At least, for me, I get the chance to say goodbye and to forgive and forget before she gets taken. I am grateful for that and sorry that you didn't.

    Thank you for caring Cynthia


  3. Cynthia, I'm so shocked and saddened by this completely hideous tragedy that I barely know what to write. My heart breaks for you; for the cruel culmination of your mother's life; for Christine, whom she loved and who went with her; for your family and, above all else, for the pitiless inhumanity of people to their own kind.

    Your bravery in coming to terms with the devastating loss of your wonderful mother and your courage in telling this chilling story to us, your readers, leaves me tearful and deeply humbled. You are an exceptional woman, Cynthia, just as your mother was before you.

    I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am that you choose me as one of the people to pass on the honour of The Noblesse Oblige Award. Coming as it does from you, it is accolade indeed. Thank you, thank you – from the very heart of me. I promise to try and continue to be the best version of me that I can possibly be, just as you are, here on O.W.L.

  4. My heart goes out to you on this sad anniversary.
    How difficult to know what it is useful to say under such circumstances except that you are to be praised for trying to overcome such hate and violence by living a thoughtful and mindful life.

  5. Courage. I am humbled by your ability to share something so horrific and I pray that it brings the healing and understanding that you/we so desperately need and want. I can't believe that photo resurfaced, just now, on this anniversary. May happier memories of your mother grace your dreams tonight.

  6. I remember months ago reading about your mother's murder; these photos are traumatic in that perspective.

    Bless you for including me in that list; I will honor the award by visiting all the blogs as you requested, as you say they promote the things I seek also..

    Thank you my darling friend...AND! i just realized; these past few days I was thinking of coming to Peurto Rico to visit my sister-friend (as we call each other), who lives there...just now I remembered, "Cynthia lives there!" .... how wonderful it would be to meet with you...I will DEFINITELY keep you informed of how that plan comes about...possibly Sept/Oct...

  7. Cynthia

    I cannot imagine the feelings and the loss associated with those photos. I have experienced deep loss and I cannot really imagine. I bear witness to your courage and to your willingness to bring your story forth.This kind of loss cannot be measured I know.

    I also appreciate your recognition of Psyche Connections. I am honored to receive this recognition from you. I also very much enjoy several of the other blogs you list.I feel I am in great company!

    Thank you Cynthia. OWL is one of the treasures I have discovered in my journey through blogging. Thanks for just being who you are where you find yourself!

  8. Cynthia, I just can't get over this tragedy...

    I don't know how you do it..you're a special soul that's for sure.

    I really believe you totally deserve this award. Congratulations:) I will go check out the blogs nominated. Have a great day:)

  9. OK. Wow. What a post. I believe I experienced every emotional state as I read first that you received the very intense Noblesse Oblige award (something that knocked me off my stride for a few days but which you've taken on with aplomb), but then that picture. Oh my God I can't imagine what it would be like to lay eyes on this.

    I don't even know what to say except that you actually do deserve the award. Thank you so much for this post and all your posts.

    I am blown away.

  10. Cynthia....it was sad to read about your mom and Christine's murder.....I don't know when will humans win over this barbarism and cruelty....

    I hope they do....

  11. bless you for your courage and tenacity as you continue to tell the story of violence and it's many outcomes...this was so frighteningly vivid, a horrid revelation, in the heart-stopping moment i realized what and who i was looking at ... i can feel his rage before i knew, it is palpable, and makes one wonder how many people he hurt as he raged through life...

    many blessing upon your heart for peace and happiness as the raging continues far beyond your door...may you be blessed with a world that knows only beauty and a soft place to land.

  12. Dear Cynthia,

    You are a bright inspiration; your voice resonates with strength and purpose; OWL's presence in our universe of bloggers is vital to the freeing of our spirits from needless (and sometimes cruel) belief systems. Much of what you write conveys your strong sense of humanity.

    I admire your ushujaa (courage). May you continue well on the journey to healing.

    Congratulations on the well deserved award and I humbly accept it from you.

    Mama Shujaa

  13. You must have been reeling from shock when Linda showed you the photo, my sweet Cynthia. I feel such sorrow and anger on your behalf. Maybe it is having a cathartic affect, being able speak about it on here- I do hope so.

    Congratulations on another well-deserved award.

    (I can see that Linda herself has commented on this post - it's good that you have each other - do your other family members drop by?)


  14. Dear Cynthia,
    I don't know what to say, my emotions are all over the place right now.
    I am sending you waves and waves of love to soothe your precious soul. And I pray that everything you put out there in your loving compassionate way comes back to you tenfold.
    I'll read this post again to get an even better understanding, my eyes were teary the first time through.

    And then the award,it is made for you it seems. Congratulations and well done always.
    Thank you for passing it to me.(looking around, are you sure you really meant me?!) wow :)

    love to you,

  15. You are a strong woman. Quite a living legacy and a direct link to your mother's bravery and conviction. To revisit your pain, confront it head-on and then to share it in hopes it is never repeated is a task only taken on by the brave of heart and soul.

    Cynthia you're my hero and it means the world to me that you bestowed this award on me. It also helps me know that I am headed in the correct direction with my work.

    As I've said before, I've seen plenty of the darkness and therefore always look for the light in people and situations. You my dear are a beacon for many. HUGS!

  16. Sending you NYC cabbie honks for the strenght you have to share tough times as such with us. You are a credit to this blogging world, and the one we reside in as well.

  17. Dear friends,
    thank you all for the warmth and encouragement. What loving words you all have shared with me. I will respond soon.
    I've spent the day in bed after going to the doctor's office. My immune system is still a bit run down...but I will be fine now...I decided to take antibiotics...(a last resort for me!)

    May we all be surrounded in love and light. <3

  18. Natalie,

    Thank you for your acceptance, prayers for Mom and Christine and genuine support of me. I know you understand how life-upsetting all of this can be. Much love to you.

    My mom always talked about taking her motorcycle and riding around Austrailia. It is an unfinished dream. (She did ride to Alaska) xx <3

    Yes, at least you can say goodbye...but more than that, you can eventually accept that her body-mind needs a rest.

    When my father was ill- I finally understood that even though he wanted to live, it was too difficult. His body was torn down and he was living on a machine. When he was taken off the respirator he soon died of multiple organ failier...at such a young age, 49.

    May you have all the love and support you need to feel uplifted in your own difficult situation. <3

    What warmth you share with me, thank you. I do appreciate your efforts to encourage others to do what they can to improve life for everyone. Your peace fostering art and presence are a treasure. I know that you already encourage others to be the best version of themselves. You are remarkable. Thank you for accepting my acknowledgement. <3
    Linda, thank you for your blessing. I know that all that you have experienced in life helps you to understand why I continue to share different aspects of this story.

    Like your own stories, this story demands to be told in order for some meaning to come out of this tragic event.

    You are fortunate in that your art work allows you to express you own unique emotional experience and share it with others. Love to you. xx <3

    Mama Shujaa,

    Thank you for accepting the award and for your clear understanding of why I write about this experience.

    You also have "ushujaa" and it shines from your writing and inspirational life. (It is your name, as well?)

    May all of the world come to understand that we can make a difference as you have learned from your father and from your life. Love to you. <3

    Mrs. French Fancy, thank you for reading about my mother´s story. I know that this strong emotion is difficult to bear...your empathy is valued. My sisters sometime read OWL blog but they haven`t commented yet. Linda is an artist from the blog Vulture Peak Muse. (My sister, Linda, also lives in California.) I was shocked about the photos but I also feel satisfied when I have more pieces of the puzzle. Mystery is hard to deal with...I guess we were fortunate to attend the trial, provide information to the courts, and witness the conviction. Many people do not know who committed the crime against their loved one.

    I continue to tell the story (actually, I`m compelled to share) so that people might be able to understand that everyone loves and is lovable...and it´s our human role to create a more tolerant society. Love to you. <3

    Lori Ann, you humble charmer! I think your efforts at sharing are inspirational. I love the idea of making hats for those children and taking them with you to Africa. You have such a balance of celebration and giving in your life.

    Your blog is a sunny place for all optimists who enjoy life and allow that joy to spill over into altruistic gestures of creative expression. May all that you love and do resonate continuously.

    Love and blessings to all of your traveling party on your journey to Africa. I look forward to your return postings. xx <3


    Thank you so much for your acceptance. I know that your art projects connected to your work to help animals allows you to share a distinct gift. Your unique background in criminal justice and art allow you to know just what you can do to help.

    We all have a way to give and I think you have found this path with your art. I know that everthing that we enjoy creating is magically transformed when it is lifted up to a higher cause.

    Additionally, even though you focus on wonderful and playful works of art, I am inspired by the honest way you write about difficult topics. Love to you. <3

    King of New York Hacks,

    Thank you so much for your words of support. I`m still smiling about your cabbie honks! What a delight to have you visit! <3

  19. Blessings and hugs and prayers

    Thank you for your visit and kind words.
    With much love

  20. Butternut Squash,
    Thank you for all that you share and the support you offer. May you be surrounded in love. <3

  21. I appreciate all of your kind responses friends and I'm sorry that these replies got out of sequence. I guess the photo's influence is still upon me. I keep trying to avoid seeing it...I guess the avoidance is making me skip around.I keep trying to go by memory...but I skipped from Linda S. to Linda! And I accidently went into Sargasso when I was posting my responses...so I'm responding afresh! <3

    Elizabeth, thank you for your supportive words. As you know when a day marks an event it often comes back so clearly in ones memory. I like to think that Cinco de Mayo is not a difficult day...but it's right around Mother's Day. I start to see flowers arrive and lots of sentimental pictures-there's just no way to avoid the connection of loss with what is suppose to be celebration.

    Still, I hope for a time when I only focus on the blessing of having a mother who not only gave me life but also taught me how to live.

    Love to you <3

    Thank you for your kindness and compassion. What a pleasure it would be to meet. Just email me with the details and we will try to arrange something. It's amazing that you feel strong enough after your accident for travel plans. It's a tribute to your healthy spiritual connection. Love to you and keep in touch. <3

    Ms. Lucy, hi friend. Yes, it's a difficult story but everyone has a life story to tell that includes so much joy and pain. I just hope the balance is connected more to the former...I think I have had so many blessings in life.

    I appreciate your friendship and your intellect- and I'm looking forward to more of your book reviews!

    Linda S.S., hi friend. I deeply appreciate your comments and I know that you are one of the blogs that improve our experience of living in this world. And you do it with your own individual personality and style.

    Do you know that you live near my sister, Sally? I always think of her when I visit your blog that celebrates sisterhood and connection. May you have much success in your life and at Psyche Connections. <3

  22. Reveda, thank you for the visit. May the world that you grow up in be filled with sunshine and peace. Love to you, dear one, and to your parents.<3

  23. Reya, thank you for your empathy and reading this so carefully. You are a treasure to someone who loves to write...and I do want to be able to share these stories effectively. What a blessing that you found Oasis Writing Link and may you have much success at your own blog, I know that you deserve the award and am glad that you accepted it! You have a tremendously open heart. Love to you. <3

    Jeanne, so glad that you found your way here to OWL blog. I hope you return at a more joyful time and a more cheerful post. I enjoyed your poetic quotations and want to keep in touch. Do you have a follow widget on your blog? I couldn' find it. Thank you for your support. Love to you <3

  24. It has been too long since I stopped by your blog and reading this post, seeing these photos. For me, from now on, Cinco de Mayo will bring thoughts of your mother and Christine, and for peace for you. One changes the world, one step at a time, not by standing still...
    Long distance hugs coming your way.

  25. Teri,
    Thank you for your tribute to Mom and Chris. And I appreciate the offering of peace to me. You are a dear soul and I feel blessed by your kindness. Love to you <3

  26. Hi Cynthia, thanks for visiting me back.

    This post made me cried, I can't imagine how painful it is for your family how she and her friend died. Very tragic and horrific, I commend you for being so brave in writing this post. May your Mom and Christine rest in peace in God's place.

    God bless you! I will add you in my link..

  27. I am so sorry for your loss, it must be very hard and painful for the family. The good thing is that you chose to move on and appreciate life even though its full of pain and surprises!

  28. Rose and John, just a quick comment because blogger keeps throwing my words into cyberspace through a "broken link"; thank you both for coming over and reading my story. Your kindness and uplifting words are appreciated...and thanks for adding Oasis Writing Link to your list of blogs. Love to you both <3

  29. Cynthia
    I had not realized I lived near Sally. Perhaps we can connect at at time in this other world. Please share my email address with her

  30. Linda S., I will pass on the information to Sally. Thank you! Love to you <3


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