Nicknames

Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed by Caitlin Adams


Shortly after Rodney and I began writing to each other, we both dubbed each other with nicknames.  Mine is Wildflower. After the 100 or so photos of wild flowers, wild places, wild animals I had sent Rodney, it was a delight when he asked if he could call me Wildflower.  

Rodney shared with me one of his favorite childhood memories. When he was a boy, he always wanted to give his grandmother flowers, but never had the money. So he would scavenge the neighborhood and pick her wildflower bouquets.  His Gramma was always thrilled with her wildflower bouquets—to her they were the most special of flowers (I couldn't agree more, Gramma).

Rodney's nickname (also well earned) soon followed.  Over the course of several letters, Rodney had created a song list of about 100 songs for me to listen to.  I promptly dubbed him Soul Man.  He proceeded to tweak his nickname to Soul Man Roscoe. 

As I've come to learn Soul Man Roscoe (a moniker his fellow "shorties" dubbed him with) was quite the spin doctor in his younger days—he always had disc jockey honors whenever he and his friends would get together.  I grew up a Motown girl, so my Soul Man playlist has been a real treat.  

I guess for me the wondrously ordinary act of nicknaming a friend, played out on the extraordinary landscape of a "death row" friendship, becomes a truly extraordinary act of life and hope.  Both of our nicknames have special memories and meanings attached—me with his, him with mine, me with mine, him with his.  All of the so-called differences: race, culture, age, sex, life circumstances between Rodney and I cease to exist when we find each other in the land of Nicknames. Soul Man and Wildflower rock on!


Caitlin Adams is a resident of Bastrop, Texas.  After meeting the family of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed outside of their home in early 2011, she began writing with Rodney.  She has developed a friendship with Rodney's mother Sandra and his family in Bastrop, as well as making regular trips to death row to visit Rodney. 

After learning about the facts of Rodney's case, Caitlin has become an advocate for Rodney Reed – here we present Caitlin's story about her journey for justice.