Blog

THERE’S A SONG ABOUT ITASCA?

I’ve played guitar and written and sung songs since the 1960s.  In 1966 I joined Roger Holmes’ band, the WHATZIT IT FORE with Mike Sims and Wayne Paney.    After we added keyboardist, Greg DeBruyne, we became, what else, WHATZIT FORE + ONE.    At some point we changed our name to the much cooler, JUNIOR JONES […]

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THIS NOTE

I’ve played guitar and written and sung songs since the 1960s.  I played bass guitar and was the lead singer in the Whatzit Fore Plus One-aka Junior Jones Reincarnation- during my high school years in the Chicago area from 1964 to 1968, and self taught myself the guitar on the side.  I guess I can […]

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SO, DID IT WORK?

Shortly after we posted Soul Retrieval, I came across this email of gratitude I sent to Shaman Jade Wah’oo in March of 2009- two months after the ceremony.  We’d had another reading with Tarra a few days before. Dear Jade—I’m attaching a recap of the soul retrieval ceremony you led us through on January 13. […]

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SOUL RETRIEVAL

Shaman.  An intermediary between the human world and the spirit world.  Shamans are said to treat ailments and illnesses by mending the soul.  They may visit other worlds-dimensions to bring guidance to misguided or broken souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements.    Happy Birthday To You! January 13, […]

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17

  Sunday January 8, 2017 was a spectacular day in Solana Beach. Magical really—one of those days one is, almost, reluctant to share with anyone outside San Diego County for fear of being accused of gloating or, worse, rubbing it in.   The morning was actually a chilly 52—I’m sorry that’s what we consider cold— and […]

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LIFE LESSONS

Tuesdays were fried chicken night at our house in Itasca, Illinois.   Carrie Fowler, the African-American clone of my second grade teacher, Mrs. Melvin—short, rotund, early sixties, bright eyes, gray hair pulled back tight in a bun—helped my mother with the house every Tuesday.   She came on the train from Elgin, about 15 miles west of Itasca.  […]

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“IF THERE’S ANYTHING WE CAN DO, PLEASE GIVE US A CALL”

A few months after I wrote  How To Write a Beautiful Condolence Card, I read on somebody’s website a sample card for parents who have suffered the unthinkable loss of a child.  It closed with “If there’s anything we can do, please call us.”   I actually laughed.  The parents aren’t going to call. “Hi Janet, this is Casey.  […]

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HEALING WITH HISTORY

Dad, G.G., Casey and Scott in 1962 at the Chicago Athletic Club

After I received the letter from my father that had been safeguarded in West Virginia by Emily Sue Buckberry for 40 years—as told in the story The Letter— I knew I needed to find out more about him.  I had to probe the things he revealed to me in his letter—a depression in his childhood, […]

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A PLACE I GO

“Is writing healing for you?” I get asked that a lot.  And my answer is a most definite Yes, but it has been difficult to articulate how and why. I recently got a big assist from Dr. Alan Wolfelt, and his book Companioning the Bereaved.  He has spent a career studying and writing about grief […]

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WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN SOMEONE ASKS ‘SO, HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU HAVE?’

I was lying on a training table getting some post-surgery treatments on my hip when my physical therapist delivered that question.  I only had a couple of seconds to decide my reply before things got awkward.  Clearly Dr. Kahl Goldfarb didn’t “know,” or he never would have asked me.  It wasn’t the first time, but […]

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ITASCA

I WAS BORN AT Seaside Hospital in Long Beach, California, on January 13, 1950. Friday the thirteenth. My folks named me Vernon Case Gauntt, after my maternal grandfather, but I’ve always gone by Casey. I am a fifth-generation Californian and a seventh-generation American on my mother’s side and eleventh-generation American on my father’s side. We […]

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COALWOOD

COALWOOD IN JUNE 9, 1968, my flight landed in Charleston, West Virginia. As I pulled my suitcase from the baggage carousel, a young man with black hair and a swarthy complexion strode up. He wore tan pants and a long-sleeved shirt. A flat-billed railroad engineer’s cap perched on the back of his head. “Hi. I’m […]

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A MOMENT IN PARIS

A MOMENT IN PARIS MY WIFE, HILARY, and I arrived in Paris on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. Our friends Bill and Terri Stampley had persuaded us to get away for a while from our home in Solana Beach, California, a brief distraction from our relentless grief. The four of us checked into the Hotel d’Aubusson […]

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GREETING GRIEF IN PARADISE

My good friend John and I, along with some other haoles from the mainland, spent the summer of 1971 working for the Maui Land and Pineapple Company.  We stayed in barracks that are now a Sunday school near the Honolua General Store in the heart of what is now the Kapalua Resort.  We were 21 […]

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The Universe Will Always Find A Way

I love this intro to an episode of the “no longer with us” TV series Touch that starred Keifer Sutherland. For me, it explains a great deal as to what’s going on behind many of our stories such as the one told in the Steve Date film THE LETTER. The ties with my father and son […]

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Honest Work

This article by Pam Kragen appeared in the April 13, 2016 edition of the San Diego Union Tribune.  We were amazed by Pam’s abilities to condense and convey so much information, so clearly.   We were also grateful by her focus on our special fraternity of fathers who have lost children.   I’m pleased to report that, […]

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FROG LEVEL ROW

This  photo was taken in August 1968 inside the Clubhouse in Coalwood, West Virginia at my going away party. Seated L to R:  Charles “Tafon” Hylton, Herbert “Hub” Alger, Casey “Long Ass” Gauntt and Gene “Ringo” Kirk Standing L to R:  Zachary “Squirrel” Fleming,  James “Muss” Alger, Marty Valeri,  “Big” Pete Burnett Welcome To Coalwood […]

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Is it OK to Write a Condolence Card Before Someone Dies?

Grover Gauntt, Vern Case and Casey Gauntt

Short answer: Yes, oh my God, yes! Here’s a little story of how I arrived at this conclusion. My favorite (need I mention only surviving) Uncle, Stan Case, recently sent me a large packet of cards and letters that were sent to his father, my namesake, Vernon Case, during the last few weeks before his […]

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I SAW HER STANDING THERE

A few years ago I took a writing class from Judy Reeves at UCSD Extension in La Jolla, California (she is a fabulous instructor, by the way), and for one of our assignments we were tasked to write about a memory from junior high of no more than 500 words. I think this is called […]

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A Thanksgiving Message 2015

Note from Casey: I am honored to share this Thanksgiving message from my good friend Jeff Schwartz. Jeff is also a fraternity brother. He and his wife Donna lost their daughter, Julie, in 1984 at the age of 3. Jeff has penned two stories we’ve shared on the website: Why I Believe In Angels and […]

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Greeting Grief

Soon after we put up How to write a beautiful condolence card to someone who has lost a child on the website, I sent the link to Diane Brown of ‘Diane and Greg’ and thanked her, again, for writing us such a wonderful letter after our son Jimmy died. I received a letter from Diane […]

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An Introduction to “Free Fall”

We recently put up Free Fall on the site. This is the fifth story of the series involving my father, his death by suicide and the long journey to healing. If one wanted to read these in order, I’d start with Grover C. Gauntt, Jr.(Part 1), followed by Living Large, Gravity, Free Fall and finally […]

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“The Jimmy” Torrey Pines High School Scholarships

On Tuesday, Hilary and I went to Falcon Awards Night at Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, California and presented the James Tedrow Gauntt Memorial Scholarships to this year’s recipients—three remarkable graduating seniors; two young women and a young man. This is the sixth year of awarding scholarships from the fund that was created […]

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day By Roshi Genro Grover Gauntt My older brother, Grover, wrote this to our mother, Barbara Case Gauntt, on July 29, 2005. I found it in her safe deposit box after she passed away in 2012. Mom had written on the outside of its envelope “I love it!” Precious doesn’t begin to describe […]

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Bearing Witness

Yvonne's Story By: Roshi Genro Gauntt

My brother, Roshi Genro Gauntt is in Kigali, Rwanda for the next three weeks. Twenty years ago this month the genocide began and over 800,000 Rwandans were killed over a three month period. There will be ceremonies observing this tragedy and my brother and other members of Zen Peacekeepers together with Rwandan NGO representatives will […]

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How to write a beautiful condolence card to someone who has lost a child

How to write a beautiful condolence card to someone who has lost a child or young adult. I wish I didn’t have so much experience on this subject. As I wrote in the Condolences  story posted on the site in November 2012, our family received hundreds—maybe a thousand—cards and letters after our 24 year old son, […]

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Suffering Is The Only Honest Work- Dedication to Marilyn Willison ‘Coach’

Today we posted a new story on the website. I proudly dedicate Suffering Is The Only Honest Work in honor of and gratitude to Marilyn Willison. Marilyn Willison and my wife Hilary have been friends since the early 1970s when they worked together at Coldwell Banker in Los Angeles. Marilyn was an administrative assistant and […]

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Harvesting Rice, By Joshua Wisch

Jeff Schwartz, the author of the amazing story Why I Believe In Angels and Miracles, shared with me this Ted Talk by his friend Joshua Wisch of Honolulu. Joshua’s story, Harvesting Rice is extraordinarily heart-wrenching and powerful–that he stands before the world with such composure and serenity and shares his story without cracking is super-human. […]

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The Box

Introduction Patti Johnson is from Collins, Ohio, and she is “the lady who does historical research as a hobby in Ohio” briefly mentioned in Charlie Myers’ story Stepping Into The Twilight Zone.  As alluded to by Charlie, there is a much bigger, almost unbelievable, story of how Patti came to enter Charlie’s life, and then […]

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is an attorney and senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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