Stories

HELLO!

Rolex Explorer

  “You’re finding pennies aren’t you?” A few months after we lost our son Jimmy, my wife Hilary, Jimmy’s older sister, Brittany, and I went to see Tarra. Tarra is a medium and was recommended to us as “the real deal” by another family who had also lost a son.  A couple of years later […]

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LIFE

I found a newspaper clipping tucked deep in a very worn and beat up leather bound book titled  An American Bible, written by Elbert Green Hubbard and edited by his wife, Alice.  This 1912 anthology cradles the biographies of some of this country’s most influential citizens of the time—if not all time in my humble […]

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Suffering is the Only Honest Work – A New Book

JUST PUBLISHED! Casey and Jimmy Gauntt have written a new book.  CLICK HERE to find out more. Jimmy Gauntt—personable, brilliant Jimmy—died at age twenty-four, struck by an automobile. The promising young man’s death shattered his father Casey’s heart. And yet, in the coming months, Casey and his family would experience something amazing. Through seeming coincidence […]

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Trust Me, Michael

TRUST ME MICHAEL by Michael Lueth On the morning of August 5, 1994 I visited my mom in her room at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, IL. She had recently been admitted due to complications from a kidney and lung cancer she had been fighting for the past several years. Health-wise, things […]

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How to write a beautiful condolence card to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide

How to write a beautiful condolence card to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide By Casey Gauntt Unfortunately I also have personal experience with this most challenging task. When I was twenty years old my father, Grover Cleveland Gauntt, Jr., the strongest man I knew, took his life sometime in the evening […]

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Free Fall

(Reverse Spoiler Alert: Please read first The Letter, Living Large and Gravity) Free Fall By Casey Gauntt Late December, 1970 My memory of the next couple of weeks is mostly shrouded in fog punctuated with a few lucid moments of predominantly pain and grief laced with surrealism. The two rocks of my life flew in […]

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One Suitcase

One Suitcase By Casey Gauntt “I just can’t buy Christianity; that Jesus Christ and the religion founded upon his miraculous birth and resurrection is the only path to heaven. All I know is this—here—right now—this moment with you, this meal, this conversation. This is what I believe: When I talk to my friends Pat Nottke […]

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Let It Be – The Video

Casey, Brittany and her husband, Ryan Kirby, sat down in front of my camera and told stories about Jimmy.

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The Other Letter – a film by Steve Date

On November 8, 2008, the same day Casey Gauntt received an amazing and life-changing letter from his dad, Casey’s daughter Brittany received an equally incredible note from her brother, Jimmy. This is a sequel to “The Letter”, a previous film by Steve Date.

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The Father Pat Letters

By: Rev. Patrick J. O’Malley and Casey Gauntt A couple of weeks after I put up the story of my grandfather Vern Case on Write Me Something Beautiful, I received this comment from someone far back in my past. Rev. Patrick O’Malley September 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm I am the brother of John O’Malley […]

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Just A Splash

Just a Splash

By Hilary Gauntt Just thought I’d share this “sign” that made our day on Friday, August 1st. Casey and I went to an annual party of Casey’s 20-year clients at the Del Mar racetrack. Casey loves this party because it’s packed with real estate developers, bankers and lawyers from all over the country he has […]

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Gravity

Gravity - By Casey Gauntt

Gravity By Casey Gauntt Reader Alert—read The Letter, Impeccable Timing, For Jon and the Vern Case stories first Flashback from The Letter, Impeccable Timing and For Jon I left the shaft job and my new friends in Coalwood, West Virgnia in late August, 1968 and flew home to Chicago. Ten days later I was in […]

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Living Large

Living Large - By Casey Gauntt

Living Large By Casey Gauntt “Do you see anything?” the deeply tanned man at the helm softly called in Spanish down to one of the equally dark young men on the deck of the boat. “Nada.” Nothing. It was early in the afternoon and the sun was a fully engulfed barbeque turned upside down over […]

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Why I Believe In Angels and Miracles—Casey’s Epilogue

Why I Believe in Angels and Miracles —Casey’s Epilogue

This is a time-seasoned, deeply-felt response to Jeff Schwartz’s story published six months back you can read here: Why I Believe in Angels

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The Fraternity

The Fraternity By Casey Gauntt December 21, 2010 This day, forty years ago, my father took his life in his office at Case Foundation Company in a suburb of Chicago. In addition to the ones that spooled out and are described in this story, there is a whole bunch of other bizarre syncronicities that specifically […]

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Suffering Is The Only Honest Work

Suffering Is The Only Honest Work

Suffering Is The Only Honest Work By Casey Gauntt This story is because of Tom Strickler and his drive, leadership, mentorship,  generosity and love for Jimmy Gauntt.  Jimmy first met Tom in 2006.  As a  founding partner of Endeavor—now William Morris Endeavor— one of the most powerful entertainment agencies in the country, Tom was a […]

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Yvonne’s Story

Yvonne's Story By: Roshi Genro Gauntt

Introduction of Roshi Genro Gauntt This next leg of the journey led me—or rather I should say my older brother Grover, aka Roshi, Genro, Kamanzi and G.G.—took me to Central Africa. My brother, deep in his soul, has been a Zen Buddhist as long as I have known him, notwithstanding our centuries-long heritage of Anglo-Saxon […]

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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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Impeccable Timing

Impeccable Timing By Casey Gauntt

Impeccable Timing By Casey Gauntt December 22, 2010 A friend of mine sent me an email at my office. It wasn’t directed only to me—there was a gaggle (forgive me, James Lipton) of addressees: Subject: Merry Christmas from Johnny Carson Johnny Carson once quipped: “I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and […]

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Why I Believe in Angels

Why I Believe in Angels - By Jeff Schwartz

Introduction By Casey Gauntt Jeff Schwartz shared with us a story we put up on the site a couple of years ago titled Lions On The Bridge. It is a terrific story but, as Jeff explains below, it was only a tune-up for the heavy lifting he had to do for this one. I want […]

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The Rabbit Hole Letters

The Rabbit Hole Letters By Casey Gauntt Rabbit Hole: An entrance to a rabbit’s burrow or warren; a bizarre or difficult state or situation; a portal into a different, strange world; and all of the above. David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the Rabbit Hole play in 2006 for which he won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. This summary […]

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For Nika

Introduction By: Casey Gauntt Hugh Sill and I reconnected in February of 2011 in a very powerful way. A mutual friend of ours, John Morehouse, facilitated the reunion. Hugh and I were pledge brothers at USC, picked pineapples one college summer in Maui with John, a football player from Cornell, and we all became very […]

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Ginger Poet Adonis – by Dave Yendler

Dav Yendler & Jimmy Gauntt

—INTRODUCTION Jimmy Gauntt spent his senior year of college at the Queen Mary School in London studying English literature and acting. There, he met Dav Yendler who was spending a year abroad from the University of California, San Diego. They became good friends and took several classes together. Hilary, Brittany, Ryan and I went to […]

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Wheaton-The Bermuda Triangle

[Reverse SPOILER ALERT: Are you one of our many NEW weekend readers spending some quality time here? If so, I’d suggest reading some previously-published stories before continuing with this story –if– you desire the “full effect.” Those would be: McKenzie’s Field-Ole Ole Olsen, and Want To Go For A Ride?. Thanks, –Casey] If two points […]

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Condolences

Condolences By: Casey Gauntt In the days and weeks following Jimmy’s death we received hundreds—maybe even a thousand— cards, letters and emails from family, friends and colleagues, and also from more than a few people we didn’t even know, expressing their sympathies and condolences for the tragic loss of our son and their relative, friend […]

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Happy Birthday, Barb

Happy Birthday, Barb By: Casey Gauntt and Brittany and Ryan Kirby On Saturday, July 28, 2012, I was in the garage of our house in Solana Beach sifting through boxes of some of my mother’s things we had recently brought over from her house in Encinitas. I was specifically looking for some photographs of my […]

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Happy Birthday, Sis

Introduction Before we get into the next story, Happy Birthday, Barb, there’s another one about birthdays that needs to be revealed first because of their uncanny similarities. You see, there was more to the story of The Letter than what has previously been shared. Something else happened on November 8, 2008— the day the letter […]

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Princess Gantt—For The Birds

Princess Gantt—For The Birds By: Casey Gauntt January 6, 2012 I awoke—well I got out of bed, I’d been awake for a half hour or so—around 6:30. I went downstairs to turn on the heater (we hate the autopilot), got the papers and came back upstairs to make coffee. Dating myself, I know. We continue […]

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Feline Portal Jumping

By Casey Gauntt December 2011 I’m pretty sure our cat lost her hearing. I’ve been conducting a series of experiments over the last several weeks and the results all seem to point to a diagnosis of stone-deaf. Originally named ‘Prince’ by our kids until the vet upon closer inspection begged to differ, Princess is 21 […]

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For Jon

For Jon By Casey Gauntt In the fall of 1973 during my second year of law school at the University of Southern California, as was the custom, I interviewed on campus with several Los Angeles law firms and was invited back for full day interviews to three or four of them.  Fortunately for me as […]

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The Ghostwriter

The Ghostwriter By Casey Gauntt Ghostwriter: A professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports or other texts that are officially credited to another person. [Source: Wikipedia] Paranormal: Not scientifically explainable. [Source: Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary] Over the 2009 Christmas holiday my older brother, Grover, came to visit us in Solana Beach, […]

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Want To Go For A Ride?

Want To Go For A Ride? By Casey Gauntt [Reverse SPOILER ALERT: Are you one of our many weekend readers spending some quality time here? If so, I’d suggest reading some previously-published stories before continuing with this story –if– you desire the “full effect.” Those would be: The Letter, McKenzie’s Field-Ole Ole Olsen, and our […]

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Impossible Germany

Introduction.  Luke Adams and Jimmy Gauntt were close friends since they began tumbling around in diapers in 1984.  They even looked alike with their reddish hair, quick-to-burn fair skin, freckles and lanky athletic builds  Scotland’s Andy Murray and these boys could be mistaken for cousins.  Luke, a year older, was always slightly taller than Jimmy.  […]

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Let It Be

Introduction. My wife Hilary has always loved music. There are three songs, in particular, that have been running in and out of Hilary’s life. Here’s her story about one of them. Let It Be By: Hilary Gauntt Still deeply mourning our adored son Jimmy, we joined our friends Terri and Bill Stampley and Jill and […]

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Inspiration & Dedication

The Inspiration Erik Shepner walked to the podium on the stage of the Mandeville Auditorium at the University of California San Diego campus and spoke to over one thousand mourners assembled for our son Jimmy’s memorial service on August 15, 2008.  Jimmy, only 24 years old, was accidentally struck and killed by an automobile walking […]

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Class of 1939

Introduction to the Class of 1939 Anthony “Tony” Valdivia maintains a list of the “active” members of his graduating class from University High School in West Los Angeles —at least those that he’s been able to stay in touch with. He’s been doing this for 73 years as one of the principal coordinators of the […]

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We See Jimmy in Each of You

The third annual Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award celebration remembers the alumnus, a poet, musician and playwright, while recognizing stellar undergraduate seniors in USC Dornsife’s Department of English. By Michelle Salzman May 9, 2012 The Jimmy Award, named in honor of alumnus Jimmy Gauntt, recognizes outstanding seniors in the English department who have demonstrated a commitment […]

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The Iwo Jima Letter

Introduction About a year ago I ran across this wonderful story written by Aaron Burgin for the San Diego Union Tribune. It’s another true tale about a long forgotten letter that lay dormant in a box that travelled across the country for 67 years until its current, random, caretaker discovered the letter and decided to […]

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McKenzie’s Field—Ole Ole Olson Free

This is another story about growing up in Itasca, Illinois in the early 1960s. Like Fallout Shelter, it’s a story of near misses and ‘what-might-have-beens’ in our lives, juxtaposed against the stark, sobering realities of the direct hits we usually never see coming. This is the first of a trilogy of stories about my reconnection, 42 years later, with some of my closest friends as a child and teenager. I wrote McKenzie’s Field nine months after our son Jimmy died, and a year before some of my old friends began dropping back into my life, and I into theirs. It would take another two years for the seemingly random pieces of these stories to knit themselves together and leave us all shaking our heads in utter disbelief—and shear wonder.

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The Program

The Program By Courtney Day I went to Torrey Pines High School with Jimmy Gauntt in Del Mar, California. I graduated in 2001 and Jimmy in 2002.  I met his parents, Casey and Hilary, six years later at his funeral.  My friend Traci recently sent me the link to Write Me Something Beautiful, and I […]

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Jimmy and Me

Jimmy and Me By John Dale August 15, 2008 If this were anyone else, I would have asked Jimmy to write this for me, so I would seem a much better writer. [boisterous laughter] Jimmy and I were writing partners and comedy partners since college, so forgive me if I am tempted to try to […]

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The Sax Players — A Christmas Story

I answered the phone and, with voice shaking, he asked “Is Jimmy’s cell phone still working?” John Dale had left our house only a few minutes earlier. It was Christmas Day, 2008—our first without Jimmy. John had come by that morning to give us an almost surreal photograph of Jimmy playing the saxophone—one we’d never seen before. And then John got “his call,” followed by another bizarre one that I took several hours later. It was a day of amazing gifts and another peek into the “whatever it is” we experienced with The Letter several weeks earlier. The table for this day had been set a week earlier when we met and had our first reading with Tarra, a well know medium and psychic from Sedona. We knew the moment Jimmy was gone that we got kicked onto another railroad track and we could either go down it or pull off and languish on some siding. We chose to roll forward and see where it goes. This is a little story about photographs, phone calls, psychics and saxophones, with perhaps a little magic sprinkled on top.

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Almost Ellisville

By Casey Gauntt We are never completely free of the instruments that fashioned us. –Henrietta Ellis Case (1952). Henrietta Ellis Case is my maternal grandmother and was born December 28, 1897 in Glennville, a small farming town nestled between Porterville and Bakersfield in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. She was a prolific writer […]

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A Moment in Paris

A Moment In Paris By Hilary Gauntt This is difficult to write as it happened in less than a minute, and could be construed as a combination of jet lag, wishful thinking, and coincidence. But I need to get it down on paper, so that when I look back years from now I will be […]

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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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Fallout Shelter, My Ass

The Cold War, U.S.S.R., Nikita Khrushchev, The Bomb, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Defcon 2—words that will still send a shiver up your spine if you were one of the Baby Boomers, that slug of kids conceived by the millions of soldiers who had returned home from fighting in World War II. Casey Gauntt was a Boomer and here is his flashback tale of being an eleven year old living in sleepy Itasca, Illinois, in 1961 and coming within a hare’s breath of an all-out—game over—nuclear war. Even if you had a fallout shelter back then, it wouldn’t have spared you from the fear the Boomers still carry with them, just beneath the surface, that with one push of a button we’re all gone. And folks wonder why so many of that generation dropped out and dropped acid.

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Stepping Into The Twilight Zone

Coalwood magic was already playing out years before Casey received the call from Emily Sue Buckberry and the letter his father had written to him 40 years earlier. Charlie Myers shares his amazing story of how he was drawn into the Coalwood force field in 2005 and came to start the town’s official website. Charlie meticulously presents his evidence writes of too many coincidences to dismiss them as such, and he could not ignore the fact that his reality was becoming entwined with the fiction from his favorite T.V. series and that he quite possibly may have crossed into the Twilight Zone. And we are right there with you, Charlie!

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Lions On The Bridge

Lions On The Bridge By Jeff Schwartz Christmas Eve – December 24, 2011 @ Chow Haven Farm, Maui, HI with you and Molly Dear Donna, For your Christmas gift this year, you asked for something simple – to “write me something beautiful” – as Jimmy Gauntt asked. So here is my gift to you. One […]

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Moments With Ma, By Patti Johnson

My mother has been dead for thirty five years. She has been gone for over 70% of my life and still, I miss her. My Ma was an alcoholic. It hurts me to say that. For years I could not admit it. It still feels wrong—like I’m being disloyal to her—focusing on something negative about her. She was 52 years old, a month shy of her 53rd birthday. This is another story from Patti Johnson, and the prequel to The Box concerning her tumultuous relationship with her father. In Moments With Ma, Patti courageously takes us with her into the dark, twisted, tunnel of growing up with an alcoholic mother and watching her slowly disintegrate before her eyes. Patti shares with us her shame, pain, guilt and suffering and the uncanny details forever imprinted in her mind of the last days and hours with her mother. And then, only a few hours after her passing, Patti lets us in on her moment with Ma.

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To Jimmy, From Erik

—Your Time August 15, 2008 When remembering your life and death Jim, I am compelled to disregard my standard perceptions of time, a soul such as yours stretches far beyond such worldly limitations.  Time was not boundary to you, nor a frame of reference; rather it was a vehicle, a tool, and an ally you […]

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To Jimmy, From Ryan

Very late in the evening of the day Jimmy died, our son-in law, Ryan Kirby, returned to Solana Beach from a fishing trip cut short in Alaska with his father and two brothers.  Our daughter Brittany had already moved in with us as our storm was raging all around, and so did Ryan.  The next […]

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The Letter-The Story

Casey Gauntt spent the summer of 1968 in Coalwood, W.V. As a new graduate of Lake Park H.S. in suburban Chicago and before starting USC in Los Angeles, he headed off to work on a construction job his family’s company, Case Foundation, was hired to do. After that summer, Coalwood remained a faded memory until one day—40 years later—Casey received a phone call from a woman who said she had something he left behind in Coalwood and wanted to return it to him. She had no idea how important this item would be for Casey and his family in that moment—a moment where they had experienced the greatest loss of their lifetime— and how a simple letter from his father would change Casey’s life and how he will forevermore view this world. This is a story of family tragedy—about as bad as it gets—and either unbelievable coincidence or the handiwork of a greater power. You can be the judge.

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La Carta

Sergio Robles is a brother-in-law of our good friends, Penny and Frank Dudek.  Sergio and his wife Pam live in Honolulu where they are educators.   Sergio was born and raised in Argentina and had a distinguished twenty six year career as a senior officer of the Argentine Marine Corps.  We’ve often celebrated Thanksgiving with the […]

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Conversations With Heaven

On November 1 each year Dave and Randa Rottjakob release several helium balloons into the Minnesota sky. Attached to each balloon string is a card with a handwritten message explaining that the balloon was launched in loving memory of the their daughter, Ellen Catherine, born prematurely on November 1, 1997 and whose short life ended 45 days later. The card asks those who come across the balloons to contact Ellen’s parents and let them know where they were found. On November 1, 2008, one of Ellen’s balloons landed in the backyard of Michael Joyce, a journalist, among other talents, with a deadline to write a story. As he chased down the story, Michael discovered Ellen’s balloons have touched the lives of many folks in several states at the most uncanny of times and circumstances—himself included—and there is so much more than helium transported inside them.

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Isaiah 65:24

Isaiah 65:24 By Casey Gauntt  Emily Buckberry forwarded to me an email she got from her brother, Joe Bill.  It looked like something already well-traveled on the web.  A couple of days earlier I had asked her a question that had been on my mind for quite some time, and she sent me this.  Subject:  […]

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Grover Cleveland Gauntt, Jr. (Part 1)

Introduction A couple of months after our son Jimmy died and a week or so before I got ‘the call’ from Emily Sue Buckberry, we were having dinner with our daughter, Brittany. She told Hilary and me that over the last year Jimmy had become very interested—actually, “obsessed” was the word she used—in finding out […]

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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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