[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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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.
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 [...]
“I’m learning to pay attention to my dreams—especially the early morning ones that are too real to dismiss as just dream.” This story begins with Casey’s dream of his three month old grandson Wyatt James and a guitar. As he chases down the strands of the dream and some very real guitars and people associated with those instruments, Casey discovers uncanny connections among too many things previously thought as purely random that have occurred over the past several years, including some rather bizarre things he has in common with his muse, James Taylor. “It’s like connecting dots and finding out they were always right where they were supposed to be.” Here is Casey’s story about dreams, babies, James, guitars, highways and way too many coincidences.
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 [...]
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.
How does a boy from Willits, CA, with a 7th grade education, thrown out of his house at 14 by a man he was embarrassed to call his “father,” become one of this nation’s most successful deep foundation contractors and in the 1950s and 1960s help build much of Chicago’s impressive skyline? This is Casey’s story of his grandfather, Vernon Drury Case (1897-1977), a descendant of Scots and one tough, driven brawler. Vern Case was bigger than life and generous to a fault. Raised broke, he had no fear of losing it all—which he did many times. His style wasn’t for everybody, including Casey’s dad who worked for him a couple of years too long. Casey takes us through the scratch and claw— make your life better than the one before you—history of the Case family, and gives us an insider’s look into the remarkable life of his grandfather— a man who was admired, feared and also loved very much, especially by his grandson.