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 my Dad had tried to get to me forty years earlier finally landed in my mailbox, thanks to Emily Sue Buckberry of West Virginia—the day of Jimmy’s 25th birthday. We spent most of that day at our good friends Dana and Steve Gabriel’s beach house in Del Mar. Jimmy had only been gone for three months and this was our first “holiday” without him—a very difficult and crushing day for all of us—and yet strangely and incredibly uplifting because of the arrival of the letter from my father. Our daughter Brittany and her husband Ryan were of course there—they were newlyweds, married a little over a year at the time. We all left the beach a few hours after sunset and Ryan and Brittany returned to their home also in Del Mar.

Brittany didn’t tell us what happened that night until several months later. She explained “The letter from your Dad arriving that day seemed to dwarf what happened to us.”

I don’t think so.

Here are Brittany and her husband Ryan telling this story of the “Other Letter” in a short film by Steve Date.


Happy Birthday, Sis
By Brittany Kirby

When Ryan and I got back to our place after the gathering at the beach we were emotionally exhausted. It had been a beautiful, but very tough day. While I absentmindedly cleaned up in the kitchen, Ryan ran his fingers over some books on a shelf in the living room.”Brittany, come here!” he urged.Siddhartha means - he who has found meaning of his existence --and-- he who has attained his goalsIn his hands was a paperback copy of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, and wedged in the middle, like a bookmark, was a card. I immediately recognized them both. It was a goofy birthday card with a wild-eyed young woman on the cover and the words “she had not yet decided whether to use her power for good…or for evil.”” Inside was a canned birthday wish and this handwritten message:

“which have you decided? Of course you’re beyond good and evil! I toast you to a future quarter century of passionate pursuits! (you’ll never regret it). I love you eternally, Happy Birthday. Jimmy”

I dissolved, yet again this day, in tears.

Today was my brother’s 25th birthday.

My brother Jimmy had given me this book and the card on February 28, 2005 for my 25th birthday.

“I love you eternally.”

Jimmy was 21 years old when he wrote that to me.


Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse...wedged in the middle, like a bookmark, was a birthday card from JimmyWhen you do, please let me know. Happy birthday. I love you eternally. Jimmy
Big Sis Brittany (age 5) with her little brother Jimmy (age 2) - aren't they too cute?Brittany and Jimmy in 1987 on the dunes at Zuma Beach
I am forever grateful and in love with my baby brother.


Note from Casey:

My Dad (Grover Cleveland Gauntt, Jr.) had likewise come through to me that very same day—a day when I really wanted him to be there for me.

And my son, Jimmy, came through to his sister, Brittany (my first born) —on the day she really wanted him to be there with her.

Next, is the story about my mother’s 91st birthday—and her 89th, and her 34th… Read: Happy Birthday, Barb

CLICK HERE - If you would like a Specially-Crafted PDF version of this story for saving or printing.

One response to “Happy Birthday, Sis”

  1. […] little special tales to tell.  But one of the stories — the one posted on this website as “Happy Birthday, Sis” was related by two of them, each in their own way.  I wove the two narratives together into one […]

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is a retired attorney and former 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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