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It's almost a universal desire--the yearning for someplace to escape, if only for a time, from the claims and pressures of everyday life. For Charles Gusewelle and his family, a small cabin in the corner of the northern Ozark woods has been such a priceless retreat, a place "away from it all." Gusewelle's parents bought the property more than 50 years ago when he was away in Army service. And a modest tract it was: a few scrub-timbered acres and what was then a primitive one-room shack. But it was dear to them and their hearts, as it has been for their son, his wife and their two daughters. After returning from the military and shortly before resuming what had been a half-century career in journalism, Gusewelle spent a solitary winter there, working to grow his skills as a writer. That experience inspired a powerful devotion to that region and its people. The cabin has been somewhat enlarged and modernized. The original 40-acre woodland tract has been much expanded but those changes are really quite incidental for the feel and purpose of the place is unchanged. It is still a refuge where, when the world comes crowding, stillness can heal the heart.
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Charles W. Gusewelle joined the Kansas City Star in 1955 as a general assignment reporter. Later, he served as editorial writer on foreign affairs, foreign editor, associate editor and columnist. He is the author of twelve books and was inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America in 2000 and the Missouri Press Association Newspaper Hall Fame in 2007. He received the Paris Reviews Aga Khan Prize for Fiction in 1977. Gusewelle also wrote and narrated documentaries and video essays for Kansas City Public Television.
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