Former Homeless Man Thanks OB for Teaching Him Love and Patience
Editor: The following post was originally published as a Letter on December 22nd. We thought it was so poignant, that we decided to post it as an article and “Reader Rant”.
My name is Mic D. I was homeless in OB from about 1989 to 1991. I “lived” near dog beach at a fire pit for about a year, and then in a dugout in Robb Field for another year. It was a most difficult time of life for me.
Let me say that I am not homeless anymore. I live in a condo in Utah. I am here for two weeks in OB for Christmas as I have been each of the past fifteen years. I also spend most spring breaks, and each July here in OB. I come here because of the love I have for OB, a love that I learned as a homeless man.
I was about 28 when I found myself destitute and living on the sand. I was a high school dropout, an ex newspaper pressman displaced by technology. I tried everything I could do to find work during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, but I was either overqualified or lacked proper education and experience for the jobs available.
One day when I just couldn’t take it anymore, I cried out to heaven. I was mad at any God who could allow me, a hard working man, to fall so low. The next day I awoke to a man standing over me in the dugout. I opened my eyes and his words followed: “Do you want to work?” Well yes I did!
He brought me and my partner Bill up the hill to a house on Sunset Cliffs. We tore that house down nearly to the ground and remodeled it. It sold the next year for about $800,000. The architect on the project brought our crew to Maui where we built two more homes. I separated from this crew after about two years, but I went on for the next 10 years working as a carpenter, building homes all over the United States. I put myself through college, and earned a degree in mathematics. Not just that, but I graduated with honors; valedictorian.
Today I teach Mathematics at a well respected academy in Utah. Last year, my students scored the highest math scores in the state, perhaps the nation. None of that could have happened without the hospitality of the kind people and businesses of OB. Today, the money that I bring into the community on my frequent vacations far outweighs any cost of having hosted me for a time.
I was dismayed by a T-shirt I saw last July. It said: “Welcome to OB. Please don’t feed the homeless.”
I saw Bill also last July. He had his own painting business. The framer who I worked for has gone on to become an architect and general contractor. This is prosperity. Prosperity has a price; patience. Of course you don’t allow the lawlessness, but don’t judge all guilty on account of the few.