Reader Rave: Watching OB From Afar … and Lovin’ It

by on January 4, 2010 · 29 comments

in Ocean Beach

OB in the 1970s - Dickie Magidoff and his beloved Layla.Originally posted Jan. 4, 2010

Editor: The following “Rave” was sent to us by an old and very good friend, Dickie Magidoff, who lived in OB from 1972 through 1978. Dickie came to OB for a 3-week visit, and ended up staying seven years.  As soon as he arrived, Dickie began working on the then hard copy OB Rag, and became a mainstay of the paper for years. A type-setter by trade, and a politico by nature, Dickie ended up living in Berkeley and Oakland, California, until his recent marriage to Ellen Sugg – another former OBcean – and move to the small town of Burney in Shasta County.

by Dickie Magidoff / January 4, 2010

For the New Year I send you all great appreciation and thanks from up here in the north country of California.

For me, reading the OB Rag online is something like having a great reality show or Sims computer game to watch – the biggest difference of course being that, unlike reality shows, OB is real – and reading about the community good times, the community struggles, the great pictures, the genuine controversies, with real people going back and forth (with some humor) evolving a community perspective dazzling in its texture, inspiring in its purpose, and potent in its action—it helps keep me going in this very conservative place where I live.

Up here in Shasta County it seems most of the grass roots dynamism belongs to the teabaggers and their base and, though I have met a ton of wonderful people and there is such natural beauty around here, I have been unable to get much traction in any effective way [the Sarah Palin book tour had to add a 2nd show in Redding there was such a huge demand for tickets to see her]. I did share a lot of the early fire coverage by the Rag blog – fire was such an issue that summer up here . . . and all kinds of people felt your coverage was great in its breadth and depth.

Dickie and Layla at Red House, Sept. 1973, when Dickie worked on original Rag and drove for ABC Cab Co.

OB is real and it is a place I lived for seven years in the 1970s and visited many times a year for another 20 years. It was a home away from home for my wonderful daughter as she was growing up in the ’80 and ’90s , a place I never stopped feeling I “knew,” and a place where many I consider among my dearest and closest friends still live.

Arriving in OB on Thanksgiving Day 1972 (just for a few-week visit I thought), it felt like a fantasy come true for me, a community where I felt both comfortable and challenged, with such a community essence and a growing personal friendships I had never experienced in such abundance  – a place to organize among people like myself – and of course there was the Ocean and the Beach – I had never been as aware of the phases of the moon before, because I saw the open sky every day.

Dickie M and LaylaI worked on the original OB Rag for a couple of years and was deeply involved in the beginnings of the OB Childcare Project (which I think still exists in some form today). I helped on and supported many efforts around community planning with the OB Community Planning Group and around getting the police off our case in OB with the Human Rights Committee as well as antiwar campaigns, support for the growing women’s movement in OB, and later efforts against deportations of undocumented people. I worked at the old InBetween for a year (a story maybe worth a separate post someday) and became a bit more familiar with the OB “street”. OB was a place I felt truly a part of and where I had effect.

Your wonderful online publication recaptures that for me in a vivid and engaging way. It is so wonderful to tap into the energy that sustains the OB community ideal still as something special where people can relate in human ways and engage with each others’ lives. Really it is an inspiration . . . .

Many of you Ragsters I know well . . . and I can’t wait to see you all and hopefully soon [I know I know I can hear some of you saying I always say that . . . but I do mean it] – and those of you I have come to know through your posts and comments, well I look forward to the real replacing the virtual between us. You sound like such an eloquent and friendly crew  – (I especially hope to catch a wave with bodysurferbob . . .)

Finally: when I worked on the original Rag one of the things I did was sell ads. I really appreciated the people who put it on the line materially to support a community resource like the Rag. So I want to give a special thank you to the OBRag blog advertisers. I hope it is working out for all of you and you can continue to support and be supported by the Rag blog and its base.

And really finally it is great to see my dear old friend Frank Gormlie continuing over 35 years of genuine, principled, popular journalism in San Diego. Frank – you truly deserve the credit and the blame!!

If you are curious about our habitat, come visit . . . we love city company . . .

Happy New Year to All!!!

Dickie Magidoff

Burney, Shasta County

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly January 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Wow – a little chest cake at the OB Rag – hubba hubba.


annagrace January 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Dickie- thanks so much for your support and encouragement during the great Town Hall meeting debacle this past summer. You are a memorable voice in so many ways. Hope to meet you!


Bob Hamm January 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Great article!
Lived in Burney in 1967. My wife and I were VISTA volunteers there, and loved it!
It is a beautiful area, and some beautiful people up there.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did…


Dickie January 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Bob Hamm: Burney in 1967 . . . must have been very funky, or else maybe just like now? . . .What’d you do for Vista there? Are you in OB now?


Frank Gormlie January 4, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Layla looks so thin in that B&W. She was a great dog. Before leash laws were in effect, she would roam all over OB. Getting off the freeway one day, I found her close to Fiesta Island with half a rabbit in her mouth. I stopped my car, and called out to her. She quickly dropped lunch, and trotted over to me and got in for an easy ride back to OB.


Bob Hamm January 5, 2010 at 9:06 am

We opened a community center there to work with potential school drop outs, and to give kids a place to be rather than wandering the streets of Burney, bored out of their minds!!
We also did some work with the Indians there.
Overall, it was a great experience both for us and for the people with whom we worked. We were back there a few years ago, and it seemed like very little had changed, except so many of the beautiful trees on the drive from Redding to Burney were gone because of the forest fires.
I live in Pt. Loma now. For twenty years I was principal of Sacred Heart Academy in OB. Now I am enjoying retirement!


Dickie January 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I like the new presentation of photos . . . cheesecake is fine, but I really love that black&white . . .

minor corrections on editor’s comments: I lived in OB through 1979 not 1978; and I never lived in Berkeley, only in Oakland. I worked in Berkeley though. I moved to Burney because I am a mobile person and Ellen had taught school up there for over 25 years and was a teacher union ledaer in the area . . . an almost unique voice in that part of the state I might add.


Frank Gormlie January 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Oh, okay, you never lived in Berkeley. You first moved to a house that was like 3 doors from Telegraph Ave in what I guess you would call “North Oakland” – splitting hares (see comment about Layla), my friend.


Dave Gilbert January 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Nice piece Dickie, those pictures remind me of my dog “Jethro” from back in the ’70’s and no, he didn’t need a leash either.

Splitting hares Frank? Ouch that one really hurt! ;)


Dickie January 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I bet Layla and Jethro ran together on many a nice day in OB . . . ah the 70s . . .
I hope you get to meet our new pup Sunny when we bring him to OB . . .


jettyboy January 5, 2010 at 8:37 am



Frank Gormlie January 5, 2010 at 9:26 am

Very nice reminiscing (thank god for spell check) and thanks for taking the time and energy to hold the mirror up for OBceans – we need it.


Geniezuc January 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Dickie & Layla…..When I see Layla I think of Wendy, (Iknow you are smiling!). And I’m waiting to meet Sunny Girl. Thanks old friend, and see ya sooner than later! right? Always miss you………..


Dickie January 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Wendy was a great dog and you will love Sunny too!! definitely hope for sooner rather than later . . . it will be great to see you . . .


Pat January 6, 2010 at 9:03 am

Good hearing from No Ca.
As you know I spent time growing up in Redding after my father retired from the navy.
We moved up there in the mid 60s, I left there shortly after finishing high school (Enterprise High 1975) . I spent a year in Santa Barbara before moving to OB to work with my brothers in business. It’s a beautiful area. There are certain things I really miss about the area.
I was going through my late brothers photo collection, he had lots of shots of the Burney Falls area. It was one of our favorite drives when we were up there visiting.
We had a really good friend who taught school in Bella Vista.
He was really involved in the school system up there. Maybe you knew him, his name was Roy Johnson unfortunately he passed away at 50 yrs of age in 96. Rich also had friends in the Round Mountain area where they pretty much lived off the land.
One of my best high school friends was an Indian from one of the tribes from the Burney area. Since moving my father down here I haven’t been up for a visit for quite a while. We still have our family home and relatives up there.
If my High School has a 35 yr reunion this summer I’ll be coming up and touch base.


Dickie January 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

Thanks Pat, it would be great to see you up here . . . and we have lots of room for company in our house in Burney itself . . . I hope to be in OB before next summer if possible and will look you up for a little confab on this area up here. By the way, even though we live in Burney, Ellen and I have most of our friends in the Round Mountain-Montgomery Creek-Big Bend area. I bet some of our friends knew Rich’s friends . . . and there is even a OB connection there . . .
I go to Burney Falls several times weekly to hike the loop . . . though not when it is icy or muddy . . . trying to get into snowshoeing this winter . . .


Shane Finneran January 8, 2010 at 9:33 am

Nice article! At the end of this month, my wife and I are moving from OB to North Park, so it’s nice to be reminded that you can take the OBcians out of OB, but not vice-versa.


Frank Gormlie January 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

Why, oh why, Shane? Economy? Rents? New house? Better birds?


mr fresh January 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

we have an OB expats secret society in north park. lol.


Shane Finneran January 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I can’t take the parrots’ squawking anymore…just kidding. I love the parrots. (Thought I heard some squawking today, in fact, for the first time in months, but it was quick and might have been something else.)

My wife and I found a place in North Park that offers more bang for our rental buck, and we also want to get to know the neighborhood, which seems to offer many of the perks of OB…walk-friendly, bike-friendly, lots of character and characters. We’ll be near Balboa Park and Morley Field, so that will help on the recreation tip. And when traffic cooperates, Newport Ave is only 15 minutes from our front door.

All that said, North Park’s going to have to be pretty swell to keep us from coming running back to OB once our one-year lease is up!


Bruce Bayley Johnson October 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Are you the Lincoln Sudbury Dick Magidoff? the SDS Dick Magidoff? The one who impressed and influenced Tom Hooper teacher extraordinaire Dick Magidoff?

And if so…how did I not know about the dogs in your life? dogs have held my life together. (that and a great wife.) Never did much else. Though not done yet. (My grandmother’s last words…) Wait. Chest pains. arrrgghh.

Frank Heys? SDS? all those things. Maybe I’m talking to the wrong guy. …but Occupy Wall Street is refreshing to me, and so much about unfinished business. (Viet nam war, Civil War?)

Just curious. Is that you?

Sorry to have a wacky post on the website…but doesn’t that make it all more interesting?

Crazy Bruce Johnson


Carole Pavlik January 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Hi Dickie! Do you remember me? We worked at the Montclarion in the late 70s! I always remember you carrying your attaché case i.e.: Manila envelope with info about Eritrea which I had never heard of until you. Also remember making frequent trips to Pete’s for our 25cent coffee! Good times and good memories! Recently came across a picture of you with the ladies taken at the paper and then did some exploring and found you. I left the bay after becoming a nurse in 1985 and have been living in Chico ever since. I am hoping this message finds you. Most people referred to me as Pavlik back then and now it has been shortened to Pavi.


Dickie July 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

Of course I remember you, Pavlik, and I remember my 2 years at the Montclarion very fondly. We had quite a crew, didn’t we? I stayed in touch with Carie until a few years ago, and with Michelle P. whom you may remember I had known in OB!, but have lost track of everyone else. What a treat to know you are up here and close by. If you’d like to get in touch, ask obrag editordude for my email. Do you read often? How come? It’s weird, such a coincidence tht I looked at this page yesterday as I never saw your post when you first did it I moved up here to Shasta County (Burney) to get married a bit over 10 years ago. I stayed in typography and actually became a bit of a book designer and still work some. I am involved with community radio KKRN out of Round Mountain, and am quite close to the Hill Country Clinic which my wife is on the board of. It would be great to catch up!


Christie Kaelber July 24, 2017 at 12:00 am

I was wondering about the Lincoln-Sudbury connection as well.


Frank Gormlie July 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Christie, I’ve forwarded your email to the author.


Steve Brown June 3, 2019 at 1:59 pm

Is it possible to get an email Mr.Magidoff? He was a teacher in my high school 1968, thanks


Frank Gormlie June 3, 2019 at 2:15 pm

Steve – I sent him your email address.


retired botanist June 3, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Ya Know Dept:
Old as it is, this was a really, truly charming thread, and such a validation, even 9 years later, of why the Rag is so foundational to the heart of OB. I didn’t know Dickie, and wasn’t in OB during those years, but his personality, his contribution, and his goodwill just so exemplify the many people who are a part of OB. Like Dickie, I too watch OB from afar right now, and care deeply about its community and the preservation of those elements that attracted it to me in the first place. My brother was a cornerstone of the Shelter Is. boat building community beginning in the 80s, I returned to SD in the 90s, and became vested in OB issues in the early 90s, and continue to do so today.
Its the Rag that provides me with updates on my beloved Torrey pines, the library, the Green Center, People’s, the conditions of the Cliffs and local beach areas, the preservation of the neighborhood communities, the pulse check on local sentiment about larger issues affecting SD, and a tether to many other things I hold dear.
The Rag sometimes keeps me connected to folks I’ve interacted with, to folks who have similar world views, to folks who keep on keepin’ on, to new voices that make a difference.
Rag, may you live long and strong- what a great example of purpose. Thanks! :-)


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