Reader Rant: ‘I used to be homeless in OB. Now I vacation here.’

by on December 26, 2012 · 11 comments

in Economy, Homelessness, Ocean Beach

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.


Mic D

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Old Hermit Dave December 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

This old Arizona desert rat was never homeless, but sure happy he moved to OB.
Oh how I love to live in OB
This old hippie town has been so good to me

It helped find some talents I didn’t know were alive
Now a lot of the World can see and hear the Dave Five

Of course there is Winston’s my all time favorite bar
They let me on stage, to work for my star


Jeffeck December 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm


Thank you for the wonderful account of your time here in OB. I also thank you for spending your Sunday morning at OB1 Church. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and hope to see you again at church real soon.

Thank you for not giving up on God as well.


Mic D December 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hi Jeff,
I was intrigued by your comment. You recognized me out of the crowd. Wow! I did come back today. I was wondering if I would see you, or if you would say hello. I did have a good time of fellowship with Mel, and the teaching was true, useful, and powerful. Thanks to OB1, and all of you, and of course to Him. Heading out this week, but I hope to return again in the springtime.


Jack December 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

Good morning Mic

If you are still here on the 1st, you are welcome to come by Sacred Heart of OB in the afternoon or for the evening meal we prepare for those in need. It would be my pleasure to meet you. Your success is why we do what we do.

In Peace, Jack


Mic D December 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I look forward to it and will plan on it Jack. Thank you for the invitation. I can’t think of a better way to begin the New Year.
peace, Mic


Seadancer December 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

This story captures the feeling I have about OB. I, too, come several times a year to just ‘be’ in OB and be part of the resonance I feel here. Keep on keeping the essence of OB alive and well.


Vicki in Monterey December 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm

My family and I loved in OB from 1982 until 1999 when we moved up North. It’s nice – but OB will always be home.

Happy New Year, OB


Terrie Leigh Relf December 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for sharing your story, Mic. These are the types of real life stories that keep so many of us believing in hope and change.


Debra December 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm

What she said ^^^^^^^^^ DITTO!!!


Rick Chalmers January 6, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Hi Mic,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I’d like to meet you someday and shake your hand. As well I’d like to acknowledge the homeowner who thought it would be a good idea to roust a bum!

All the best to you and if I ever hit the skids, I hope I can remember your history as a guiding light.



Carelene November 4, 2017 at 10:12 am

I have never been to OB but have vacationed up and down California throughout my life.
I love California. I loved reading about Mic’s story.

Mic’s story does not end where he left it. The kindness of others is never wasted. Mic went on to change his life in ways that can be measured and he pays it forward daily. When we are kind to we may never know what changes our kindness brings to others. Kindness is it’s own reward.

Mic is kind to others in countless ways. Years ago he taught my son math. My son has Aspergers (high functioning autism) and continues to struggle in relationships and other aspects of life BUT he tells me that his drive to succeed came from Mr. D years before. I am grateful for the changes he inspired in my son and now I am also a teacher and Mic continues to inspire and encourage me. Maybe there is an act of kindness I will also pass along to change someone’s life.

People of Ocean Beach California, keep this love alive. I hear it in your comments here. There is evidently something special there where you live. It is a beautiful legacy that did not begin with a man offering a job to a young homeless man. He kept it alive, it has grown with Mic and it lives in each one of us.


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