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Book’s Progress

I’m please to report that book sales for “The Man on the Bench” are brisk and exceeding expectations. In part, I thank some great publicity from media like The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Pennisula Beacon, NPR and KPBS, and Channel Six in San Diego. Thanks to all. Keep spreading the word.

View the most recent TV show by clicking here.

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More Lessons from the Mayor

When Jeff Pastorino, our homeless “Mayor” of Point Loma died, a community spirit was awakened. It has been so miraculous that the story appeared on the front page of The San Diego Union Tribune today. I’ve received calls from teary eyed readers. Emails continue to come in about the homeless man who touched the hearts of an entire community. When I originally penned my personal farewell to Jeff Pastorino, (August 25th, September 20th), I couldn’t begin to imagine what would follow. Neither did I understand how much I would learn through the man who wanted to be invisible.

Since his death two months ago, I’ve learned a lot about this man no one knew, but everyone cared about. Over the years, I’ve heard stories about who he was and why he sat on the same bench for more than a decade and a half. Each teller was quite certain his or her story was the correct one. After all, it had been heard from a reliable source. How much more certain can someone be?

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The Wisdom of the Mayor

Jeff Pastorino at 13

Jeff Pastorino at 13

The Mayor was a homeless guy.  He was a fixture in Point Loma, California.  He sat in the same place for more than fifteen years.  He never asked for anything.  He was always gracious.  Many people thought him strange.  Others weren’t as generous.

Following his death last month, I watched an amazing sequence of events unfold.  Although hardly anyone knew his name, someone brought flowers and placed them on the bench where he could be seen every day.  Soon a second bunch appeared, then a third, a fourth and more.  Flowers started piling up.  After a week, anonymous mourners placed dozens of flowers at the Mayor’s bench.  As soon as maintenance crews could remove them, more appeared.  It was as if the man that no one knew had become such a part of the neighborhood that the hearts of people opened up when he was gone.  He’d become a part of all of us, the less fortunate guy that none of us wanted to be.  He may have been eccentric, but he was our eccentric friend and people were saying we’d be missing him.

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Goodbye to a Dear Friend

Jeff died Saturday. He wasn’t an average guy. For more than ten years, he sat on a bench at the corner of Rosecrans and Avenida de Portugal in the Point Loma area of San Diego. He was there for the millennium change. He sat there every Christmas morning. He rang in every New Year on the bench. Summers, winters, holidays, rain or shine, he was sitting on his bench. As you might imagine, he was different.

When darkness filled the night, Jeff would pick up the bag holding all of his earthly possessions and disappear into the shadows where he would stealthily spread his sleeping bag on the ground hidden away from any and all curious eyes. Shortly after first light, Jeff was back on his bench for another day of silent vigilance.

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