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The Man on the Bench

Feel free to view this as a self serving missive about my new book. The reason being – this is a self serving missive about my new book. The Man on the Bench is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. It’s already getting good reviews so why not sing about it?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a piece about the death of a homeless, mentally ill man that became a good friend. When I wrote it, I knew my friend’s first name, but not his last. I decided to try and find his family and learn more about his past. The book chronicles the amazing story of Jeffrey Pastorino, the man we called the Mayor of Point Loma.

He sat on a bench for nearly twenty years. People thought he was crazy and by many standards, he was. But after discovering his past and the events that brought him to that bench, I began to wonder who was truly crazy. The path of that discovery turned out to be the basis for this amazing story. The life of this unlikely man serves as a beacon for all of mankind when it comes to dealing with our insecurities and shortcomings. For in the final analysis, we all spend at least a little time sitting on the bench. Learn more at www.54Candles.org.


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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