About Mike James

Ocean Beach was my home for 25 years. My tile on Newport Ave. is inscribed “Lived, Loved and Learned in Ocean Beach.”  My license plate reads “XOBDUDE.”  I have always felt a passion for this place that is not unique among its residents and expatriates.

This blog is a remembrance of my time there.  These memories are partly shrouded in fog, like the haze on the brain after a night at the Sunshine Co. Saloon, so this blog should not construed as history.

I think I am uniquely qualified to tell this tale. I moved to O.B. in 1976 at the age of 20, to reside in the community my brothers had chosen to live and work.

Five brothers working together and living the beach lifestyle as the James Gang.  This was who we were and the name of our custom t-shirt business.

In the beginning our business reflected the Ocean Beach way. Our refrigerator contained a keg with the tap on the outside of the door.  Our coffee breaks were replaced with an  O.B. “smoke” break, which took place in the dark room. These practices were later abandoned as they affected productivity.

Our first location on the second floor of the Kraft Building overlooking Bacon and Newport, where we could watch the hippies* and the homeless do their thing.

Success came quickly due to luck and skill of my three older brothers, which allowed my younger brother and I to become full-time employees.

I probably should explain what success meant to us, it was ability for all of to pay rent and live in Ocean Beach.

So the story begins…

*(my brothers also being of this ilk.)

  • Inaugural Vice President and founding member, Ocean Beach Merchants Association 1979 (later renamed the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association)
  • President, Ocean Beach Merchants Association 1980 and 1983
  • O.B. Planning Board Member 1980
  • President, Ocean Beach Town Council 1988
  • President, Ocean Beach Geriatric Surf Club and Precision Marching Drill Team and Gidget Patrol 1984-present (O.K. every member is president (except John Danna))
  • Founder of the Ocean Beach Fireworks Festival as president with the O.B.M.A. 1980
  • Co-chair of the first O.B. Street Fair 1983
  • Assisted in starting the Ocean Beach Xmas Festival 1980
  • Minister, Universal Life Church, over 50 weddings performed 1988-present
  • Entertainment Booker for O.B. Street Fair 1993-1998
  • Head Auctioneer Ocean Beach Xmas Festival 1981-2001  Guest auctioneer 2007-present
  • Main Stage announcer Ocean Beach Xmas Parade 1980-present
  • Member of the improvisational comedy troupe “The Mighty Grunion Players” 1991-1993
  • Bartender, Tubaman’s, Shanty Hogan’s, Sapporo’s (same place 3 different owners) 1991-1996
  • Fill-in bartender, Cheswick’s West 1991-1996
  • Part-owner of James Gang Custom Printing 1976-1991
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Responses

  1. Mr. Mike James:
    I read a story, by you, of your experience with Rock (Herman) Kreutzer. That was a long time ago.

    I am looking for his son Jerry. We went to school together and I remember many fun nights at the Big Oak Ranch.

    Jerry and I moved to Visalia together and eventually met women and moved on. I spent 20 years publishing newspapers in Seattle.

    I am currently living in boring Indiana.My father died a few months back and I am spending time in San Diego. Might move back there. I new Jerry spent time in Prison. I remember visiting him just after he got out. I never told him I knew but I remember his apartment was empty, as if he just moved in.

    I saw him again, a few years later with his new wife.

    Is Rock really still in prison?

    Any help you can give would be appreciated.

    Roger Hollings

  2. Hello Mike,
    It’s been a long time……………..

    Respond

  3. HI MIKE!

  4. WHERE ARE YOU NOW? i AM IN SEATTLE. I SURE COULD USE AN OCEAN BEACH UNIVERSITY T-SHIRT. CAN YOU HOOK ME UP? CALL ME @ (206) 276-0691. SO, DO U KNOW THE WHEREABOUTS OF DORETTE JACKSON? I TALK TO THE KNOXES EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE…jdb.


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