My Life in the One World Family Commune

By Del Rainer

It has been over 40 years since a group of us dropped out of the old world of duality, of buying and selling for personal gain, and joined together to live as a communal family, sharing all things in common, giving, receiving and forgiving. This is the story of my experience, covering the wonderful days of the One World Family Commune and the revelations of truth that have come to me as the result of living and sharing together and, above all, being associated with an enlightened Being, Galactic Channel Allen Michael.

An Awakening Experience

It was the late 60’s, and I was a married woman with four children, a home in suburbia and a husband who was having a “nervous breakdown.” Michael was suffering from the nightmare of being trapped for life, responsible for the support of a wife and four children and signing away 30 years of his life as a wage-slave to pay for his “American Dream.”

A short time after signing the papers for the mortgage on a house in Marin County, a San Francisco bedroom community, Michael was led to group therapy and I, at home with four small children and a house to take care of, began to soak up the broadcasts from Pacifica’s listener-sponsored radio station, KPFA-FM in Berkeley. It was a time of awakening, and I began to take notice of what was going on in the rest of the world. I was attracted to what I had been hearing about the “Flower Children” of Haight/Ashbury and persuaded a friend to accompany me on a trip to San Francisco to check it out. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I had a feeling of elation as we strolled along Haight Street, taking in the high vibes of the Flower Children.

Thanks to KPFA’s in depth coverage and more enlightening programming, even more a rarity at that time, I was introduced to the teachings of Krishnamurti, discovered the meaning of the word, karma, and tuned in to the songs of the Beatles, Joanie Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and the many other inspired New Age musicians of the time.

One day, as I was walking down the street in Mill Valley, I noticed a sign posted on a building that read, “Get out of Vietnam!” Up to that time, neither I nor any of my friends ever discussed politics, or world affairs, no doubt recognizing the disparity between what we heard and what we could see in the world around us, along with a feeling of being disconnected from it all. The sign about Vietnam, however, piqued my interest, and then, in listening to KPFA-FM, I heard the truth in direct broadcasts from Vietnam and from the people involved, about what was going on, of the CIA’s covert operation in Vietnam, as well as in many other places throughout the world. It was a far different story from what we were getting from the establishment-controlled mass media, and I was surprised to find the number of people who were also aware of the true story and were protesting the inhumane acts being carried out in their name as U.S. citizens. None of which, of course, was being reported in the media.

I had many passionate discussions with friends and acquaintances regarding the travesty of our involvement in Vietnam, but always found myself to be the lone protestor. It was a revelation to discover what a backwards, uninformed society I lived in. I joined the Peace and Freedom Party, but with four small children and a house to maintain, my only participation was to stand with others at the Port Chicago Weapons Depot for a day, protesting the shipment of arms to Vietnam.

One evening, Michael made a suggestion that came as such a surprise I still remember it clearly. He had just finished reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin, who was a vegetarian, and out of the blue, he suggested we eliminate meat from our diet. It’s hard to imagine now, living in California in this day and age of “natural food,” but I had never heard of such a thing as a “vegetarian.” I’d been programmed to think that the more red meat, the better, and was amazed that Michael could even consider such an idea. However, beginning with Gaylord Hauser, the health enthusiast and body-builder, and then Adele Davis, the nutritionist, I had long been health-conscious. So after the initial shock, I was more receptive when Michael later introduced me to Georges Asawa’s “macrobiotic” diet. I read Asawa’s book, and it made sense, so I agreed to take on the challenge of radically changing our diet to macrobiotics and eliminating meat.

The next step in our awakening occurred when we were coming home from an encounter group session in Berkeley, and we picked up a young man named Richard (hitch hiking was “in,” in those sharing Hippy days). Richard was leaving the Haight/Ashbury and was on his way back to his home in the Midwest. We enjoyed his company and invited him to stay with us for a few days, at which time he helped Michael build a beautiful gate for our fence.

We had been interested in the effect of smoking marijuana, so one day, Richard went to San Francisco, brought some back, and we “turned on.” It was such a revelation, and I felt like I was suddenly seeing the beauty and truth of the real world for the first time. It was as though I was awakening to something I had known as a child and had forgotten (the main reason the establishment wants to prohibit psychedelics). Michael and I didn’t really fit the roles of suburban homeowners, and with our growing awareness, we were becoming more and more discontent with the separateness lifestyle in suburbia. We discussed, with our friends, the “radical” concept of living and sharing with other families, and they all agreed that it would be the most reasonable thing to do, however, none of them were ready to take the leap and make such a commitment to change.

Following a trip to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with Michael’s family, I received a phone call from an attorney who was unaware that I had been out of town and had not heard the sad news of my mother taking her life. It was particularly shocking because my mother and I had never been close, and sadly, I had had no indication that she was in such a state of mind. She had been a very strong and independent person, but was unable to fit into the dog-eat-dog buying and selling world of duality and wage slaves and had been unable to have close, meaningful relationships. With the insurance I received from this tragedy, Michael and I were spurred on to make the total change in our lives we had been dreaming of.

About author

Del Rainer

It has been over 40 years since a group of us dropped out of the old world of duality and buying and selling for personal gain. We joined together to live as a communal family, sharing all things in common. These experiences and revelations are based on my wonderful days at the One World Family Commune.

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  1. REPLY

    John says

    This was great reading. I lived in Lahaina in 75 and loved the Cafe Paradise. The tables were set within a bunch of banana trees. All the hippies in Lahaina ate there. I still use the One World Cook Book. It was while using it that I got interested and checked out where you guys were. It was fun to read this story about the group.

  2. REPLY

    Joseph says

    Bravo! Del, you really nailed it right on the head. My honor to have shared so much of it with you, Allen Michael and everyone. What an unbelievable crew, what a life!! An abundance of creative talent and energy in revolutionary service to a new world. And what a channeling, from the EG down thru the daily details, ETI is omnipresent with us and in us.

    Thank you God, we are ever grateful. Love is service done!

  3. REPLY

    Bill Best says

    Aloha Del,
    Thanks so much for your article and especially the pictures. It was great to see the restaurants and family (where are they now?) and even my pizza poster! Please post more and keep up the good work. I would be happy to know the family listened to my daily radio show 10 to 2PM ( Maui time ) Monday thru Friday on A lot of great music (non-commercial) with a few positive ideas mixed in. On the fly with an I phone etc. download the app tunein radio. Keep it UP, Bill Best

  4. REPLY

    Nick Oliver says

    Dear Del,

    Remember me ? … brother of Chip ( black and silver ) . Early days … Berkeley, Larkspur. That aside … I read your article. Truly fabulous. You have an amazing memory, just like me. I’ll never forget your tan face and salt and pepper ponytail. I posted my email address in the required field, but I’ll post it here just in case you don’t receive it : That’s h2o, as in water, that’s an “o”, not a zero. Del, just one rule I have … nothing impersonal, like ecards or groupthink, etc…. gotta be you, and you only. If you’d like to send an email to Chip, his email is Until then, Love, Nick

  5. REPLY

    Dolores Hansen Nelson says

    I am a first cousin of Steve Wolfe, whom I believe was a member of this group. I never got to know him but would like to know more now. Anyone who would care to share stories? I know he was an accomplished musician.

  6. REPLY

    Mark Grimsley says

    My, My, What a great feeling in my heart to know that I have found something of interest in this world again. I’m intrigued to find a belief I have felt all my life but was too supressed to succeed. I hope to make this a new beginning. I am ready! Let those unknowing learn, share & develop.

  7. REPLY

    Del Rainer says

    Hi Mark, It’s always rewarding to hear from a kindred spirit. Where do you live? I’d be happy to send you an EG if you’d like.
    Happy New World,

  8. REPLY

    Cathy Cross says

    You all might remember me and my husband Christopher Cross. Our daughter Crystal was born while we were living in one of the Berkeley communal houses. I am in the picture of the family from 1973, immediately to the right of Allen Michael. I think about all you you and was glad I found this web page. Sorry to hear about Allen’s passing, but he did live til he was 92 and he certainly had a long rich life! I live in Amsterdam, Holland now with my Dutch boyfriend, but if I have a chance to visit any of you that remember me I’d love that. Please get in touch with me through my email if you’d like to reestablish a connection. Best of luck to you all!!!

  9. REPLY

    Cathy Cross says

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! Brought back so many awesome memories of those days in Berkeley, the restaurant, peoples’ park and all the wonderful times I shared with everyone in the family for the years I was with you guys! Hope you are all doing well.

  10. REPLY

    Lori Roche says

    Loved reading the history of One World Family. I lived in Hawaii in ’75, and learned airbrushing from Debbie and Michael. I lived with them in Sunset Beach on Oahu. They would take me to Maui to help work in the store. I was in Lahaina recently and looked for the location, but it has changed so much. Great memories! Hello to Debbie and Michael!

  11. REPLY

    splat says

    In reply to john.

    John, I cooked the magic mushroom eggplant parmesan at Cafe Paradise in 74 and 75 using the cookbook.

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