A man stands under a beating sun to shine shoes in an attempt to provide a stable home for his daughter, another rides around town in search of those in need of a warm meal, an English teacher worries for her students as they prepare to enter a world plagued by a pandemic. These are just some of the stories you might come across when exploring the San Luis Obispo downtown area. The following stories are about and from the lives of those we might pass on the street every day in downtown San Luis Obispo.
On Fridays, reporter Marcus Cocova explored downtown San Luis Obispo to see who he would meet. Mustang News released a series of stories about the locals he met on Fridays.
Through the haze of cloudy cigar and pipe smoke at San Luis Obispo’s Sanctuary Tobacco shop, visitors might find owner Doug Shaw. “The Sanctuary,” as shop regulars call it, is home to a variety of groups. Many of them are military veterans who are willing to share their thoughts with listeners about the recent storming of the United States Capitol.
Under the garden green canopy of Linnaea’s Café, Angi Mullery sipped her morning coffee while waiting on an oil change at a nearby automotive shop. With a family background in medicine, Mullery says being drawn to kinesiology comes naturally. She shares with listeners that her concern grows for her grandchildren’s well-being in a world with COVID-19.
Adrian Spears spends nearly eight hours a day shining shoes to earn enough money to provide himself with the makings of a home. This sharp dresser took up shoe-shining after spending time behind prison bars. He says his daughter Calypso, who is currently in foster care, is now his highest priority.
With its doors wide open and ready to offer refuge, Andrew Anderson’s green VW van is often made available to those in need. Anderson’s vehicle is outfitted to be better suited for the aims of his non-profit Brothers & Mothers. The organization seeks to feed, clothe, and provide company to homeless members of the San Luis Obispo community. In this interview, Anderson is joined by Carol Barnes, a retired piano teacher, and Analise Sabbag, a Cal Poly statistics professor.
Months after leaving the United States Air Force, Isaiah Robinson could not wait to be more involved in making music. He quit his job and traveled to California to visit and collaborate with Cal Poly musicians he had met over Instagram. Along with Isaiah come his supporters, Alanzo Robinson, his younger brother, and Kaylani Williams, Isaiah’s girlfriend. The three met downtown with Trane Hulbert, a San Luis Obispo drummer, serendipitously.
The transition into college from high school can be abrupt and unsettling. Alvin Tran and Tiffany Zhu rely on each other as partners as they navigate these new times in their lives. The two share with listeners how college is currently unfolding and revisit memories of how they met as they unwind across an evening in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Among the many titles that line the walls of San Luis Obispo’s Phoenix Books, bookworm Danica Wassmann searches for her next read. Wassmann, a high school English teacher, says her passion for reading and teaching began when she was a student. She says that in a world run rampant with COVID-19, today’s students and teachers alike are missing out on some of the most important high school experiences.
The new cannot quite perfectly replace the old. This is at least the case for Dara Rosenwasser and her cameras. The former Cal Poly educator says when it comes to photography she has a passion for alternative processes, elements of photography that might seem to have left with the analog age. Rosenwasser and her fellow photo enthusiasts work to keep these aspects of analog alive.