Photo by Betty Marquez

William Stevens likes to take it easy.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Stevens was perched on the steps of a home in front of Garfield Park. He was switching between an AARP magazine, a King Cobra can, and a pamphlet from the local city college.

“I wanna go back to the city college to study computers and Spanish,” he said.

After years working as a street cleaner in San Francisco, he’s enjoying his life as an 81-year-old retired man living on Folsom in the Mission.

Mondays, Thursdays, and the weekend, he said, are his resting days. On Tuesdays he volunteers at a food bank in Sunnydale, on Wednesdays he does yoga, and Fridays are for acupuncture.

Born in Alabama, he was brought to San Francisco by his brother when he was 18 years old. He didn’t return home to Montgomery until this past Thanksgiving.

“It’s a historical town, but I didn’t know anyone anymore,” Stevens said. Everyone was either deceased or had moved away.

While in town, he said he attended an Alabama State University football game, but left during half-time because his wife and niece were feeling cold. When asked if he would return soon to Alabama to watch a full game, he said: “I got other things to do.”

That includes going to Jamaica to watch his brother’s grandchild who, he said, is a competitive skateboarder. After that, he’s saving up to go to the 2020 Olympics.

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