Charlie Stackhouse Jr

Basking in the sun on a quiet afternoon, Charlie Stackhouse, Jr., was enjoying a break after washing windows at Serendipity Cards & Gifts at 803 Valencia St.

He was thinking about getting some M&Ms, but he couldn’t quite remember which are his favorite. “You know, the ones in the yellow package,” he says. “But, I got a taste for any kind of candy.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stackhouse moved to San Francisco in 1989. He found work as a day laborer and savored the variety. 

“It was all different work,” he said, from painting to shipping and even building cabinets for the Bank of America. He found time to sell the San Francisco Chronicle on commission, too.

Although he lives in the Tenderloin, he won’t commit to a favorite neighborhood. He enjoys the Mission, he said, because “people are friendly, and I like to see the independent businesses around.” 

He also likes to go to Berkeley and Santa Barbara for the college town atmosphere and beach, but he said he’s been keeping to himself lately.

Earlier this year, Charlie Stackhouse Jr. reflected on George Floyd’s death and police violence. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Ever the optimist, Stackhose shrugs his shoulders about the Covid-19 pandemic. “I’ve been handling it, doing what I am supposed to do … You know, rolling with the punches.”

He says optimism can be defined in a lot of ways, and his decisions to get up and move, travel, and work with his hands are a reflection of that.

It’s an attitude that brought him to San Francisco over three decades ago. 

“It’s just what I wanted to do.” And he did it.

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"Annie" is originally from Nebraska, where she found her calling to journalism as editor of her high school newsletter. Before returning to the field, she studied peace and political science in the Balkans, taught elementary and middle school, and worked as an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow her on Twitter @anlancheney.

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