Weep for us. The Senate just passed CISA.

In years past i mentioned on a number of occasions my knife sharpener, Jivano, but somehow never got around to telling about how Sam Mogannam, the entrepreneurial genius behind Bi-Rite Market bought the building housing Jivano’s knife sharpening shop and his tiny apartment behind the shop and squeezed Jivano out in 2012.  Jivano worked out an arrangement with Katy at ABC Locksmith a couple of blocks down the street in which you could drop your knives off at her place and pick them up sharpened the next day, but not enough of his loyal customers were loyal enough to put up with the inconvenience, and he couldn’t cover rent for a cheap room to live in.

So he ended up living in a camper near Middletown and supporting himself with pick up work.  And then things got rough, as revealed in a New York Times article! last month that was clipped and sent me by my friend Bob.  I was shocked and horrified to learn that Jivano’d been burned out and escaped with literally the shirt on his back, so i started digging around.  At some point in the past he’d let his website die, and i had neither phone number nor email address for him, nor could i find anything on the Internet other than the Times article.  I tried contacting the Red Cross, thinking they might have a database of fire victims, but they were no help.  Finally i just wrote a letter to him with the address “Middletown CA 95461” and on the envelope added a plea to the postmaster requesting that he provide the rest of the address, guessing that Jivano was listed in Middletown.

It worked.  Got a call from him last night and learned some details.  Like that as the flames rushed closer his car wouldn’t start, but that blessedly a neighbor’s beat up, unregistered old truck would and that he used that truck to just barely escape with his life.  Unfortunately, he injured himself in the escape and is now crashing with various friends as he recovers from a damaged rotator cuff.

So yes, he’s alive, but the shoulder problem limits the work he can do while it resolves, and of course he doesn’t have the money to pay for medical intervention.  The car and the camper, with everything he owned in it, are reduced to ashes and melted blobs of metal.

I just mailed him a little donation, using his legal name (mentioned in the Times article above, Jivano being his business name), and i’m hoping that some of my readers who remember him might also chip in.  Picture yourself standing, injured, in the uninsured ruins of your home.


William Slack

PO Box 805

Middletown  CA 95461


Meanwhile, a Water Street art shot.

Water Street


Note:  I have always put into my text links to other sites that provide either substantiation of a statement i’ve made or just additional information.  I’ve now started a new convention of inserting an exclamation point (!) at the end of links that provide information critical to understanding or otherwise of especial importance. Case in point:  the exclamation point at the end of the link in the second paragraph above.

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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 30 October 2015 at 13:13 | Permalink

    Good sleuthing, Matte. Don’t know him, but on your recommendation, my check will be in the mail. Does he know you as Matte or not?

    • Posted 30 October 2015 at 14:21 | Permalink

      Thanks, David. He’s a nice guy. He had that shop on 18th Street just a couple of doors east of Bi-Rite Creamery for something like 30 years and lived in a tiny apartment behind it, but there’s no room in SF for a little knife sharpening shop anymore. Gentrification.

    • Posted 30 October 2015 at 14:25 | Permalink

      And i started getting my knives sharpened by him over twenty years ago, back when i was calling myself Louis.

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