Mr. Clean

Boyd Joslyn

Photo By Tom Angel

If you drive through the intersection of Manzanita and Mariposa avenues, near the Lindo Channel, chances are good that you’ll see Boyd Joslyn there, sweeping up trash and leaves. His little red truck, with its sign reading “Chico loves clean streets,” will be parked nearby. For nearly 40 years, Joslyn has been voluntarily cleaning local streets and roads, simply because he likes doing it. Otherwise, he’s a real-estate agent who runs a solo operation out of his Manzanita Avenue home. A native of Iowa, he came to Chico 49 years ago to be a milkman, switching to real estate 14 years later.

What brought you to Chico?

I was working for Carnation. They said, “Pick any town in Northern California.” I looked around and chose Chico. It was the prettiest little city—still is the nicest town I know.

You’ve been doing real estate for a long time. You must have a good client list by now.

Yeah, most of my business is old-client referrals. I’ve got enough business. If I got any more, I’d get too many calls, and then I wouldn’t have time to do any sweeping [laughs].

When did you start sweeping?

I’ve been doing it since my boys were little. They’re 40 [Joel] and 39 [John] now. We used to get up at night when it was raining and clean out [street] drain gutters. Or I’d take them and some friends up Highway 32 and pick up trash and recyclables. We paid for some Giants games, some camping trips, that way. I can’t stand to see broken bottles on the street. I still stop to pick them up.

How do you decide where to do it?

I have some pet areas. The biggest is right around here where I live, along Manzanita between the Mariposa and Floral avenue bridges and around the bridges. I also mow the grass along the channel. Another area is on East Washington, around my church, First Christian. I also do the intersection of East First Avenue and Mangrove, where I used to have an office, and around the Cozy Diner. I have breakfast there twice a week, with my Fellowship Group.

How much time to you spend sweeping?

An hour or two each day.

Why do you do it?

I do it to make the city look better. It’s also a great way to just say hello to people. They stop and say hi. Of course, most of them think I’m crazy, too.