People, Timmerman West

“It’s almost like a circus coming to Milwaukee”

On the corner of 107th and Silver Spring, 26-year-old James Taylor stands holding a bag of his belongings, waiting for the bus after a long day of work. His wavy, russet afro blows with the occasional wind gust, his eyes periodically glancing in the direction where the bus will pull up to take him home.

“If I can stand in the house and don’t get paid, I’d rather stand in a restaurant or a business and get money,” says Taylor.

For the past two and a half years, he’s been keeping his schedule full working at both McDonald’s and Denny’s. When he’s not working he likes to travel without a particular destination.

“I like to go around … and look at the different sides of the city,” James says. “Take a lil’ time to ride around … just to see where I grew up at.”

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Taylor grew up on Silver Spring and although he was with his mother and father for a while, there came a time when they were no longer able to care for him and his siblings.

“My mom was on drugs and lost us,” James says. “Everybody seemed to be on drugs back in the 80’s and 90’s.”

With his mother battling the addiction and his father off serving a term in the Army, he and his siblings were taken in by the foster care system. Over time, however, they found their way back to each other.

“We are reunited,” he says with a slight smile.

Taylor sees himself moving to Muncie, Indiana, where he says it’s “cheaper and quieter”. He has plans to move in with a friend he met in Job Corps. But he’s having a hard time leaving.

“I decided to come back out here to Milwaukee where my family is, just to see what’s going on,” he says. “I’m having a change of heart.”

“I don’t know what it is about being here …”

Mid-sentence the city bus pulls up; its engine sighs as it stops. No one exits and only James boards the almost-empty route 63. Once aboard, it revs back up and slowly rolls down Silver Spring Drive disappearing into the fading sunset.⬩

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