All posts tagged: Money

“I’ve been in and out of jail since I was 13”

Pookie (pseudonym) walks briskly down W. Chambers St. at the south end of Clinton Rose Park as the sun begins to set on Juneteenth Day. A gaggle of Milwaukee police turn down a nearby alleyway but Pookie walks on, un-phased. “Born and raised here, right here on the east side,” he says. “I didn’t have no momma — momma was a crackhead — so, you know what I’m sayin’, I sold drugs.”

“The best job I had was the military”

Christopher Lee looks out on a cold, rainy day from the top step of the Dryhootch cafe on West National Avenue. Lee, who’s missing his three front teeth and has a bloodshot eye, holds a white cup in his right hand; the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, 5000 W. National Ave., sprawls behind him. “I joined the military comin’ out of Bay View high School back in ‘89 and, uh, I was still in high school,” Christopher says. “I’m just hangin’ out — they’ve got weekend hours, which is good. Right now, I am currently homeless — been that way for a little while, technically. But, for the most part, everything is halfway good.”

“It’s a little bigger than us”

Leon Douglas leans on a car in the parking lot of a McDonald’s on 35th and Juneau. Douglas, who’s homeless and had been canvassing the outside of the establishment hoping for some charity, scarfs down a cheeseburger, with one still waiting in the bag; an order of fries and a large Sprite sit on the sidelines. “You had to learn the hard way,” says Douglas, who grew up without a father near 35th and Center. “All I seen was pimps, prostitutes, whores, things of that nature; nothing productive, nothing that offered me any real insight as to what the future might bring, as far as goals.”

“This is where my roots are”

Norma Wheeler sits on the front port of her home in Williamsburg Heights. Wheeler raised all of her children in the house, located on a one-way strip of 2nd Street, where she’s lived for more than 50 years. “I’ve been livin’ in Milwaukee all of my adult life. I raised all of my kids here, in this particular house, and I get along with my neighbors pretty good,” she says.