All posts tagged: N. 40th St.

“We did what we had to do”

Lonnie Hughes stand just off the curb in front of his home in Sherman Park. He talks with a friend as he leans on the handle of a broom, his right hand covered by a tattered work glove. “When I moved to this neighborhood, it was a fantastic—well, it’s still a great neighborhood,” he says. “People agree, neighbors get along great.”

“I’ve had a rough life”

Lorne Payne sits on a porch in Sherman Park, surrounded by his children. Payne attempts a smile but it’s more a look of fear that comes through — the pain in his eyes is the only thing that’s clear. “My kids keep me alive,” he says. “I love on my kids, make sure they’re happy. I [can] be sad as hell [as] long as my kids happy.”

“We’re all god’s children”

Ed swaggers up a nondescript, but busy block of North 40th Street. He pulls a tallboy can of beer from a light-colored jacket and puts the drink to his lips. “I was spoiled most of my life. But, um, bein’ out in the world has a way of, you know, you have a way ‘a gettin’ over that,” he says. “Just, you know, meetin’ people on your path — you know what I mean? Doin’ what your mom and dad didn’t raise you to do, you know, but … I mean, you learn.”

“We got by”

Deirek Smith pushes a tattered stroller down West Lancaster Avenue on a sunny spring day in Old North Milwaukee. The stroller is filled to capacity with a mound of scrap metal — mostly an air conditioner he had the fortune of coming across. Smith, 57, walks with a leisurely gait toward a scrap yard on Mill Road. “I was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I been here since 1964. And, my life took some real [turns], after one lady I was with for, what, 20 years, she died of cancer. And, then, after her, I met another lady and she died of cancer after 8 years,” he says. “So, I’ve been just doin’ this.”