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.”
Marilyn Radke sweeps already-cut grass into piles that litter the street in front of the place she’s called home for more than 50 years. But she didn’t grow up in Graceland. “No, no, this was probably all farmland,” says Radke. She spent most of her childhood, until she was 15, in a small flat near 27th & Lisbon.