Remembering David M. Taylor

An early memory of my younger brother is David chasing my cousin and I down the street. That wasn’t unusual in itself, he always wanted to hang with the big boys. My cousin and I were home for lunch during our second grade class. What separates this chase from others is that David was naked from the waste down. My cousin and I may have been teasing him while he was taking care of business, chanting “Stink Bomb Harry”. David was an action man from the start and jumped off the throne to chase us, no pants and all.
David was a loyal brother who would do anything to help me. Like the time I was involved in a fight with a neighborhood kid. The kid and I were flailing away when from the left there came a blur propelling itself toward the kid’s legs bowling him over. It was David. He decided I was losing the fight and needed his help. Everybody but me was laughing so hard the fight was forgotten.
We lived in a small village in Western New York and grew up in the sixties. In that small town the sixties were pretty much like the fifties. Kids could be kids. We avoided adults like the plague. The best adult was neither seen nor heard. David and I did not have a father around, so we stuck together.
When Dave was in his late teens he began to experience mental problems. He had a break down and was treated with electro-shock therapy, which might qualify as torture under the rules of our latest political sages.
We found him asleep on our back porch or he would be hallucinating that the CIA and FBI were following him. I asked what made him so important to have this kind of surveillance. David couldn’t say but it seemed reasonable to him.
With the onset of his illness, he was a different person, not the brother and friend I had known.
His wife came home one day to find everything(lamps, chairs, couch, table) from their living room on the front yard. It was arranged exactly as it had been in the house. Why did he do it she asked. Looked better out there. We were all happy that he did it during the summer.
Over the years, David’s illness worsened and he spent time in an asylum. To control him the staff doped him with Thorazine. We worked to get him out of there into an outpatient facility. He then had a period of respite and managed to graduate from college with a business degree. He had amazing energy and optimism.
His life was a crazy quilt of a strange Christian sect that did not associate with non-believers except when members needed money, remarriage, and a move to Houston, Texas. Through all of this he took his medicine, he didn’t take his medicine and his illness waned and waxed with each behavior.
After his second wife died in a horrific traffic accident, he lost everything and we lost David. He was somewhere in Houston but we could not find him.

On August 13, 2007 a Houston hospital emergency room called to tell me that David Taylor had collapsed and died on his way to a day labor office. Was I David’s brother? Yes.

When I met the staff of the Houston day labor office, I learned that David was a kind and generous client. He always had a word of encouragement for the staff and his sense of humor was well known among the staff and other laborers.

For those wishing to know, David was schizophrenic, paranoid, and bi-polar. He was fifty five years old when he collapsed and died.
But for me, my brother was a tow headed kid who defended me at the drop of a hat, the kid who wanted to be around me all the time, and he was Stink Bomb Harry.

Rest in peace, my brother.


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2 Responses to “Remembering David M. Taylor”

  1. Michele Heine Says:

    A great memorial to your brother. I’m sorry for your loss.

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