Interview by Natalia Castle-Gosch

James Taylor

Natalia Castle-Gosch: How long have you been living in Decatur?
James Taylor: I have lived in Decatur for 89 years. I was born and raised here with my family. But I was in the Navy for two years, and I lived in Omaha at that time.

Why did you decide to not leave Decatur and go and live somewhere else?
This is where my folks lived and they were all here. I’ve worked on other jobs, but my home has always been here. Decatur has always been “home” to me. That is where all of my friends live, and all of my memories began and will end.

Will you tell me a little bit about your family?
My father was a farmer, and he also worked for the city. He was a busy man. My mother was a housewife and she raised the children, along with cleaning the house and doing work indoors. She was great with the children and she enjoyed doing what she did. Also I guess I should tell you a little about my brothers and sisters. I actually had eleven brothers and sisters. My mother raised us all. We definitely were a handful, but we helped her out as much as we could.

Tell me a little bit about your family.
With my first wife I ended up having two children, Michael and Gloria. My second wife and I had one child named Richard. I am very close with all of my children. They come down to visit as often as they can, which I know they can’t come down all the time because they have families of their own that they have to tend to. But I am very grateful for them being in my life and taking care of me when I need there help.

What did you have to do in the Navy?
I had to load and unload ships in Pearl Harbor. I also went to the South Pacific and stopped and picked up salvage such as old car parts and jeeps. I stopped at Milne Bay New Guinea. I was only doing this for 2 years of my life. I decided to go to the Navy because my friend was going and he wanted me to come along with him. I went halfway through my senior year at school and then dropped out. I didn’t regret leaving school because I was happy to be in the Navy. The Navy transferred me to the U.S. C.B.

What was one thing that you wish you would have done, but you didn’t do?
I should have stayed in the Navy and ended up retiring from there. Instead of doing so I started working on heavy equipment on the roads and I just continued to do that until I retired. I enjoyed it, but I think that I would have enjoyed being in the Navy for a longer amount of time and retiring from there.

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