All posts tagged: long stretches of time

The Atlantic’s October Cover: “Jenisha From Kentucky”

The Atlantic’s October Cover: “Jenisha From Kentucky”

Artist Didier Viodé illustrates Watts for the magazine’s cover September 13, 2023, 8:07 AM ET After growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, Jenisha Watts came to New York City as a young journalist determined to make sure that no one would ever know her past. But Watts, a senior editor at The Atlantic, now writes with remarkable candor about the heartrending circumstances of her life for the first time in the cover story of The Atlantic’s October issue. In “Jenisha From Kentucky,” Watts details what it was like to grow up in a crack house in Lexington, and how she survived it. As a young child, Watts became a de facto parent to her four younger siblings; the children routinely witnessed crack use by their mother, Trina, as well as by neighbors and strangers. “Sometimes the cops would come, four or five at a time. My siblings and I would lie in bed as they walked through our dark apartment with flashlights, their staticky walkie-talkies impossible to understand. In the morning we’d see that they’d trashed …

How Prayer Helped Me Make Sense of My Father’s Failures

How Prayer Helped Me Make Sense of My Father’s Failures

My father and mother met in the winter of 1976. I’ve seen photos. There they are, looking as young and untroubled as any two high-school students on a Friday-night date. Not yet parents, not yet weighed down with the responsibility of caring for four children, both are smiling, my father standing behind my mother, who sits on a stool with her head nestled into his chest. My parents were introduced by my father’s cousin Larry, whose easy smile and welcoming personality marked him as a charmer. Larry and my mom attended school at J. O. Johnson High in Huntsville, Alabama, where he was two years ahead of her. Intrigued by the sly older boy, my mother dated him, but after the second outing, she opted to let him down easy by introducing him to her friend Wanda. Larry, in turn, suggested that my mother meet his cousin Esau, who went to school out in the country, at Gurley High. Dorothy Gallagher: My father’s house On that first date, my mother was instantly drawn to my …