The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #130: My Dad Was My First Oprah

Writer Ashley C. Ford grew up with her dad in prison. She didn’t know why he was there; she just knew that he’d been there since she was a baby.

Ashley visited her dad a total of four times over 30 years. He’d call when he earned enough money. And he sent her letters… dozens of letters. (Ashley’s holding a drawing her dad made of her and her brother with a letter on the back in the featured image above).

In the letters, Ashley’s dad was poetic. He told her about his hopes and dreams. He showered her with praise. Told her how special she was. He seemed to get her in a deeper way than anyone Ashley’s real life. And as a result, she idealized him.

But then, when she turned fourteen, she decided it was time to know the truth about his crime. Suddenly, he didn’t seem so perfect anymore.

Tune in to hear Ashley’s story of getting to know her dad… and letting him get to know her.

More Ashley
Ashley is incredibly brave in her personal writing. Here are some of our favorite essays she’s written.

My Father Spent 30 Years in Prison. Now He’s Out. via Refinery29, where Ashley is a senior features writer

Swimming In The Ocean For The First Time At 28 via Lenny Letter

The Year I Grew Wildly While Men Looked On via Buzzfeed

Ashley is currently working on a memoir. We’ll let you know when it’s released!

Have YOU ever been separated from a parent?
How did it change your relationship? Tell us. In the comments.

Image Credits: Ashley holding her dad’s drawing: Julia Gorbach

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