JT McKenna grew up keeping a skeptical eye on the maximum security prison that sprawled just down the hill from her family’s little cape-style home on Titicut Hill in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Her other immediate neighbors were the much more docile residents of the Great Woods Cemetery, which sat just on the other side of the property’s southern lot line, delineated by a low New England stone wall. While the graveyard provided fascinating early reading opportunities, the prison’s nearness made for an anxious childhood. Being the middle child of seven, she has always maintained the role of peace-keeper, and prioritizes family above all else.
For someone for whom writing has been a passion, the question should be asked as to why JT didn’t pursue a related career, but instead earned a masters degree in curriculum and instruction, and became a public high school teacher. “I’m a slow reader,” she meekly explains. The trauma of the third grade SRA reading series was never fully resolved, causing her to eschew a bachelor’s program that might involve a substantial amount of reading. Writing, however, never ceased to bring her great pleasure.
For ten years, JT maintained a blog featuring her personal essays — http://scoscheofclass.blogspot.com; topics ranged broadly from episodes from the classroom, local history, canine shenanigans, politics, and family history. She entertained a small but loyal following. Now in retirement, JT is able to concentrate on her writing, with the hope of reaching a wider audience.