The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir
Diana Welch, Liz Welch, Amanda Welch, Dan Welch
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“Perfect is boring.”
Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student–together.
All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her–or let her go.
Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of unbreakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with–growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.
From the Hardcover edition.
the chocolate wafers, scraped the sweet white cream off with my teeth, and replaced it with a slice of cheese. I thought I’d discovered the best new snack and brought a plate of them into the den. Amanda teased me about how absolutely revolting it was but ate them anyway. Sitting there, surrounded by smoke and Amanda and Anna’s laughter and David Johansen singing, I was happy. Then Amanda invited me to go with her to see David Johansen play at the Ritz that weekend. The pot had been an
light blue turtleneck behind with her ghost family. DAN THE HAYESES DROVE me to Trinity Pawling the first week in January. I hated that school now more than ever. Every morning, I woke up and said to myself, “Okay, Dan, you just gotta make it through one more day.” The whole thing sucked. I felt so far away from my sisters, so totally alone. I hated being around all those rich spoiled brats. I had to serve them their fucking food as part of my scholarship. I got a certain satisfaction
never talk that way about any of my sisters. I worshipped them and the time we got to spend together. Those weekends were the basis of our relationships and the only time I was able to just be myself. Liz’s self-confidence made me feel human, and Amanda always made me feel safe. To be honest, I never thought much about Diana. I just assumed she was happy and well. I don’t think I could have handled imagining it any other way. DIANA CAMP WAS EVEN better the second time around. I was voted
“Yeah,” she said and smiled again. I picked it up and read the scrawled songs—Depeche Mode, the Psychedelic Furs, Madonna, the Go-Gos, David Johansen. “She made me the same one!” I said. “My favorite song is ‘Borderline,’” Diana said. She was now walking toward me. “What’s yours?” That was a tough question. I liked them all. They represented the sound track of my teenage years. “Probably, ‘We’ve Got to Get out of This Place,’” I said. Diana smiled again. She was starting to loosen up. I
in the same pleasant tone. “I was on the phone with your Aunt Barbara!” With those words, things started to fall into place. My mom had locked the door to keep me out so that I wouldn’t get to talk to Aunt Barbara. Why else would she have locked the door while she was home? Over spring break, Amanda had backed up Liz’s version of reality, the one in which she and Liz had wanted, even tried, to come see me the whole time I had been here. Amanda said that this lady I was calling “mom” wouldn’t let