Don't Let Go
Written by Vicki
My latest story is an essay written
by Owen Salinger. It's set in the year 2010. Owen is 17 years old and a
senior at Grant High School. In it Owen writes
about his life since his parents' deaths.
DON'T LET GO
by Owen Salinger
What can I say about my life? It hasn't been an easy seventeen years, but
I've managed to survive thanks to my family.
It all started on March 22nd 1994. That's when my parents, Nick and Diana
Salinger, died. They were killed a car crash by a drunk driver-Walter
Alcott-on the corner of Van Ness and California. My siblings explained the
whole thing to me when I was old enough to understand, and I still haven't
forgotten the details about that fatal night.
Anyway, I was 5 months old when they died. I'm still a bit bitter about the
whole thing because, unlike my siblings, I have never gotten to know my
parents. All I heard were stories and saw photographs (I'm still in awe
about how much both my sisters really look like my mother.) My parents
sounded like very good and real and honest people. They had their problems
and their own obstacles to face, of course. For example, my grandfather Jake
left my mother when she was only 11 years old. My father also had his own
problems: he was an alcoholic and had a huge temper.
My parents managed to get past those problems, though. My dad quit drinking
and made himself better. For my mother and for my eldest brother Charlie.
After that, they were the happiest couple ever and made a good life for
Charlie and for the rest of us.
Charlie. I've got to say, he's my role model. A huge influence in my life.
He was like a father to me since my parents died. He really grew up from the
moment they were gone. From what I hear, he was an irresponsible, immature,
philandering 24-year-old. But he shaped up. He dropped everything and took
care of us. He didn't want to at first, but he had to do what he had to do.
Charlie didn't hate taking care of us. He grew to love it. It changed him so
much and made him the responsible and loving man he is today. And when his
girlfriend Daphne gave birth to my niece Diana twelve years ago, it
completely changed him.
He finally has his own life. I don't hate him for that; for leaving. He
deserves it. He deserves what he wants do with his life. He and his wife
(his long-time love, Kirsten) now live in Chicago with Diana, who is now
twelve years old; and Joshua, their own 10-year-old. Kirsten thought she could
never have kids, but through advances in medical research, she managed to
give birth to Joshua. Their miracle child; and they also have Michael, the
4-year-old they adopted.
Charlie's an architect in Chicago. Something he always loved doing. Kirsten
is a kindergarden teacher. She loves kids and this job is so perfect for
her. I'm real happy for the both of them.
I live in the house we grew up in, with my brother Bailey and his wife
Sarah. They were high school sweethearts and had some rocky times throughout
their relationship: Bailey was an alcoholic (like my father), he cheated on
her, and hurt her in many ways. Never physically, of course. Bailey would
never do that.
They broke up a few times. The worst was when Sarah moved to New York City
to look for her birth father (she's adopted.) Bailey and Saarh were having
their problems and the separation was hard. But their relationship stood the
test of time: she was away for three years, found her father, and returned
home to Bailey. I'm glad she came back because she and Bailey really love
each other. A little too much: all they do is make out and kiss and call
each other pet names! Jeez, it's as if they weren't married with children
(Twins Nicholas and Robin, ages 6.)
Bailey still owns Salingers', the family restaurant. I'm glad he kept it
going. When Charlie nearly sold it, Bailey took a stand and got it all to
himself. I'm happy it's still in the family. Sarah's a big-shot lawyer.
Which is great, if ever I get into trouble and need defending. Just kidding!
I'm a good guy.
Now, my sister Julia. She still lives in San Francisco, but is never around
much. She's one busy 31-year-old! She's currently on a book tour plugging
her 5th book. She loves writing; always has and always will. We always used
to make jokes about how we were related to J.D. Salinger and that that's
where Julia got her writing talent from.
We see her husband Justin around, though. He stops by the house every once
in awhile. He's a journalist for the San Francisco Inquirer. It took Julia
and Justin a long time to get together. After Julia's miscarriage at the age
of sixteen with his child, their relationship slowly fell apart. They
remained the best of friends, though. Even during her marriage with Griffin
and her abusive relationship with Ned, he was there for her. When he
returned from Yale, their platonic relationship blossomed into something
My sister (and best friend) Claudia is in New York City. She attended
Columbia University and then to New York's Conservatory of Music, where she
perfected her violin skills. She is now playing with the New York Symphony
Orchestra. We all visited her last year and heard her perform. She was
Everyone is so proud of her. She had a hard time growing up with all the
problems she's been part of. She grew up too fast. But she is a mature,
smart and levelheaded girl. I love her and admire her. Claudia may be 27,
but she's not married yet. She does have a serious boyfriend named James,
but she's not ready to tie the knot. She's too busy.
Since this is my essay, I suppose I should talk about myself. I'm a senior
in high school and I'm hoping to attend Harvard in the fall to become a
doctor. I remember visiting Charlie in the hospital when he had cancer. I
was young, but I remember him in so much pain. He always put on a brave face
for me. I'd love to help people the wat Dr. Rabin helped Charlie.
Even though us Salingers are scattered all around the country, we still keep
in touch. Everyone comes back home for holidays and birthdays. We get
together at the house and have our family dinners at the restaurant. That's
something we've always done. We'll never let go of that and we'll never let
go of each othe. That's what we learned from the moment mom and dad died. To
never let go and to stick together. That's what we've been doing for almost
seventeen years now, and that's what made us the close-knit family that we
I love how we all hung on to things that are important to us: Bailey never
let go of the restaurant, Charlie never let go of architecture, Julia never
let go of writing, and Claudia never let go of the violin. Nobody let go of
their loves either; Bailey and Sarah, Charlie and Kirsten, and Julia and
I'll never let go of someone I love either. Her name is Joanna. We've been
dating for a year now, and I love her so much. I'll always remember
something Charlie said. It was the speech he gave the day of his wedding to
Kirsten: "When you find someone that you love, you grab onto them with both
hands and you don't even think about letting go."
I took those words to heart. I may have been five years old then, but I
understood. I love Joanna and that won't change. We may be together forever
and maybe not. That's the way life is: you never know. But even if she
leaves someday, I'll love her forever and I'll never let go of that.
We'll never let go.