Regardless of weather or insanity, the Walls Family was no stranger to relocating. They endured difficult times, with Jeannette Walls experiencing varied life experiences. She held onto the belief that her father, Rex Walls, would temporarily move them to different places, with the promise of eventually constructing “The Glass Castle” for their family. However, their constant moving resulted in an unstable home life, frequent school changes, and the loss of their belongings.
Because of the unstable home life of the Walls family, they lived in rundown buildings that were dangerous to their well-being. In one situation, they resided in a house next to a mining post where they slept on cardboard boxes. This dwelling was also home to various animals like stray dogs, flies, cats, nonpoisonous snakes, lizards, and tortoises which all posed a risk to the safety of any children living there. Surprisingly, Jeannette’s parents didn’t seem to mind having these animals around. After Battle Mountain, they then moved to Phoenix and settled into their grandmother Smith’s termite and cockroach-infested house.
Rex and Mary Walls left their front door and back door open, as well as all the windows due to the absence of air conditioning. Consequently, homeless individuals and intoxicated individuals would enter their house at any time during the night. In her book, Jeannette also recounts an incident where someone intruded into their dwelling and violated her. Despite this occurrence, her parents never saw fit to lock the doors, a decision which I find utterly absurd.
When the family relocated to Welch, they found themselves in a place devoid of modern amenities such as a refrigerator, central heating, or an air conditioning system. The house lacked proper sanitation facilities, running water, and electricity. Additionally, the kitchen was outfitted with hazardous wiring, which posed a danger to the children. To exacerbate matters, one corner of the kitchen ceiling would leak whenever it rained until it eventually burst.
Due to the Walls family frequently relocating, they had to switch schools often and didn’t have many friends. In Battle Mountain, they attended Mary S. Black Elementary School, where they interacted with their classmates, but Jeannette didn’t really consider them as friends. In Phoenix, their school was Emerson, where they had an orange tree in their backyard and a Banana tree on the school premises. Jeannette and her family were well-liked by the kids in Phoenix because she was exceptionally intelligent and consistently answered questions before anyone else. Her teachers also viewed her as a special student due to her advanced intelligence for her age. When the Walls family moved to Welch, they enrolled at Welch Elementary. However, they felt like outsiders at this school, especially Jeannette who faced bullying on her very first day. Their living conditions were poor, as they resided in a dump, and the school in Welch lacked amenities such as play sets, friendly teachers, and even a banana tree.
In their journey to different cities and towns, the Walls family experienced numerous losses and struggled to make ends meet. Before leaving the trailer parks, Rex discarded their cat Quixote by throwing it out of the car, and Jeanette had to leave behind her tinker bell doll. When they relocated to Battle Mountain, she was once again forced to part ways with her rock collection. In Phoenix, the family only left due to their father’s worsening drinking habits, and they also lost their Grandmother Smith before departing from there as well. Due to Rex’s continued alcoholism, Rose Mary made the decision to move the family to Welch. In this move, Jeannette had to part with her bike, great school, and orange tree. Consequently, the Walls family relocated to Welch to live with their Grandmother Erma, as Rex’s family also left because Welch was not as peaceful as they had hoped.
The Walls family endured an unsettled domestic situation as they often moved due to their father’s unfulfilled promises, gambling addiction, and excessive spending on alcohol. Their living conditions were appalling, with deteriorated houses infested with termites and lacking necessary facilities like water, electricity, and toilets. Additionally, the frequent changes of schools led to a lack of friendships and the loss of personal belongings such as bikes and Jeannette’s rock collection as well as their grandmothers’. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, the family managed to withstand and persist.