The past belongs to everyone who was there. What do you remember? ADD YOUR STORY
Seven months after our mom died, Liz boarded a plane to Oslo, Norway to live with Hege and Peter Anker as their nanny. This is their story:
“It started with Montgomery calling Peter sometime in 1986. He told us about the tragic history of the four children in Bedford who had lost both their parents. Montgomery and Daisy had accepted to become legal guardians of one of them, the young girl of seventeen called Liz. Having been friends with the Stewarts for many years we where happy to say yes when asked to host her stay in Norway for a few month. They thought a new scene would be good for Liz.”
Mandy and Diana went to Rippowam Cisqua together. They weren’t particularly friends, but their proximity made an impact on each of them, unbeknownst to the other. Among other things, Diana remembers Mandy as that girl who was cool enough, as a sixth grader, to sleep in class like a teenager. Mandy remembers Diana this way:
“After I read this book I was talking to my sister about it. I asked her if she remembered Diana. She didn’t quite know what I was talking about and said she couldn’t really remember. All of a sudden she looked up from the magazine she was reading and said ‘You mean this book?’ and I realized she was staring at a full page book summary describing exactly what I was talking about. She kept reading, and realized she did know the story. She said surprised, ‘I have heard this story my whole life.’ I said ‘I know, but everything we heard about it was wrong. You have to read the book.’
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Liz met Natasha during her junior year in Scotland. While the two at first eschewed one another–two American girls only wanting to make British friends–they could not help but become friends by the end of the year. Natasha’s memories of their mad cap road trip through the English countryside explain why:
Sue Corbett was the president of our mom’s fan club, Ann & Company. This is her story.
“I grew up loving Soap Operas and first became aware of Ann Williams when she was on The Doctors. I wrote her a fan letter in the late 60’s and she sent me a reply along with a beautiful photo of her with a horse. I asked Ann if I could start a fan club for her and that’s where it all began.” Read more →
Lucy Smith was a friend of Liz’s in middle and high school. Liz passed along a lot of her jobs to Lucy, including her babysitting gig at the Chamberlains, and the girls were roommates during Liz’s summer in France right before our mom died. Though she understands why the Welches have such a tortured relationship with their home town, Lucy thinks that Bedford was given a raw deal. This is Lucy’s story.
“I have many great memories of our friendship in high school … in particular I remember spending a day at your house (your beautiful pale grey-blue house with the matching grey-blue Mercedes) when we went blueberry picking and made pies all by ourselves! And, of course, I recall our summer in Angers, going to Paris on Bastille Day, organizing and hosting a party for our friend Lisa’s birthday and breaking the washing machine belonging to the old woman we lived with. That summer when your mom was so sick … I have a photo album of you smiling like the rest of us carefree high school students, and a scrap book full of notes you wrote me, each ending in ‘Love, Liz’ with a huge smiley face. You really did put on a happy face, perhaps better than any actress could have.” Read more →
One the main reasons we knew our mom was famous was because she had a fan club, and she was as dedicated to them as they were to her, corresponding with them religiously and even inviting members over to our house. Delores Torrence was one of those members. This is her story:
“I began being a big fan of your mother’s during her Dr. Maggie Fielding days in the Sixties. I followed her career and life from then on, and was beyond thrilled the first time I met her in ‘real life.'”
Susanne Sanchez (then Macdonald) was Liz’s freshman roommate at Georgetown. Amazingly, she is still Liz’s best friend today — even though she was the girl who gave Liz a rabbit for her 19th birthday. And not just any rabbit: It was Harold the Demon Bunny! This is Susanne’s story:
“Could I have really said, ‘Happy Birthday, Liz! To the girl who has everything!’ when I handed her the rabbit cage?
Reading the book, with all the pain, suffering and loss, my comment seems so incredibly insensitive and downright clueless. Of course, my first reaction to this quote was to get defensive: Liz must have remembered wrong. But, then I allowed myself to go back to my freshman year of college, sharing a 10’ x 15’ dorm room with Liz, and my comment almost seems to make sense.”
When Daisy Stewart took Liz in after our mother died, she was only 30-years-old and had two boys, ages 4 and 2. This is her story:
“Montgomery and I had just bought a house around the corner from the Welches in Bedford in 1981 and someone told Ann that I rode horses. She was only 4 years younger than my mom, so I was touched when she invited me to go trail riding with her one day. I told her I couldn’t because Jonah was only 8 months old at the time. She said, ‘that’s fine, Lizzie will babysit.’
I was 25 and had never left Jonah with anyone but my mother before, so it was hard to hand him over to Liz, who was then 13. When I came back from our ride, she was feeding him French Bread pizza! I was horrified! He had only ever eaten organic food that I had prepared myself.” Read more →
In fourth grade, Diana got a Best Friend’s necklace with Erin Mahoney. Diana can’t remember who had “Be Fri” and who had “st ends,” but she does remember that the necklace caused a minor controversy among the girls in the cafeteria. This is Erin’s story.
“Growing up, I had three best friends all of whom moved away, Diana being one of them. The only difference was that I found out she had already moved just a few weeks before school started back up and I, of course, was devastated. I had no idea why she had moved. All I knew is that we both wore our ‘Best Friends’ necklaces and I now didn’t have the other part of the necklace to make it complete.” Read more →
Jonthy was married to our mother’s only brother John Williams, who we only knew as Uncle Buzz. We suggest you read Amanda’s sample chapter before you read this submission, as Jonthy is responding to the memories Amanda included in that chapter only, not the whole book. We have a feeling that, if she had read the whole book before submitting this, her story would have been addressed to all of us!
“This is to Amanda.
Friends told me about your appearance on “Good Morning America” and I watched the segment last night on the internet. I was thrilled that you, Liz, Danny, and Diana had collaborated on a book (especially the positive aspects). I then found a link to your web site.”