Let us remember that with the move to Welch, Jeannette's life seems to get even worse, if that is possible. When they return to Rex's home town and stay with Rex's parents. his mother abuses the children, and the only home they can find to live in is a dilapidated shack that is situated on the top of a steep hill. The financial situation of Jeannette's family means they are unable to pay for repairs or for heating, and the children often go to school without food. Their want and poverty is shown in the way that Jeannette and Brian try to find food in the trashcans at school and eat lunches that other students have thrown away.
We can also see how such an experience impacted Jeannette. She is so determined to escape her parents and Welch that she works very hard at jobs that pay a pittance, but she saves all her earnings. However, just before she plans to move to New York City, Rex discovers this money and steals it. Jeannette's adolescence was definitely shaped therefore by her family's time in Welch, as she suffered want but also became incredibly determined as a result.