That Went Well

That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for My Sister

Irene & Terrell
Photo by Paul Dougan
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That Went Well - Large Print Edition
Large Print Edition
The roller coaster of caring for my sister Irene really began shortly before my parents died. They had cared for Irene beautifully all her life, beginning with organizing other parents with special needs children and starting the first day care center. My dad's contributions to programs for mentally disabled children put me in line to take up the cudgel when his health began to fail. Working with so many other parents to put programs in place was a joy, and easy, compared to the day-to-day care of my sister, who actually didn't want to fit into any of the programs we developed. Irene found the most brilliant ways of getting out of any placement we arranged for her, making me slightly crazy in the process. By the time my parents had died, it was just the two of us: me trying to make Ireneís life work, and Irene trying to show me she had other ideas. Bottom line: If you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans.

Reviews & Quotes

“Terrell Dougan writes with humor, humanity, and complete honesty. In this tale of two sisters—one who never gives her dolls, one who never loses her pluck—she takes readers on thought-provoking, endearing journey through life. Along the way, she shows readers the changing social attitudes of the last half century, and her personal odyssey from resistance to acceptance.” - Rachel Simon, author of
Riding the Bus with My Sister
Enormously touching, funny, wise, breathtakingly honest, and completely readable.” - Judith Viorst, author of Forever Fifty
Funny, and wonderful, and horrible, and happy and sad.” - Muffy Mead-Ferro, author of
Confessions of a Slacker Mom
“Irene is a very special lady who makes others feel better about lots of things. Her sister Terrell shares her shadow, just like my dad shares mine.” - Kim Peek, the original model for Rain Man

An Excerpt from the Book

The Food Court Tango

       Irene loves food courts in malls. So many choices, and she can see the pictures of the food. In a nice restaurant, she has to have me read a menu to her and try to picture what the food will be like. So we often choose malls with food courts. I go for the Japanese, she goes straight to McDonald's.

       This is not for the McDonald's gourmet delights. This is because she wants the toy of the month.

       The young man taking the order can't wrap his mind around what she wants. "She wants a big burger and the toy," I tell him, taking a deep breath and letting it out as I anticipate his reply.

       "She wants a Happy Meal," he says. "Comes with the toy and fries."

       "No," I tell him. "Happy Meals have tiny hamburgers for little kids. She wants a big burger, no fries, and a toy."

       "Toys come with Happy Meals," he informs me again.

       "That is right," I assure him, "but we want a burger, a drink, and a toy. We will pay extra for the toy."

       The young man frowns, trying to think why Irene would want the toy. If it's for a little kid, then they want the Happy Meal, he is thinking to himself. Why would a big lady want the toy?

       People in line behind us are taking interest. They want their turn, and they wonder why we need the toy. I want to turn to them all and yell, "It's a free country! Why can't we have the toy without the Happy Meal, especially if we'll pay extra? How hard can this be?"

       But I don't. I just breathe deeply and take out my wallet, showing the guy I am really going to pay for everything, and he can reach down and get a toy without the Happy Meal included. I know we have finally won when he says, "What size drink, then?"

Look for That Went Well at these stores: Borders Barnes and Noble Frostís Books The Kingís English Bookshop Sam Weller Books Ken Sanderís Rare Books Deseret Book Chapter One Bookstore, Sun Valley, Idaho

That Went Well is offered as an alternate in the following clubs:

Book-of-the-Month Club Doubleday Book Club Quality Paperback Book Club The Literary Guild