Six months after their parents were killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver, the five Salinger orphans are struggling to make ends meet and keep their family together. They try to search for a replacement for Owen's 65-year-old nanny, Mrs. Kelleher, who suddenly quits. Bailey assumes most of the responsibility for the family. Julia turns her back on the family after a classmate named P.K. shows an interest in her. After her heart is broken, she longs for her mother's advice and comfort. Charlie loses $12,000 of their money in a bad real estate investment. Joe Mangus, their father's partner in Salingers Restaurant, loans Charlie enough money to tide them over on the condition that Charlie work at Salingers as a bartender, a job which Charlie accepts reluctantly. Young Claudia pawns her violin and announces that she'd rather be a regular kid than a child prodigy. Her violin instructor, Ross Werkman, reminds her that she has a rare gift and encourages her to stick with it.