One Saturday (not long after the journal incident), Sal is over at Phoebe's house. The two see Mrs. Cadaver digging up a rhododendron bush in her backyard.
Paranoid Phoebe is more convinced than ever that Mrs. Cadaver is an axe-murderer and that she's got a backyard full of dead bodies. Sal still kind of enjoys thinking that Mrs. Cadaver is evil because hates how much time her dad is spending with the woman.
Then, to their huge surprise, someone pulls up in Mrs. Cadaver's driveway. Guess who it is? Mr. Birkway, their English teacher. Small world!
While Mr. Birkway helps Mrs. Cadaver dig up the rhododendron bush, Phoebe and Sal continue to spy on them, totally mystified.
Mrs. Winterbottom returns home from doing errands, and it looks like she's been crying. (There sure is a lot of crying in this book.)
Sal suggests they help her put her groceries away, but Phoebe just tells her that her mom really enjoys doing work like that. Sal, for one, isn't so sure because Mrs. Winterbottom looks really sad, and really, who enjoys putting away groceries?
Later on, Mrs. Winterbottom asks her daughter Prudence, "do you think I lead a tiny life?" (14.25). Geez, have you ever heard a sadder question? And asked to her daughter, no less!
Instead of answering her mother, Prudence just asks her mother if she has any nail polish remover and could she please hem her skirt. Kind of rude, we think.
Honestly, it seems like Sal is the only one who really sees how down and out Mrs. Winterbottom is.
When Sal gets home that night, her dad gives her a present from Mrs. Cadaver. Ugh – great. Sal doesn't want anything to do with it, and when she tells him this, he says that there's something he's been meaning to tell her about Mrs. Cadaver.
Sal rather harshly tells him she doesn't want to hear it, and she realizes that she is starting to sound exactly like Phoebe. Gulp.