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All right everyone, back to Sal's story about Phoebe.
Just as Phoebe is about to tell Sal what happened to Mrs. Cadaver's husband, Phoebe's dad (Mr. Winterbottom) comes home from work. The Winterbottoms (including Phoebe's sister, Prudence) and Sal all sit down to have a nice, normal dinner.
This family reminds Sal a lot of her grandparents (on her mom's side). They are very polite and very worried about being respectable all the time.
No surprise here: dinner is full of super healthy food. The Winterbottoms are concerned about eating too much cholesterol, so they don't eat meat or butter. That's no fun.
Sal learns that Mr. Winterbottom makes road maps, and Mrs. Winterbottom is a homemaker (an unhappy one at that, it seems to Sal).
Poor Mrs. Winterbottom tries to make conversation, but her husband and daughters don't really respond. Sal thinks all this silence is kind of weird.
Even when Mrs. Winterbottom announces that she'll be going back to work as a receptionist at Rocky's Rubber, nobody says anything.
Okay, Sal notices quite a few things about this family.
First, Mrs. Winterbottom is "used to being plain and ordinary, that she was not supposed to do anything too shocking" (6.10). "And Mr. Winterbottom was playing the role of Father, with a capital F" (6.11). He's very formal, and he looks way older than thirty-eight years old.
Prudence Winterbottom, too, is just as prim and proper as the rest of her family. The only one with any quirks, it seems, is Phoebe.
When Phoebe walks Sal home that night she tells her that she thinks Mrs. Cadaver killed her husband, chopped him up, and buried him in the backyard. She tells Sal how strong Mrs. Cadaver is – how she's seen her chop down trees and stuff. Yikes.
That night, Sal thinks about this theory. To tell you the truth, she kind of wants to believe it.
Then something entirely different pops into her brain. When she thinks of the blackberries at dinner, Sal is reminded of a time when she and her mom would pick blackberries back on their farm in Bybanks.
They wouldn't pick the blackberries at the very bottom of the bushes (those are for rabbits) and they wouldn't pick the blackberries at the very top of the bushes (those are for birds).
This reminds Sal of how much her mom loves nature and all living creatures.
Time for some more info on Sal's mom. Sal thinks back to a time, a few years ago, when her mom was pregnant.
One morning, when she and Sal went into the kitchen to get their breakfast, they found that Sal's dad had left a flower for each of them before he went to work in the fields. How sweet.
Sal's mom was so delighted by this that she decided to go find her husband in the fields and thank him. Sal was totally excited by the idea of this little adventure. She imagined they would sneak up on her dad and give him lots of hugs and kisses.
They found her dad in a field, and his back was to them as they sneaked up on him.
But just as they were about to pounce, her dad turned around, and her mom froze and forgot to say anything.
Suddenly, her mom started to cry, and said, "oh, you're too good, John." Her dad hugged her mom, and Sal was totally confused. Sal thought this was supposed to be a happy moment full of love and fun, but it winds up being really sad instead (6.27).
The next morning, Sal remembers, she and her dad found a bowl of glistening blueberries at their places at the kitchen table. Her mother came in and kissed her father in a very romantic way. Then her mother said, "'See? I'm almost as good as your father!'" (6.32).
Sal tells us, "I felt betrayed, but I didn't know why" (6.32). Frankly, we don't either.