Fast forward to halfway through the twentieth century, and we're back in Treegap. The narrator explains that Treegap looks a lot different from how it appeared the last time we saw it, when Winnie was ten years old.
Mae and Tuck roll into town on horse and buggy. They're kind of out of place, since the street they ride on serves cars, too.
So what's different? Well, first, Tuck notices that the woods and the Fosters' cottage have disappeared. On top of that, the little town has new stores, including a hotel, and the jail looks different—it's much larger. (Probably a lot harder to break out of, too.)
As Mae and Tuck pass by, a couple of guys make fun of how old-fashioned they look. (Hey, they were asking for it, rolling up in a horse and buggy.)
They stop at a diner for some coffee, and the nice guy who serves them explains that three years before, the town "[h]ad a big electrical storm" (Epilogue.12) that destroyed the woods and everything around them, including the tree.
When Tuck asks about the spring, the guy doesn't have any answers. He's pretty sure the whole wood was turned over after that storm.
After coffee, Mae does some shopping while Tuck takes a walk. He decides to visit the cemetery.
He immediately heads for the area where the Fosters are buried and finds exactly what he was looking for. But as much as he'd hoped for it, it also makes him sad to the bone.
What is this thing, which is both hopeful and tragic?
Her headstone says that she died in 1948, and that she'd been a wife and a mother. (With some help from Tuck, we figure out that it's now 1950.)
After some major tearing up—for Tuck and for us—Tuck heads out.
When he meets up with Mae again, he explains very briefly what happened to Winnie. Mae thinks right away about Jesse, but to be honest, they're not surprised.
With that, Mae and Tuck seem to say goodbye to Treegap for good.
On their way out, they see a toad in the road. The kind-hearted guy he is, Tuck stops and moves it to the side of the road. He tells Mae the toad is acting like it's immortal.
(Shmoop is smiling, how about you?)
Tuck and Mae drive away, and Mae plays her music box for us one final time.