Chapters 2-3 Summary
On Sunday, the Bergens drive to Memphis to visit Grandma and Grandpa Fried. On the way, Patty tries to initiate a conversation with her parents by telling a joke, but her father crossly tells her not to bother him while he is driving. A little while later, Sharon jumps up off her seat and squeals, "There's a bee on you...April fools!" Her parents respond indulgently for a while, but when they tire of the little girl's antics, Mother brusquely orders Patty to amuse her sister.
Grandpa and Grandma Fried live in an affluent neighborhood, in contrast to Mr. Bergen's parents, who were "the poorest of the poor." As the family approaches their destination, Mrs. Bergen tells Patty that if Grandma tries to give her money, she is not to take it. Sharon, however, will be allowed to receive gifts from her grandparents, because she is still little. Grandma Fried greets the Bergens heartily when they arrive, and Grandpa quickly engages Patty in an adult conversation about a letter to the editor she has written about President Roosevelt.
The dining room table is set for fourteen people; in addition to the Bergens, a variety of aunts, uncles, and cousins are expected. Patty notes that at home, Ruth does all the cooking, while here, Grandma prepares the meals herself. As she observes the table laden with Jewish delicacies, Patty reflects that it is "like finally coming home."
Grandma, who understands clearly the situation between Patty and her mother, takes her granddaughter aside and promises to plan a special day for just the two of them. Patty will come out to Memphis by herself on the train, and she and Grandma will go shopping and have lunch at the Hotel Peabody Skyway. In addition, Grandma insists on giving Patty ten dollars to buy some books she wants. When Patty dutifully protests, her grandmother says, "This is not for your mother to know." During dinner, the family talks about the war, and then Aunt Dorothy mentions that Grandpa's company is sending Uncle Ben and his family to an insurance meeting in New York. Mrs. Bergen angrily complains that Grandpa shows favoritism to his sons, but Grandma rebukes her, asserting that while the boys are appreciative of what they are given, she herself has "never liked anything once it was [hers]."
Back in Jenkinsville, Patty is working at the store one day when the German POWs are brought in to shop for essentials. Patty wonders momentarily if they...
(The entire section is 629 words.)