Chapters 6-7 Summary
Patty likes Saturdays because the "country folks" come into town to do their shopping, and she is usually allowed to help out at the store. In preparation, she puts on her favorite dress which she had been allowed to pick out herself, a light-blue middy with no sashes or lace, and brushes her hair vigorously, for once appreciating its buoyancy and rich, natural auburn color. On her way downtown, Patty overhears some men talking about a group of Nazi saboteurs who have been caught on the American coastline. When she arrives at the store, she excitedly relays the story to her father, who, after an initial reaction of skepticism, actually seems to appreciate receiving the news. When she tries to share the information with her mother, however, Mrs. Bergen characteristically ignores what she is saying, and tells her to go play with her friends instead of hanging around at the store.
When Patty tries to convince her mother to let her stay, Mrs. Bergen stops her work and looks at her daughter carefully, examining her appearance. She decides that Patty needs to have her hair done in a permanent wave, and makes an appointment with old Mrs. Reeves, a notoriously bad hairdresser who is known mainly for her work in "fix[ing] up" the dead ladies at the local funeral parlor. When Patty vehemently protests, Mrs. Bergen first tries to shame her into going, then summons Mr. Bergen, who threatens Patty with a licking if she does not comply with her mother's wishes. Patty has no choice but to keep her appointment with Mrs. Reeves, and, as expected, leaves the beauty parlor with her thick tresses ruined, set into "a hundred frizzledy-fried ringlets" of ugly, scorched hair.
When Patty returns home, Ruth cuts off the worst of the mess on her head, fuming angrily against those who would so wantonly "[mess] up something beautiful." Patty retreats to the peace and solitude of her hide-out above the garage, which is clean and quite comfortable, now that she has fixed it up. As she sits by the back window, thoughtfully gazing out towards the railroad tracks, she catches a sudden glimpse of a man running below the embankment, away from the depot....
(The entire section is 575 words.)