Rosa starts losing customers because of the difficult times. She sends Liesel to pick up the wash in her place because she believes her customers will feel sorry for the girl and won't discontinue the service. Liesel continues to work on her reading and writing. In school, she practices writing letters. She decides she wants to write a letter to her real Mama and mails it. She overhears Hans and Rosa whispering about this, wondering themselves where Liesel's mother is and what "they" might have done to her. Liesel wants to know who "they" are.
The money trouble that begins here for the Hubermanns foreshadows the greater struggles to come, as well as the struggles that many of their neighbors will face. In addition, Liesel is realizing that an outside force is responsible for the loss of her mother and brother — this mysterious "they" that she hasn't yet figured out.