Suddenly, the war is at the Johansens' doorstep. Annemarie must now face the fact that Ellen is in danger. Games, a big dinner, a sleepover, all things that would usually be fun, are poisoned by this realization. Ellen and Annemarie have something real to worry about. They are entering the world of adult knowledge, whether they like it or not. Mr. Johansen says he wishes he could protect them from knowing, but at this point that is impossible. He must tell the girls the truth because it the truth is important to their safety. Learning is part of growing up, but because of the war, the natural process of learning has been accelerated for Annemarie and Ellen. The departure of Ellen's parents causes both girls to face harsh realities: the war will change their lives.