During World War II, the usually sleepy town of Gander, Newfoundland is abuzz with activity as the stopover point for many flights between North America and the European Theater. Teenager Terry Fleming, who lives just outside of Gander, is feeling conflicted. He wants to work in Gander so that he can have access to the plethora of movie stars and GIs flying though the area. His neighbor, Laurie Dwyer, who works at the American base in Gander in the service sector, states she can get a job for Terry, perhaps as a waiter. Terry has a secret crush on Laurie. But Terry also wants to stay at home and take care of his ailing mother, Violet, who is eventually diagnosed with diphtheria. Terry and Violet have a special bond especially over their love of the popular entertainment of the day. Frank - Terry's father and Violet's husband - doesn't quite understand it but appreciates this bond between mother and son. Terry dreams that much of the activity at the Gander Airlines Hotel is fodder for stories to his mother, stories of glamorous movie stars involved with the USO, GI's having flings with local girls who are looking to escape Gander, and war espionage.