It's 1948. Bessie Gibbs and her husband "Gibb," new owners of the historic Island Hotel on Second Street, are stumbling around a large storage closet on the first floor. Bessie would like to turn the dark, dank space into a cozy bar.
In walks a lively blond in her early forties, 18-year-old daughter in tow. They have driven up from Clearwater in a late-thirties International panel truck, colorfully painted with marine scenes from a previous business. Helen Tooker, an artist, and Bessie, both strong and outspoken, immediately hit it off.