For two years, Jeff Blake worked on a Ph. D. dissertation dealing with the mathematics of time travel. Being unable to complete it, he changed his college major and obtained an advanced degree in math education. Then In August, 2013, he and his wife, Joanne, who was a pharmacist, begin a flight from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Castchanotsha, Michigan in a fifty year-old Piper Cherokee Jeff had inherited from his grandfather. With them are their children, ten year-old Jim and 12 year-old daughter, Marty.
They are going to visit Joanne’s brother, Roy, whose existence they had just discovered. A storm forces them to land at Wilton, Pennsylvania, where they discover the residents believe the date is November 22, 1963. The town’s Mayor, Spring Williams, becomes fond of them, even though they argue about the date, both parties believing the other is running a scam.
Adjoining the town is a huge factory housing a refinery and a secret government research facility in which a bell shaped vehicle has mysteriously appeared. Three German scientists are in it, claiming they constructed the vehicle and escaped from Germany in the last days of World War Two. And they think the date is still 1945. They have research papers and notebooks showing the development of the vehicle. But they die a few days before Jeff and family arrive.
Spring is the principle Trustee of the Williams Family Trust and the residents of Wilton are all contributing family members; so each is a Trustee. Since Wilton can’t keep a pharmacist and the school has no calculus teacher, Spring takes Jeff and family to Indianapolis to meet a former Wilton pharmacist and convinces them that it is really 1963.
They are devastated at losing their promising life in 2013, but manage to keep their emotions in check. Jeff has a glimmer of what has happened from the work he has done on the failed dissertation. And Spring tells them she will make them trustees if Joanne will run Wilton’s Pharmacy and Jeff will teach Calculus in their high school. Being fond of Spring, they rent Clay House from her and are impressed with its beautiful furniture, which is made there in the factory.
Spring’s nephews, Winston (the Sheriff) and Grady hide the German research documents. Jeff saves Grady’s life, and Grady’s thirteen-year-old son, Bennie, wants to study aircraft maintenance. Bennie and Marty think they are in love. But a massive explosion at the factory occurs before the relationship blossoms. Jeff escapes in the Cherokee with his family, and as they leave the ground they discover it is the same hour of the same day in 2013 when they arrived in Wilton.
They continue their flight and discover by phone that an auto accident has put Roy in the hospital in a coma. To get to him quickly they land on a golf course. At the hospital they meet his wife, Betty, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth and his seventeen-year-old adopted son, Rick. Later, at the huge house, they find the Police breaking up a wild teenage party.
Roy wants to adopt a large family and he and Betty are trying to buy the old mansion. It has been condemned by the City, and the contract they signed requires that he restore the building. But after years of trying he realizes he has bit off more than he can chew and is about to lose it.
With a local lawyer they believe they are solving the problem when they have to return to Tulsa to honor their commitments. On the way home they stop in Wilton and look in the newspaper archives, discovering Spring died in 1975. And at the Indianapolis bank they find out the Williams family trust account had been mysteriously closed out, also in 1975.
Getting back to Tulsa, they encounter many happy surprises that make it possible for them to see that Roy gets his restored mansion and assure them of a bright future.
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