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Atlanta, Early 1900s: An era when Southern parents cling to a custom of making decisions for their young upon reaching the age of 21 and often beyond. Two young women become friends across their sewing machines at a small factory. One, shy and sheltered too long by an overprotective parent, is pleased to receive attention from a young man who is equally awestruck by machines on wheels called automobiles propelling a city into a new way of life. She has to choose between loyalty to family and her individuality. Her friend is more confident and self-reliant, but when a visiting Navy man leaves town with a claim on her heart she must come to terms with inflexible military authority. Parents face adjustments of their own, and some do it more gracefully than others. These stories run parallel and then diverge, but the friendship endures.