Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern
The Making of an Irish Godfather
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A five-year-old boy, the last child of an Irish Immigrant family, is left alone in 1933 New York. When he is discovered hiding in the kitchen cupboard of a Brooklyn walk-up by a policeman called to check on the father laying dead, the boy is shaking with fear. The officer does not want to see the lad go to an orphanage. Tim O’Shea has a idea. When Francis nods his red head to the plan and jumps into the canvas bag, the sergeant smuggles him out of the building and takes him to The Apple Tree Tavern. Although Mae Morrissey lets them in out of the snow, she is not happy with the late hour or the idea of taking on another child when her own little girl lies sick upstairs with asthma. Still, the boy’s smile charms her and she could use a playmate for Libby and a helping hand in the tavern. And so, a deal is struck. Mae will be Francy’s Aunt related to his mother from back in the old country. When the boy is taken upstairs where food is plentiful, his guilt forces Francis to pray every night to his mother’s God for the rest of his dead family. Life is perfect at the tavern. He loves the beautiful little girl who lives upstairs in a pink satin bedroom. And, he loves his Aunt Mae who lets him follow her around down in the tavern. There are toys upstairs to play with that he had only seen in department store windows. There are characters downstairs to enjoy especially a boy named Johnny who becomes his best friend. Years go by and life is wonderful until the day Mae gets arrested and won’t come home for a few years. Libby is sent west to boarding school and Francis, the young teen, is shipped off to Dublin to stay with Mae’s brother, Neil Flaherty. Working at Flaherty’s Pub and learning the dark ways of the Irish changes Francis, who has grown so tall that he’s now called Big Red. Living in Ireland during the time of the war was often frightening. Several mysterious things occur there. And then, there is the girl who works in the Hungry Hound Café across the street. Francis is learning and growing. When it comes time to return to New York, he is a young man. Libby is a young woman and she brings her best friend home with her. Mae is welcomed and they all see how changed New York is in 1947 with the influx of war refugees and so much more. And now, they are all pressed to live and be successful in this new world.