Awesome / Dear America

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     A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 
  • Mem standing up to Mistress Billington for Hannah Potts when she learns of gossip that the only reason Mem’s recently widowed father could be interested in her is for owning a feather mattress.
    Mem: “Mind your tongue. My father is pleased by Mistress Potts because she has comely ways and she is dear with Blessing and she makes a nice pudding and she is quiet and elegant in her manner unlike yourself!”

     Standing in the Light: The Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 

     Look to the Hills: The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl, New York Colony, 1763 

     Love Thy Neighbor: The Tory Diary of Prudence Emerson, Green Marsh, Massachusetts, 1774 

     The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 

     Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 

     I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 

     A Line in the Sand: The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence, Gonzales, Texas, 1836 

     Valley of the Moon: The Diary Of Maria Rosalia de Milagros, Sonoma Valley, Alta California, 1846 

     Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Diary of Hattie Campbell, The Oregon Trail, 1847 

     So Far from Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847 

  • At one point in the book, Aunt Nora stands up for a little boy being abused by a Sunday school teacher at their church. It's not entirely clear whether she put an Irish curse on him.

     All the Stars in the Sky: The Santa Fe Trail Diary of Florrie Mack Ryder, The Santa Fe Trail, 1848 

     Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, California Territory, 1849 

     A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859 

  • The fact that Clotee taught herself to read and write just by listening.

  • Mr. Harms is both a Cool Teacher and Crowning Moment of Awesome due to his abolitionist efforts. He's nearly killed for his efforts, but man!

  • William choosing to lie to save his tutor's life is a cross between this and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. His exact reasons for doing this are never made clear, but Clotee knows how significant it is.

  • After Mr. Harms is exposed Clotee chooses to remain a slave herself so that she can take his place guiding other escapees to freedom.

     A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 1861 

     The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864 

     When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 

     I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865 

  • The fact that Patsy, who everybody thought was dumb and incapable of learning, became a teacher.

     The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West, Utah Territory, 1868 

     Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose, Chicago, Illinois, 1871 

     Land of the Buffalo Bones: The Diary of Mary Ann Elizabeth Rodgers, an English Girl in Minnesota, New Yeovil, Minnesota, 1873 

     My Face to the Wind: The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher, Broken Bow, Nebraska, 1881 
  • Sarah Jane saving the lives of her students during a blizzard. After the roof rips off the poorly constructed schoolhouse, she ties her students together on a rope and manages to get all of them home (or, in the case of the four children who live outside of town, to the homes of other students whose parents are willing to take them in). In doing so, she gains the respect of even her strongest detractors.

     West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi, New York to Idaho Territory, 1883 

     A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 
  • Anetka responding to her husband calling her lazy by listing all of the things she does around the house all day, and informing him that she "Cannot be Sophie [his deceased wife]. I am Anetka." To a lesser degree, her speech to her new boarders, laying down rules about paying their board and behaving respectfully around the young girls in the house.

     Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City, 1903 

  • The reconciliation between Miriam and the rest of her family after she is disowned.

  • The fact that Zipporah does become a famous actress, up to being nominated for an Academy Award. She also marries her childhood Vitriolic Best Bud Yitzy, and they spend the '40s rescuing Jewish kids from Nazi Europe.

  • The fact that Zipporah's parents were able to get jobs in the things they loved.

  • Zipporah's determination to master English; she starts out in first grade because she can't speak it, but is in eighth with kids her age in about 18 months.

  • Mama's eventual acceptance of American customs, such as removing her wig, since she had been so scared and resistant before.

     A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco, California, 1906 

     Hear My Sorrow: The Diary of Angela Denoto, a Shirtwaist Worker, New York City, 1909 
  • Angela doesn't intially intend to take on any kind of active role in the labor strike, but once she gets into it, she really gets into it. Before long, she's walking the picket lines, even as her sister is trying to convince her to become a "scab".

     Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, RMS Titanic, 1912 

     A Time for Courage: The Suffragette Diary of Kathleen Bowen, Washington, D.C., 1917 
  • The Suffragists are this.
    • Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont is a living CMOA: a wealthy widowed supporter of the suffragist movement who gave money for the Women's Party headquarters to face the White House directly where she boasts "We'll be right there all the time. The first thing President Wilson sees in the morning when he wakes up, the last thing when he goes to bed" and assures Alma about her sexist father not to worry and that even the most misogynistic men "are so silly when a very rich woman tells them something. This is one of the best things about having money." That is how you do Screw the Rules, I Have Money! right people.
    • The picket line has been growing even when the weather is very cold, President Wilson was said to have felt sorry enough to invite the women in for coffee but the suffragists refused and stated they'll only come when it's a talk about the federal amendment for Women's suffrage. Kat states it makes her think of Sojourner Truth's words about men who will be chivalrous because it's easier than treating women as human beings and individuals. Kat's Mother, Aunt, and their fellow suffragists are that committed to the cause that they turn down coffee from the FUCKING President of the United States.
    • It's said an African American woman and her daughter are on the picket lines....even if it means they lose support from Southern Congressmen.
    • The Inauguration March where Kat states that more than a thousand women marched in the procession early in the morning. Even if President and First Lady Wilson ignored them and the women were told to go by the gate where the First Lady's shopping packages are delivered.
    • Ten Suffragists were arrested in June, with 6 of them judged guilty of "obstructing traffic", warned of being "unpatriotic and treasonous", and sentenced to pay $25 dollars and spend three days in jail. The women state to the judge "Not a dollar of your fine will we pay a fine would be an admission of guilt. We are innocent." so they're sent to jail. Mrs. Bowen states the government is becoming uncivil just to look good.
    • Several more suffragists get arrested, along with Mrs. Bowen and Auntie Claire, after an ambush that even involved forcibly prying a banner away from an elderly woman. Every woman spoke on her behalf with Mrs. Bowen makes the classiest "The Reason You Suck" Speech ever.
      Mother: While you speak of my obstructing a piece of pavement, a sidewalk, my rights as the citizen of a democracy that through the Clayton Act permits peaceful picketing and demonstration have been undermined as you try to pry a banner from an old lady's hands. What a spectacle this must be for intelligent people, to see a country that claims to be a democracy, and indeed goes to war for democracy in foreign countries where the blood of our sons will be shed, to see the mothers and grandmothers of these same sons thrown into jail.
    • Many important men in Washington D.C. protesting the treatment of the jailed suffragists: Mr. J.A.H. Hopkins (close adviser and friend to President Wilson and whose own wife is jailed), Dudley Field Malone (President's confidant), whom is organizing a protest amongst men of the likes of John D. Rockefeller!
    • The suffragists refuse pardon because they did nothing to be pardoned for, Kat even saw her mother stitching a new banner that reads: "We Do Not Ask Pardon For Ourselves But Justice For All American Women."
    • Alice Paul, after being told that the windows to the stuffy jail won't be opened due to how more clothes would be given to the African American prisoners, she just attempted to pull on the rope to open a window. Guards came to take the rope but she takes her book of Robert Browning's verses and heaves it towards the window to let the fresh air in, succeeding.
      Miss Paul would probably make an excellent hockey player.
    • New York State granting women the right to vote, putting more pressure on President Wilson and Congress to pass the suffrage amendment.
  • Dr. Bowen (Kat's Father) standing up to his brother in law Bayard, after he starts blaming and unleashing misogynistic verbal abuse on his wife, his other daughter Alma, Mrs. Bowen, and Kat for Clary coming down from bronchitis (after being out in the cold taking coffee to the picket line); Dr. Bowen tried being rational and calm and then when Bayard turns around and hisses at Auntie Claire for "the reason her brain's weakness was, other than being a woman" where the Doctor said he won't let him talk that way to his wife. When Bayard tells him to leave, Dr. Bowen states he will, but shall return to treat his niece. Gracefully put.
  • Alma gracefully and steadfastly putting up with the disintegration of her parents' marriage and then later fleeing her awful Grandmother's home to become a nurse in the war.
    I think Alma is the bravest person I know.
    • Alma even meets the Countess of Limerick, who acts as a mentor and confidant to her and talked about how at fourteen she eloped with a worthless guy who drank himself to death by the time she was nineteen. She tells Alma: "You haven't run away. You have run to something, and therein lies all the difference."
  • Kat's older sister Cassie calling out the Attorney General Gregory at an event at a country club, where he talks about how he'd like to hose down the suffragists at the inauguration just to make them and the cause look ridiculous.
    Cassie: Mr. Gregory, my mother and aunt were among those women. What right would these policemen have to attack these women? Did it ever occur to you as the highest officer of the land that squirting water from a hose on law-abiding citizens might make you and the office of the attorney general, not to mention the government, look ridiculous? I think you should resign.
  • Kat kicking her arrogant cousin Henry's ass when he so boastfully and blandly states that his siblings (expect for his just-as-obnoxious older brother) were sent to his paternal Grandmother's home. Of course Kat is punished for it.
    • Kat even finds this action of hers stupid, especially when she gets a letter from Alma talking about her Grandmother Sunday Minette. Talking about how the woman is "like a perpetual dark cloud looming on the horizon", squawks at her grandchildren a lot, picks on Alma for reminding her of "that 'Yankee Woman'" that married her precious son and whom she blames for Clary's mental disability, and then talks about turning Alma into "a proper Southern Girl" and insists she read less. Alma tells her that she finds this an insult to Southern women and no, she won't read less.
      Bravo for Alma. Alma is so incredibly smart. She thinks of clever things to say and does not act impulsively like me and go around kicking stupid men in the pants—although I am still glad I did it.
  • Kat's classmate and hockey teammate Harriet Wilhelm received ridicule for her last name (given that being German-American was suspect during War World I and it's the same as the Kaiser's name); later several of the girls took her out to the nearby soda fountain, when the ditzy Posy Elder asks if Harriet's family ever thought about changing their name due to the connection with the German Kaiser. Harriet lets her know firmly they'll never change their name and that her family is just as American as the next family.
    Harriet: That he is a tyrant has nothing to do with me or my family. My mother stands in the picket line alongside Kat's mother and Nancy Abbot's mother. My father is a doctor in the same hospital with Kat's father. He fought in the Spanish-American War and my grandfather fought in the Civil War. We would never think of changing our name.
  • Auntie Claire getting custody of her children after a long battle, even though Alma left for the war.
  • Kat's school hockey team winning several games; at one, these two men were watching and stated "So that's what we have to look forward to if all this suffrage nonsense comes to be. God save us, George."; Kat later appreciates what her Mother and the suffragists are doing to make women be seen as human beings and less like objects or monsters.
  • After his wife and Mrs. Wilhelm get arrested again with other women, Dr. Bowen springs straght into action. Scratch that, even before he got into action when he saw his wife come home from a riot with a huge bruise after she was punched and almost kicked. Here's the thing, he puts the blame not on the offender or the police arresting the women and not the rioters, but on the President. He and the other men give their full support to the movement.
    Father: Wilson!
  • Kat's own rant about the war, where she notes that while she does her homework, her sister Nell (who became a nurse and ambulance driver) is driving or soothing a man who is suffering from the effects of mustard gas. Kat talks about how 30,000 men died in Flanders as of September 1917 and that's the least of it. She questions why it's called "the Great War", only the numbers of those dead, wounded, and maimed is remarkable.
    Do they call it great because nearly every country under the sun is fighting in it? As if this is some magnificent achievement!
  • Kat's sister Cassie's friend's mother working as a warden and sneaking the letters to loved ones in jail is this.
  • Mother writing of her conditions to her family where she notes there is no need to abuse and humiliate women who only want to participate wholly in democracy and have much to contribute.
  • Kat's letter to President Wilson, the best example of Calling the Old Man Out ever.
    Dear Mr. President, I am a fourteen-year-old American girl and my mother has been a picket. I have not seen her in more than two months. I have not been able to tell her that I flunked my test on binomial expansions or got an A on a Latin exam. I have not been able to tell her about certain physical changes in me and I need to ask her some questions because it is simply too embarrassing to ask my father even though he is a doctor. I was not able to carve a pumpkin with my mother this year for Halloween as I had every Halloween since I can remember. I have not been able to enjoy any of the "inalienable rights" as spoken of in the Bill of Rights because you have imprisoned my mother. Now, I know you will probably say it is her own fault. She deprives herself of these joys and responsibilities of motherhood through her own stubbornness. Let me just ask you one simple question: What is so scary about women voting? I think in your stubbornness you have become a kidnapper of sorts--a kidnapper of my mother. I am sorry to put it so bluntly, but this is the truth. Respectfully, Kathleen Grace Bowen.
  • Kat's mother and Mrs. Wilhelm coming back from jail with a grand reunion. Kat notes she's become so much taller and only noticed when hugging her Mother.
    I knew I hugged a giant and that I would still have to grow in ways that could not be measured in inches.
  • The Epilogue: Mrs. Bowen continued to fight for suffrage and didn't get arrested again, Nell coming back from her nursing experience in the war for Medical school, Alma becoming the Duchess of Eddington when she marries a wounded soldier named Cyril Eddington, Kat studying at Radcliffe and joined Howard Carter's King Tut expedition as a journalist where she impressed him and allowed her to write up several artifacts as a monograph for a scholarly journal, she joins the excavation and became an important member due to Lady Carnavon's help and support, at another dig in Egypt she was struck by a cobra and survived a near-fatal coma where she intrigued a doctor tourist with her personality and daring, after marrying him and having three kids she became President of the League of Women Voters in NYC and died in 2000 after fighting for Women's rights. Her gravestone reads a quote by Sojourner Truth: "Ain't I a Woman?"

     When Christmas Comes Again: The World War I Diary of Simone Spencer, New York City to the Western Front, 1917 

     Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 

     Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919 

  • The Reverend MacDonald, a Good Shepherd and Cool Pastor teaching the kids in youth group that blackness is beautiful and good.

  • The fact that the church the Loves attend in Chicago has a full-size painting of a black Jesus.

  • Erma Jean loses her voice while the family is still in Tennessee, a response to trauma. At the urging of the girls' grandparents, Daddy takes her to a pastor who claims to be a healer. Said pastor accuses Erma Jean of having no faith. Dad pulls a Papa Wolf, calls the pastor a charlatan, and marches Erma Jean out of the church.

     Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932 

  • Pretty much all of Lady’s brilliant DIY style throughout the book. And she never once complains about The Depression, rather using it as an creative opportunity. And in the epilogue, she becomes a costume designer for Broadway and Hollywood, winning an Academy Award.

     Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Diary of Bess Brennan, Perkins School for the Blind, 1932 

  • Bess' English and drama teacher Ms. Salinger is a walking Crowning Moment of Awesome, not only because she writes Bess' diary entries for her, but teaches her coping mechanisms beyond what the school offers, such as how to tell different coins apart.

  • In one entry, the people of Boston are described as coming to Perkins to see what the students can do and gawk at them. One boy gives them a Take That!. When one person asks how he can tell when his shovel of snow is full, he says, dead serious "By smell."

     Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards, Dalhart, Texas, 1935 

     One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping: The Diary of Julie Weiss, Vienna, Austria to New York, 1938 
  • The foresight of Dr. Weiss: arguing how Hitler is a real threat to all Jewish people and having Julie take English Language lessons. And this was before the Nazis annexed Austria!
  • Julie's teacher Mrs. Thompson finally speaks out about the changes brought to Austria: she lectures the class about how, even if "strutting about and carrying on" may be now acceptable in the Viennese streets, it won't be tolerated in her classroom and states that school is a sacred place where civilizations are studied and that her pupils should behave in a civilized manner themselves. Too bad she is later dismissed from her position or worse.
  • When Mrs. Weiss talks to the family chauffeur Richard about how they can't keep him on as an employee since Jews are no longer permitted to have a car; he then states to her that he thinks the persecution is wrong and he doesn't know why it is happening, he will still accompany her on her shopping trips and carry her packages with his personal car. Counts as Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as well.
  • Dr. Weiss is able to get Julie out of Vienna and into New York City, Max gets a chance to flee for Palestine, and Sophy is able to escape to England. It's a tearjerker but the fact that they were able to get out of the country (considering that many Jews were stuck because it was so difficult to get visas and the proper paperwork at the time) is a CMOA on it's own.
  • Aunt Clara started out as a child star in Vienna and became a big theatrical star in the United States; it's quite a world away from her late sister's life as a Trophy Wife and Housewife and considering the anti-Semitism of the time.
  • Julie becoming a big star after her sudden debut (and with a lack of experience) in Peter Pan, with her noting that it's so nice to be popular when she accepts signing autographs from girls her age. This was the introverted, not too social, and traumatized girl who left Vienna; wouldn't the Nazis see her now!
  • The epilogue notes that Julie became an acclaimed actress like her aunt; that Dr. Weiss stood up to treat a patient despite orders from a Nazi that shot and killed him; Julie reunites with her friend Sophy, old tutor Miss Sachs, and brother Max.

     Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Hawaii, 1941 
  • Behold Mrs. Billows: Wife, Mother, Hostess, Deadpan Snarker, and Magnificent Bitch who pulls her scalding soup trick on guests she doesn't like (she heats the soup very high on purpose).
  • Nice Guy Mr. Poole calling out the overbearing Lt. Lockhart for his racist opinions on Japanese people; first he merely spoke in riddles like "Experience is a costly school, Lieutenant. But a fool will learn in no other" and after the Lt. tells him to stick his head back in his books, Mr. Poole states he lived in Hawaii for 54 years and knew many Japanese Americans, who are patriotic to America while loving Japan and quotes a Japanese proverb "Behold the frog, who when he opens his mouth, displays his whole inside."

     The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 

     My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck, Long Island, New York, 1941 
  • Maddy starting an inclusive group for kids ages 5 and up to participate in the war effort. There is also her Take That! to the Alpha Bitch group where she says this group won't exclude anyone based on how they dress or look.
  • Clara's story that revealed how she and her Mother survived their time in America and how she managed to get a place for them at a boarding house in exchange for the chores she'd do around the house; not bad for a young traumatized woman whose second language is English.
  • Maddy stumbles on Nazi saboteurs and with Johnny, reports them to the FBI; all this after the saboteurs tried to run her over and stalked her! It turned out they foiled a plan that involved destroying factories and railroads on the East Coast.
  • Maddy's father being celebrated in the town, it's far away from when she was the least popular new girl at her school.

     With the Might of Angels: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson, Hadley, Virginia, 1954 
  • Dawnie's friend Gertie gets one near the end. Throughout the book, one of Dawnie's dreams has been to be the "Bell Ringer" (the person who rings the school bell), but it's decided this honor will be given to the student who scores the highest on final exams, which turns out to be Gertie, who doesn't want it nearly as much as Dawnie does. So Gertie stages an elaborate scene where she claims to need help ringing the bell and pulls Dawnie to give her said help. After a few seconds, Gertie steps away, leaving Dawnie ringing the bell on her own, and then tells the administration she's giving Dawnie the position.
    • Why is this so significant? Dawnie is the only African-American student at the school (early-stage integration), and she's been bullied and ostracized by most of her peers (the main exception being Gertie). Gertie is not only giving her friend something nice, she's making Dawnie important to the school.
  • Gertie standing up to the mean girls harassing her, her siblings and Dawnie. It also confirms their friendship.

     Where Have All the Flowers Gone? The Diary of Molly Mac Kenzie Flaherty, Boston, Massachusetts, 1968