That Moment When The Music Is So Good…

How An Ohio Housewife Flew Around The World, Made History, And Was Then Forgotten

Jerrie Mock was a 38-year-old housewife from Columbus, Ohio, when, 50 years ago this week, she accomplished what Amelia Earhart is famous for having failed to do. But in the decades since, as Mock’s life began to unravel, history all but forgot the pilot who made it.

Sheldon Ross / The Columbus Dispatch, © Dispatch Printing Company / Via

Just before the coast disappeared into sea and sky, Jerrie Mock switched on her airplane’s long-range radio and found only silence. She tried again and again, leaning her ear to the speaker, and still heard nothing, not even static.

When Mock departed from Columbus that morning, she had heard the tower controller’s voice on a loudspeaker. “Well, I guess that’s the last we’ll hear from her,” he told the crowd gathered to see her off to Bermuda. He was joking, but suddenly his words had the ring of truth.

In an aircraft not much larger than a cargo van, surrounded by gasoline tanks, Mock was completely alone, navigating to a speck of an island with a compass and paper charts. Unable to report her positions or call for help, she could have become another Amelia Earhart: a woman trying to circle the world, lost at sea, never to be found.

Yet Earhart was a full-time aviator with a passenger who served as navigator; Mock was a full-time mother of three flying solo. Earhart had crossed both oceans; Mock, a licensed pilot for only seven years, had never flown farther than the Bahamas. Compared with Earhart’s brand-new, twin-engine airplane, Mock’s single-engine Cessna was 11 years old, with fresh paint covering the cracks and corrosion.

Suddenly — and suspiciously — cut off from communications, Mock considered turning back. She wasn’t flying around the world to become rich or famous. Initially, she hadn’t even realized she could set a record. Her original impetus for making the trip: She was bored.

But in the months before her takeoff, the flight had become much larger than a housewife with a dream. As Mock’s ambitious husband secured her sponsorships and media coverage, another woman — more experienced, with a faster plane — announced that she’d attempt the same flight. As she headed toward the Bermuda Triangle, Mock had to ignore the danger and keep flying, feeling pressured to win a race she had never intended to enter.

Twenty-nine days later, when she finished the flight on April 17, 1964, Mock could have been America’s sweetheart, a household name. On stops from Morocco to Saudi Arabia to Guam, the barely 5-foot brunette had stepped out of her plane in a blue skirt and sweater set and said demurely, as she still does now, “I just wanted to have a little fun in my airplane.”

“She has kind of pretty, all-American looks, and I think when they make the film, Doris Day will play her part,” panelist Orson Bean declared when Mock appeared on the game show To Tell the Truth shortly after the flight.

But the last 50 years have produced no Hollywood movie, no legend, and, until recently, not so much as a statue of Mock in her small hometown. Elsewhere in Ohio — the so-called birthplace of aviation — the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton doesn’t include her. Committee members who vote for inductees, according to one who added Mock to the ballot in 2003, don’t recognize her name.

While history has largely forgotten Jerrie Mock, she never wanted much attention, not even 50 years ago. And not now, at 88, when she’d prefer that her life be remembered for what it was then and not for what it’s become.

Front page of the Columbus Evening Dispatch, January 19, 1964 The Columbus Dispatch / Via

Quincy, Fla., doesn’t seem a place big enough in which to easily disappear — there are only so many places to go, people to see. The town of 8,000 between Tallahassee and the Georgia border used to be known as a haven of Coca-Cola millionaires, early investors who struck it rich. But now that Quincy’s poverty level exceeds 28%, the mansions are deteriorating, and the once-charming courthouse square is lined with empty storefronts.

About six years ago, a man seeking an autograph had to wander from door to door before finally encountering someone who knew a Jerrie Mock. The owner of a bed-and-breakfast recognized the name; she lived a block away. Yet after 13 years in Quincy, he’d never heard about his neighbor being a pilot, let alone her circling the world.

Mock, along with her son, Roger, and his family, left the Midwest for Quincy in 1992. At that point, there wasn’t much reason for her to stay behind; her husband had left her more than a decade earlier. With much of her remaining money, she paid $68,500 for a four-bedroom home that hadn’t, and still hasn’t, been updated in years.

“I’ve been here ever since and not done a darn thing,” she says now, chuckling only slightly.

Roger’s gone now, as is Mock’s other son, while her daughter and only surviving sister remain in Columbus. A grandson recently moved in but spends most of Mock’s waking hours at work. So Mock is usually alone, sunken into a worn green recliner in the living room. Christmas decorations hang over the windows two months too late; dead plants fill the corners. She reads mystery books, watches CNN, and passes the days, claiming not to mind the quiet.

But the flight gets her talking for hours. Though her memory has started to fade, she brightly recalls flying situations, names of ambassadors, the couscous she ate in Casablanca — “anyway, it was lots of fun,” she’ll say in conclusion. She likes to bring up how the world has changed in 50 years, which countries have improved and which have deteriorated.

Highlights of the half-century since her trip, though, she struggles to identify.

“I’ve had good years and bad years, good things and not-so-good things,” she says, following a long pause. “It’s been a different life.”

Jerrie Mock preparing to take off from Port Columbus, March 19, 1964. Gene Smith / AP Photo

Growing up in rural Newark, Ohio, Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz wanted different. “I did not conform to what girls did,” she says, matter-of-factly, as usual. “What the girls did was boring.”

After her family took a short airplane ride at the local airport, 7-year-old Jerrie announced that she wanted to be a pilot. A few years later, as she listened to after-school radio broadcasts about the adventures of her heroine Amelia Earhart, she expanded her goal from flying across Ohio.

“I wanted to see the world,” she says. “I wanted to see the oceans and the jungles and the deserts and the people.” Fascinated by geography books, she imagined riding a camel across the desert.

The only girl playing Cowboys and Indians grew up to be the only female aeronautical engineering major at Ohio State University. The men didn’t bother her after she got the lone perfect score on a chemistry exam. (“If I’d been stupid, they might not have liked me. But as long as I got the 100s, they couldn’t very well protest.”)

But it was 1945, and for a woman, a career in aviation wasn’t realistic. At 20, she dropped out of college to marry Russell Mock, an intelligent, confident young man who caught her attention in high school by arguing with her about algebra and saying he had soloed a plane. Within three years, they had two sons, Roger and Gary, and added Valerie in 1960.

Still, while the Mocks settled in Bexley, a quintessential suburb, life was hardly conventional. Their personalities contrasted — with Russ, the showman extrovert to Jerrie’s introvert — but the couple shared a curiosity about the world and a set of refined tastes: gourmet cooking, classical music, travel.

Russ, an advertising executive, once traveled the country to promote Elsie the cow, the Borden mascot. Jerrie spent time producing a radio program featuring the Metropolitan Opera and a local TV show on which teenagers debated global politics. In their home, the Mocks served three-course dinners by candlelight and hosted foreign college students, who taught them their recipes and inspired Jerrie to read the Qur’an.

Jerrie Mock looks at a globe with her children Roger, Gary and Valerie. The Columbus Dispatch, © Dispatch Printing Company / Via

Eventually, Jerrie began taking flying lessons while the boys were at school. After she and Russ each earned pilot licenses, they became half owners of a four-seat Cessna 180 and alternated piloting the plane for weekend and business trips.

Yet Jerrie Mock always felt she was supposed to do more. Something special. In 1962, she entered a women’s air race, for which she was insured throughout the Western Hemisphere. To take advantage of the insurance, she and Russ flew to an island off the Canadian coast, where from the hotel radio room she could hear pilots communicating their positions over the Atlantic. “I thought, My goodness, I want to do this,” she says. “It was exciting.”

One night at the dinner table, not long after the trip, Mock complained to her husband that she was bored of staying at home all day. She wanted to go somewhere. “Maybe you should get in your plane and just fly around the world,” Mock’s husband said jokingly, dismissively.

“All right,” she responded, entirely serious. “I will.”

With her family’s encouragement, Mock called the National Aeronautic Association, just hoping to obtain maps for an around-the-world trip, and learned no other woman had completed the flight. (Wiley Post set the men’s record in 1933, four years before Earhart’s attempt.)

Mock devoted more than a year to preparation, meeting with Air Force officers who secretly thought she was crazy but helped her chart 19 stops. To acquire permission for landings, she sorted through regulations and contacted foreign embassies to ensure she wouldn’t be mistaken for a spy.

Her plane, which she named the Spirit of Columbus, was outfitted with an overhauled engine, a long-range radio, and, in place of the other three seats, tanks that could hold enough gasoline to fly over the ocean. And Mock’s mother-in-law agreed to watch Roger and Gary, teenagers at the time, and their 3-year-old sister Valerie.

Mock’s husband persuaded the Columbus Dispatch to pay $10,000 toward the flight (the equivalent of over $75,000 today) in exchange for exclusive news about “the flying housewife.” The front-page stories quoted Mock downplaying her flying skills — “Except for not wearing high heels, really, it’s just like driving a car.” — and explained with disbelief how little clothing she planned to pack. “Housewife Calm as Takeoff Time Nears,” one headline read. “VISITS BEAUTY PARLOR.”

Mock’s departure in April was less than three months away when an NAA official called from Washington with a tip. Since Earhart in 1937, no woman had seriously attempted flying around the globe, especially not when World War II made gasoline limited and airspace dangerous. Although female aviators were still rare — even today, less than 7% of pilots are women — far more were flying for recreation and competition in the 1960s than in Earhart’s day. Mock had kept quiet about her plans, not wanting to inspire other women who didn’t know the record was up for taking. Yet somehow, the NAA official said, another woman had decided to fly around the world at the exact same time.

Joan Merriam Smith. Flickr: Kemon01 / Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Joan Merriam Smith was a pro, a pilot who flew charter planes and had learned to fly before she could drive. Like Mock, the Californian grew up a tomboy who idolized Amelia Earhart. The 27-year-old claimed not to know about Mock’s plans, having dreamed for years of retracing Earhart’s journey and seeing what she had seen. Starting on March 17, the day of Earhart’s takeoff, she would fly a route 4,000 miles longer than Mock’s, but in a faster twin-engine airplane.

Mock scrambled to depart two weeks earlier than planned, feeling the pressure of what was now a race. If Smith gained a considerable lead, Mock and her husband worried that the Dispatch would pull its sponsorship, effectively canceling the flight.

Both women denied the existence of a contest, with each flying a different plane on a different route. The Dispatch, too, downplayed the situation, relegating the whereabouts of the “second aviatrix” to two-paragraph sidebars. On one of her stops, Mock told reporters, “I am not in any race with that woman.”

Justine Zwiebel for BuzzFeed

But she went on to criticize Smith’s route. While Smith intended to follow Earhart’s path along the equator, Mock said she was avoiding some of the toughest terrain: “She is going just enough of the way to uphold her claim.” Meanwhile, Smith didn’t even mention Mock in her July 1964 Saturday Evening Post essay, “I Flew Around the World Alone.”

Technically, the women weren’t in direct competition: If Smith had circled the world first, her flight wouldn’t have been eligible for the record books. For verification, the world-record attempt required the hiring of official landing observers and awarding of sanctions, which were granted to only one pilot at a time: Mock.

But a victory by Smith could have counted among the public and especially among pilots. A member of a leading women’s flying club, she was better respected in aviation circles: In the year Mock became the first woman to fly around the world, the prestigious Harmon Trophy for aviation achievement went to her rival.

Mock began her flight on March 19, two days after Smith’s departure, despite knowing of the storms ahead. Weather conditions over the ocean were so poor that she ended up stranded in Bermuda for a week. The earlier takeoff time also rushed plane maintenance: Without Mock’s knowledge, her husband instructed mechanics to skip replacing her unreliable brakes. When she landed in Bermuda, she had to stand on one brake to keep the plane from spinning in the wind.

But the nonfunctioning radio, she thinks, wasn’t a symptom of the hurry. The mechanics who repaired it in Bermuda found it disconnected, the ends of the wire taped neatly.

After 50 years, Mock figures she can say now what she couldn’t then: sabotage. “It definitely was not accidental,” she says.

Someone, she thinks, wanted Smith to win the race.

Robert W. Klein / AP Photo

It was the middle of the night in a country where she hadn’t planned to be, and still, Mock woke to a ringing phone. Russ Mock had tracked down his wife at a hotel in Algeria to tell her to fly faster, asking why she wasn’t in Tunisia as planned.

“Give me some stuff for a story,” he said. “The papers say that Joan’s covering 2,000 miles a day. You have to go further.”

Mock had just flown six hours from Casablanca through storms so severe that she considered an emergency water landing. When she arrived in Bône, Algeria (now Annaba), after dark, having eaten little in the air, she dealt with currency and language confusion before getting lost looking for an open restaurant. Smith was hardly a concern, especially when she’d been asleep.

“She can be all the way back home for all I care,” Mock told her husband. “If you call me again to talk about Joan, I’ll come home on an airliner.” She slammed down the phone in what was neither the first nor last time.

The pressure from Smith turned Mock’s sightseeing adventure into overnight stays in all but five locations. Unless she was waiting on weather or repairs, which allowed her time to explore, her main views were of airports and hotel rooms.

Front page of the Columbus Evening Dispatch, April 14, 1964 The Columbus Dispatch / Via

She flew nonstop for as long as 17 hours and slept a nightly average of five — the same number of hours often required to clear the airport red tape. At each landing, she dealt with fueling and repairs, weather reports, paperwork, and customs and law enforcement in airports not used to private pilots, let alone American housewives. Reporters wanted photos and quotes about Earhart (“Do you think you’ll disappear over the ocean?”).

On top of her exhausting itinerary, Mock was supposed to wire stories to the Dispatch soon after her arrivals. But the offices where she could send cables were often closed or nonoperational, leaving Russ, a former newspaper reporter, to write pieces under his wife’s name.

Front page of the Columbus Evening Dispatch, April 16, 1964 The Columbus Dispatch / Via

“I heard the most welcome news of my life Thursday when the hotel switchboard called me and said: ‘Columbus in the United States wants to talk to you,’” began a story from the Philippines. “It was my husband … and it was a tremendous experience to hear his voice again.”

Mock’s memoir, published six years later, recalled the phone conversation differently. On her third night of rest and repairs in Manila, Russ pushed her to head halfway across the Pacific. “If you take off now, you can be in Guam in the morning, and be ready to leave tomorrow night for Wake [Island],” he said, describing 3,000 miles of travel. Smith had lost several days to mechanical trouble — but, Russ argued, she could still catch up. Mock stomped her foot in anger and hung up the phone. “He just wanted a ‘first,’” she wrote. “Not me.”

Around the world, Mock had calmly handled dangerous scenarios like a pilot with far more flying hours. She says now that she simply recalled instructions from her training (“You know if this happens, you do that. Your engine quits out over the ocean; what do you do? You land in the water and that’s that.”) But the situations could have cost her life. Over the Atlantic, she maneuvered through icy conditions that could have downed the plane into the ocean. While flying across Libya, she handled a near-fire over the desert: The motor attached to her radio antenna began smoking, leading to another radio outage — this time for nine days.

And she had experienced indescribable peace, the beauty of clouds glowing gold at sunrise. As she crossed the Atlantic one night, the starry sky perfectly clear, she actually pinched herself to see if she was dreaming. Yet in phone calls placed around the world, what her husband wanted to discuss first were the newspaper stories, the race.

Even after her six-day weather delay in Bermuda, Mock ultimately returned home more than three weeks ahead of her rival. Smith, credited with making history’s longest solo flight at the time, sent a congratulatory cablegram: Hoping the clear skies and tailwinds of your trip will always be with you. Otherwise, the pilots never conversed. At an aviation conference soon after their flights, they faked smiles for a photo and then parted ways. Less than a year later, on Feb. 17, 1965, Smith was flying a small plane that crashed into California’s San Gabriel Mountains — killing both the 28-year-old and her passenger, who was writing her biography.

When the race between them was on, Mock visited Bangkok, but only in the dark, and Honolulu, without a glimpse of the beach. In Cairo, Mock realized another dream she’d had for 30 years. But because she was so rushed, she only rode the camel for five minutes — an opportunity for a photo that never even made it home in the mail. She was flying around the world, but not always seeing it.

The Spirit of Columbus, upon landing in Cairo, Egypt, April 8, 1964. Express Newspapers / Getty Images

Front page of the Columbus Evening Dispatch, April 18, 1964 The Columbus Dispatch / Via

More than 5,000 people greeted Mock at the Columbus airport on the night of April 17, 1964, cheering and waving signs like they were at a football game. Exhausted and teary-eyed, Mock hugged her family members before facing the barrage of flashbulbs and questions about what the flight had been like.

Where to begin? Over the past 29 days, she had endured mechanical issues, storms, and communication breakdowns. She had landed accidentally at a restricted air force base in Egypt and was detained until darkness fell. In Saudi Arabia, where women even today aren’t allowed to drive, a crowd at the airport erupted in cheers, as she recalled in her book, for some reason appreciating the oddity that no man was aboard Mock’s plane.

On the night she returned home, a blur then and now, Mock was too overwhelmed to describe any of it. In a short, flustered statement, she told the crowd that the flight was easy enough, but that she wished she could put her speeches on autopilot.

A signed photograph of Mock meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson. “To Jerrie Mock – Whose hand has rocked the cradle and girdled the globe.” Courtesy of Jerrie Mock via Phoenix Graphix

“I don’t know what to say. This is just wonderful,” she said, and that was all.

Within days, Mock was whisked off to New York for the Today show and to Washington to meet President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had a medal for Mock and a birthday cake for Valerie, who turned 4 that day.

At home, the phone rang incessantly with invitations Mock had no choice but to accept: She needed speaking fees to repay her so-called sponsorship, really more of a loan. Mock quickly tired of sending money to the Dispatch while spending her own on babysitters for Valerie. Audiences probably didn’t realize that Mock, with her upbeat tone and modest smile, dreaded talking to them. Thinking of the time recently, she frowns and sticks out her tongue like she’s tasted something bitter.

“The kind of person who can sit in an airplane alone,” Mock says, “is not the type of person who likes to be continually with other people.”

In the 1930s, while the public was fascinated by the novelty of flight, Amelia Earhart had embraced her fame. She endorsed cigarettes and a clothing line, wrote columns for Cosmopolitan and posed for photos with Cary Grant, all with the help of her publicist husband.

Russ Mock, too, wanted to promote his wife, imagining her legacy and an estate built from her story. When they flew commercially, he would proudly ask the flight crew to make a special announcement about the celebrity on board — not comprehending why she wouldn’t enjoy the fame. Valerie Armentrout, now 53, says her father, while materialistic, believed his wife deserved to be a hero. “He did not want it to be the 50th anniversary,” she says, “and have no one know who the heck she is.”

Jerrie and Russ at home, 1964 The Columbus Dispatch, © Dispatch Printing Company / Via

But at the time, Jerrie compared the spotlight to being an animal in a zoo and profiting from her dream to selling her soul. She just wanted to return to normal life, to fly her plane. To be left alone. “I’d rather go to an island where there are no phones or TV,” she said over and over in those years, “and never talk to anyone again.”

And in an especially newsworthy era — with front pages covering the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and Beatlemania, and with the space race occupying the part of the American imagination once consumed with now-mundane air travel — Mock ultimately got what she wished for.

“It’s an unknown story,” says Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which for years kept Mock’s plane in storage before installing it at a satellite facility at Dulles International Airport a decade ago. “She deserves far more recognition than she’s ever gotten; there’s no doubt about that.”

Courtesy of Jerrie Mock via Phoenix Graphix

In the years after Mock circled the globe, her world began to shrink. She had been flying for additional records, securing several speed and distance titles, when in 1969, the IRS informed her that she owed $6,000 on her new plane. The Cessna 206 had been a gift from the manufacturer in exchange for displaying her plane at its factory. Mock hired a lawyer to defend her case and won — only to be charged the same amount in legal fees. After one last adventure, during which Mock sold and delivered the aircraft to missionaries in Papua New Guinea, she could never again afford to fly an airplane.

For Jerrie and Russ Mock, the jet-setting and dinner parties dissolved into the ordinary. They argued over finances; she threatened so repeatedly to make the island escape when her daughter turned 18 that Valerie tended to believe her.

Eventually, Russ met another woman, whose newly acquired inheritance would afford them trips to Morocco and China. “So he fell in love with her money,” she explains flatly, not mentioning how she felt about it. “He got rid of me so he could go with her.”

The divorce in 1979 left Mock to drift between an apartment in Columbus and the homes of her parents in Newark and her sons in Columbus and Michigan. She looked for work, but by then, times had changed. Without a college degree, she could find only a part-time job at a bank, where she was hired to greet incoming customers.

Even after he remarried, though, Russ still spent weekend time with his ex-wife, helping her with cooking and household tasks, like a husband would. Mock’s daughter and sister struggle to explain why they divorced, both saying they were soulmates.

“Whatever they shared between the two of them did not dissipate,” Armentrout says. “I think that my mother and father had always planned on reconciling, quite honestly.”

In 1991, Russ mailed Jerrie a check — a sign, in her mind, that he wanted her back. But even before she could cash it, he was gone, the heart attack triggered by his severe, lifelong asthma. She mourned for the second time in five months, with her son Gary dying from cirrhosis of the liver at age 42.

Mock didn’t imagine she would lose a second child too soon. Of her family members, she saw Roger the most, with Valerie, a single mother of five, not often able to visit. Though Roger hadn’t been ill, he died suddenly from diabetes complications on Thanksgiving 2007 — her birthday.

Mock doesn’t discuss these chapters much, not even with family. Susan Reid had called her sister that Thanksgiving but didn’t learn of Roger’s death until she opened her Christmas card. “While you and I were talking on the phone,” Mock had written inside, “my son was dying.”

Armentrout thinks her mom stays positive by trying to forget her hardships, focusing on her travel memories and the worlds in her books. “She’s such an isolated person; she can live so comfortably in her own mind with nothing else,” she says.

When the conversation becomes difficult, Mock changes the subject. “So anyway, no more of that,” she’ll say after a couple minutes. “We go to more pleasant things.”

Bill Haber / AP Photo

As the flight’s 50th anniversary approaches, Mock’s quiet has been getting interrupted. Wendy Hollinger and Dale Ratcliff, pilots and publishers in Ohio, reprinted 1,000 copies of Three-Eight Charlie, the memoir Mock named for her plane’s tail number. Only 1,000 copies were printed during the book’s initial release in 1970, making it a rare find. With the re-released book reviving some interest from the flying community, Mock has fielded interviews from aviation writers and visited with pilots who have flown to Quincy. “When I was a little girl,” she tells them, reciting her favorite stories, “I told my parents I was going to fly my plane around the world…”

Meanwhile, Bill Kelley, an 85-year-old Newark native and longtime admirer of Mock, realized that if he didn’t do something to recognize her in their hometown, maybe no one would. Although he’s never met Mock, he offered to mortgage his house if it meant paying for a statue to honor her. It upsets him that children don’t learn about Mock in school, not even in Newark. “Any place that mentions Amelia Earhart,” he says, “she should be there.”

Mock’s sister took on the cause, helping to raise $48,000 for a bronze statue that in September was dedicated at a Newark museum. A similar statue will be unveiled April 17 at the Columbus airport, where a female pilot will land a Cessna 180 at the same time and place Mock did 50 years ago.

Mock won’t admit if she considers any of this exciting. “Confusing is more the word,” she says, having found it difficult to remember what’s happening when. “When you get to be my age, you worry about how you’re going to manage everything.”

Lately, the added attention has been wearing her out. When she mentions the anniversary, she talks — perhaps somewhat jokingly and somewhat seriously — of wanting it to pass.

“I hope I’m still alive,” she says, chuckling. “I just hope I survive, that’s all.”

“There were dozens of women who could have done what I did,” Mock will say, insisting that she doesn’t deserve any more recognition. “All I did was have some fun. Statues are for generals, or Lincoln.”

Cessna 180, Spirit of Columbus. Flickr: Cliff1066™ / Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) / Via Flickr: nostri-imago

Mock will allow that she’d like to see her story made into a movie. But the anniversary, her daughter says, means more than she’ll ever express. Mock would rather not acknowledge her birthday, but she always notes who calls on April 17. The true day that celebrates her life.

“That is what’s inside of her, the flight,” Armentrout says. “That’s who and what she is.”

She declined to attend the statue dedication, even when offered a ride to Ohio in a private jet. She hasn’t allowed for her picture to be taken in years. A car accident decades ago left what she calls a “bruise” on her temple — now an unsightly wound that she refuses to have examined, even though it’s been spreading.

In September, three of Mock’s grandchildren took her to the nearby bed-and-breakfast in Quincy, where they crowded around a laptop to watch the statue dedication via Skype.

On the screen, Mock saw a crowd of more than 400 people, from local pilots to high school classmates, who had devoted a sunny Saturday to celebrating her achievement. She heard her sister’s voice break as she expressed gratitude for the donations. She saw the stranger who offered to mortgage his home on her behalf, the pilots who republished her book not for profit but because they believe her story deserves to be told. She listened as two professional pilots, both young women, spoke of how her flight helped make their careers possible.

“To me, Jerrie Mock represents what America is all about,” one said, “an ordinary person who has extraordinary dreams and turns them into reality.”

Mock didn’t say anything during the event and wouldn’t say much after, except, as usual, that she didn’t understand all the fuss. But twice during the ceremony, her grandchildren noticed her wiping away the tears.

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Devo to record song, release game about Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus!/DEVO/status/235340020133814272

Devo announced today that the band is releasing a song devoted to Mitt Romney’s dog, Seamus. Romney famously strapped the dog’s kennel to the roof of his car during a family road trip in 1983 — three years after Devo last had a hit.

Devo’s official Twitter account announced the song as “The Crate Escape.” Follow-up reports in Rolling Stone and other outlets, though, refer to a track called “Don’t Roof Rack Me Bro.” “The Crate Escape” is set to be a smartphone app “that lets Seamus get revenge against his arch enemy, Mitt Romney.”

Devo Establishes PAC "Dogs Against Romney," To Release Song, "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro!" Ryan Still Handfishing:

— WFMU (@WFMU) August 14, 2012

Devo off the leash: 'Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro' –

— CNN Political Ticker (@PoliticalTicker) August 14, 2012

Devo aren’t the only ones trying to squeeze relevance from the Seamus story; President Obama himself took a swipe today at a stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, quoting Romney as saying you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it. “I don’t know if he’s actually tried that,” Obama joked. “I know he’s had other things on his car.”

Romney campaign talking coal, energy independence and Medicare. Obama campaign defending "chains" and citing Seamus the dog.

— Joe Pounder (@PounderFile) August 14, 2012

If songs about Presidential candidates are a path to relevance for 80s bands, this is gonna be the worst campaign ever.

— Druce Vertes (@druce) August 14, 2012

Only one question remains: which band is going to step up and set #ObamaEatsDogsHaiku to music?

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Heartwarming Moment When Elderly Caretaker Gets Resident Dancing Around

Here at ViralNova, we love to share uplifting and inspiring videos with you. Some show random acts of kindness, but few cause change after they’ve made the internet rounds. This video is the exception.

When Lee Holdroyd, a 28-year-old caretaker at the Wansbeck Care Home in the U.K., saw that one of the residents seemed down, he didn’t just brush it off. Instead, he went above and beyond to bring a smile to her face.

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Knowing that Pat is a fan of music, Holdroyd put on a song and soon, the 80-something woman was on her feet dancing. That’s when this happened.

How touching is that? Well, other people thought so, too, and news of the video spread far and wide…

So far, in fact, that Pat’s long-lost brother got word of it and called her. They hadn’t been in touch for nearly 70 years! But the effects of this heartwarming exchange didn’t stop there.

Holdroyd and his brother had a falling out a few years ago, but he saw it online and reached out to the caretaker to tell him that he was “proud” of him. Now, they’re not only in touch, but they’ve planned to meet up!

Share this video if it touched YOUR heart!

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I Swore I Wouldn’t Cry, But There’s No Stopping It When You See The End Of This Man’s Life.

This is Scott. He was dying of liver disease and was not expected to make it much longer. He also had Down Syndrome. His nephew decided to post a little bit about him online – some of his interests and what he enjoys doing – not for pity or sympathy, but just to let the world know about his incredible uncle and what he was going through. And that’s when literally thousands of people from all around the world decided to make the end of Scott’s life something very, very special.

Scott used to love writing. He would write down notes, thoughts and more. This thank you is the last thing he wrote.

What strangers did for him brought out the happiness inside of him, no matter how sick he got.

He was sent literal piles of mail from people who wanted to show how much he was loved.

His grandmother helped him go through some of the letters.

Users on sent him these to keep him happy while his health was failing.

Scott received letters, but also gifts from companies. Sony Music even sent him CDs.

Strangers spent hours creating gifts for Scott, like this painting.

They brought happiness to him when things were looking grim.

A Redditor painted a picture of Stevie Wonder for Scott.

He loved it!

Scotty loved wrestling, so someone made him a custom wrestling mask.

Scott proudly hung his mail in the living room, behind where his hospital bed was set up.

He was always a bit camera shy…

His nephew delighted in reading his letters out to him as his health slid away.

A kind man from Australia sent a huge package with lots of neat stuff for Scott, even money and a hat.

Here he is asleep with his new hat on.

Dreamworks pictures sent Scotty How to Train Your Dragon.

This is a picture of Scott and his mother when he was still healthy.

You are SO loved Scott and you will be missed.

Scott passed away shortly after receiving so much kindness. Even though he was weak at the end, going through his mail was always a bright spot during the day. This is what the original poster had to say about the amazing outreach online: I explained his situation, listed some of his interests (art, WWE wrestling, family, food, music, etc), and asked if anyone felt like sending him a letter — and you guys sure delivered! About two months ago a few news outlets picked up the story: Mashable, LA Times, GOOD Magazine, CBS, MSNBC In all, Scott received over 1,000 letters and gifts. It’s quite incredible thinking about the amount of time and thought put into each piece of mail. The mail came from all over the world, including Japan, Sweden, Ethiopia, Jordan, Australia, Poland, and many more far away countries. Thank you reddit for thinking of my uncle – he will surly be missed. Faith in humanity = officially restored. Source

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Watch Taylor Swift Dance Her Heart Out To Kanye West At The Brits

Literally shake, shaking it off. (And all alongside Kim K).

1. So we ~all~ remember this cringeworthy moment when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift when she won a MTV Video Music Award back in 2009.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

2. Well, it took them almost six years but they finally made up earlier this month at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Larry Busacca / Getty Images

3. And now they’re so okay with each other that they both attended the BRIT Awards in London on Wednesday night.

4. And Taylor Swift was there to watch Kanye West’s whole damn performance.

5. Not only that but she danced her heart out to Kanye.

6. Danced her heart out alongside Kim (!!!) Just look at that slick head move.


7. It’s pretty much everything.

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Wait, Did The Music Get Louder?

Nicki Minaj deletes her Twitter account!/RosieUKBarbiee/status/191638238065201152

RT @NICKIMINAJ: Like seriously, it but so much a person can take. Good fucking bye

— pnd (@MariaMedinaxo) April 15, 2012

The two users above retweeted two of Minaj’s last tweets before she deleted her account Sunday evening.

Here is what comes up when we try to access her Twitter page:

According to several unconfirmed reports,  Minaj was angry at a fan site that posted leaked music.

Prior to the deletion, 11 million people followed Minaj’s Twitter feed.  According to Twitaholic, Minaj was the 12th most-followed person on Twitter.

Reaction on Twitter was mixed. Some urged Minaj to return to Twitter while others mocked her:

Honestly, I feel like @nickiminaj deleted her twitter because it's too late to delete her album

— stylechannel (@StyleChannel_) April 16, 2012

@NICKIMINAJ remember let your haters be your motivators #NickiComeBack

— Anthony Hoover (@anthonyHoover7) April 16, 2012

@NICKIMINAJ I Miss You & I Love You.

— :6•6: ♊ (@XoMyOnika) April 16, 2012

"@nickiminaj fans: Suicide Hotline #: 1-800-273-8255 a simple *RETWEET*, might save someone's life…"

— ❤4ever bad_boy❤ (@Md_Badboy) April 16, 2012

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‘Best ever!’ This #Grammys coverage by Denny’s is hilarious [pic]!/TrishBerg/status/427633917772845056

Why should you look at the Denny’s Twitter feed?!/jessicamalnik/status/427655431599579136

Um, because it’s awesome? First up, Denny’s weighed in on Pharrell’s ridiculous, and perhaps Arby’s-inspired hat:!/DennysDiner/status/427609951372996608


Take a look at the rest of the hilarious Grammys coverage:!/DennysDiner/status/427614694329696256!/DennysDiner/status/427615973579845633!/DennysDiner/status/427622193829130240!/DennysDiner/status/427627058210934784!/DennysDiner/status/427631798978224128

STAGE MANAGER: What do you guys need?
IMAGINE DRAGONS: How many drums do you have?
S.M.: Anything else?
I.D.: Kendrick Lamar.
#Grammys— Denny's (@DennysDiner) January 27, 2014

Next up, some Taylor Swift trolling?!/DennysDiner/status/427624342894047232


Denny’s continued to tweet about the bizarre Pharrell hat as well.!/DennysDiner/status/427644093754114048!/DennysDiner/status/427655137549500417

Groan, yet giggle!

And praise for Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl:!/foofighters/status/423169012738969600


Twitter users appreciated the service Denny’s provided; watching so you don’t have to:!/bindubya/status/427617894210752513!/iDuchaine/status/427638980494884864


What’s next?!/ashangela11/status/427184702953639936!/ciaradelrey/status/426812484407029761

We don’t either! But we’ll take it. More please, Denny’s.

Editor’s note: The original title was edited to correct a misspelling in Taylor Swift’s name. We apologize for the error.


‘It’s gross!’ What are viewers sick of seeing during the #Grammys?

‘Did Steven Tyler just fix his zipper?’ Aerosmith frontman battles wardrobe malfunction at #Grammys [pics]

#WhatsUpWithThat: Grammys cut away from final music performance for a Delta commercial

Top 10 things Beyonce’s #Grammys dress looks like

‘Lang Lang really should join this band’: Pianist’s performance with Metallica at #Grammys wins raves … mostly

Taylor Swift headbangs at #Grammys; Viewers reminded of movie scene [Vine]

#Grammys Madonna, Quaker Oats dude, Colonel Sanders, and Boss Hogg: Separated at birth [photos]

Kendrick and Imagine Dragons rock the Grammys, release ‘Radioactive’ remix

Kacey Musgraves wins everything with her Grammys light-up boots [photos]

You don’t want to miss Yoko Ono dancing to Daft Punk at the Grammys [Vine, video]

Entire music world wonders: Why is Julia Roberts at the Grammys?

‘Tweet of the night’: Arbys has a question for Pharrell regarding a piece of his #Grammys attire

Pharrell’s bizarre #Grammys hat goes viral, gets own Twitter account

‘Just no’: Jamie Foxx’s introduction of daughter at #Grammys earns collective groan

‘Brain cells…dying’: Pat Sajak asks for help while watching #Grammys coverage

Everybody wants the dress that Colbie Caillat is wearing at the #Grammys

Wiz and Amber: ‘Highly medicated’ at the #Grammys

‘OMFG’: Creepy clown wandering #Grammys red carpet sparks shudders [pics]

‘Goodie bags for everybody!’ Iowahawk finds reason for #Grammys to throw ‘employee awards party’

Twitchy coverage of Denny’s

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Are You An Unfriendly Black Hottie?

Can we sit with you or nah?

Paramount Pictures

    1. Thinkstock

    1. Columbia Pictures

    2. Universal Pictures

    1. Paramount Pictures

    2. Paramount Pictures

    1. Def Jam

      “Party Up (In Here),” DMX

    2. Universal Music Group

      “Family Affair,” Mary J. Blige

    1. A&M

      “Rhythm Nation,” Janet Jackson

    2. 20th Century Fox

      “Drip Drop,” Yazz

    1. Thinkstock

    1. Getty Images

    2. Getty Images

    1. Getty Images

    2. Columbia Pictures

    1. Warner Bros.

    2. CW

    1. VH1

    2. Columbia Pictures

    1. Getty Images

    2. Getty Images

    1. Getty Images

    2. Getty Images

    1. Thinkstock

Are You An Unfriendly Black Hottie?

  1. You got: Unfriendly Black Hottie

    You wish a Regina George would, because she’d get dragged within an inch of her life. You’re a fan of red wine, clapping back against would-be haters, and you’re always feeling your look. The only reason Mean Girls was about The Plastics instead of you is because there’d be WAY too much to fit in a movie.

  2. You got: Token Black Friend

    You don’t want people thinking you’re angry with the world, so you’re all about supporting your white best friend in her love life, personal style, and dying before her if you find yourself in the middle of a horror movie. People don’t actually know much about your life or your interests, but they do know that you’re friendly and can sing along to Ace of Base songs at parties.

    Paramount Pictures

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