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Dear America Wiki

Simone on the cover of When Christmas Comes Again

All of the characters that appear in When Christmas Comes Again.

Main characters[]

Simone Spencer[]

Main article: Simone Spencer

Simone Mercier[1] Spencer (born January 1, 1900)[2] was the daughter of Brigitte and Mr. Spencer. She had an elder brother named William, who was married to Caroline Lawson. Due to her family's wealth and status, Simone had a privileged adolescence growing up in New York City. After the United States entered the Great War, Simone joined the Signal Corps as a bilingual a switchboard operator, known as a "Hello Girl." On the way to France, she befriended Alice Kealy. The two were first stationed in Chaumont, where Simone was reunited with Will whom had come to France a year earlier. There she also met and fell in love with Will's friend, Sam Cates.

Supporting characters[]

Alice Kealy[]

Alice Kealy[3] (died August 14, 1918)[4] was a switchboard operator, one of the "Hello Girl", during the Great War. She was from Boston where she lived with her parents and five brothers. Her parents originally came from Ireland. In March 1918, she was befriended by a fellow operator, Simone Spencer, on the ship going to France. They were both stationed in Chaumont. Alice fell ill with influenza in early August 1918. She refused treatment initially, causing Simone worry. She Alice passed away within a few days. Shortly before her death, she asked Simone to write a letter to her family. Years later, Simone visited Alice's family in Boston. She spent a whole day with them, sharing pictures and stories.

Brigitte Spencer[]

Brigitte[5] Spencer ("Maman;" née Mercier)[1] was the mother of William and Simone. She met her wealthy American husband, while he was vacationing in Paris where her parents, Jeanette and Christian, owned a pâtisserie. They both loved telling the story for many years, though she left the part about his parents disapproving. After marrying him, she moved to New York City and opened a hat shop called "Brigitte" after herself. She insisted that both of her children speak French at home, which included them referring to her as "Maman." Brigitte was nervous when Will and Simone went to war, but she trusted their decisions. In later life, she and her husband moved to Paris, where they were buried next to her parents.

Francie Walker[]

Frances "Francie" Brennan (née Walker) was an aspiring Suffragist and Simone's best friend. Simone described Francie as her opposite, having "very little restraint and even less tact." Her mother generally disapproved of her activities, leading Francie to spend more time with Simone and her mother. After graduating high school, she became involved in the the women's suffrage movement though she was too young to be on the front lines. She gave Simone an angel ornament before she left for France In her adulthood, Francie moved to California to become an actress. On the set of a film, she met Thomas Brennan, an actor and old acquaintance of Simone's. They eventually married.

Sam Cates[]

Samuel[6] "Sam" Cates was an American soldier and Will's good friend. He grew up on the Lower East Side, where his parents died in a fire. Sam was then placed in an orphanage at 88 Orchard Street. As an adult, he enlisted in the army during the Great War. In mid-1918, after befriending Will, Sam met his sister Simone. He was badly injured in battle, which caused his leg to be amputated. In New York, Simone found him at her father's hospital. Sam had not contacted anyone, feeling ashamed of his injury. Simone and Sam went on to marry in May 1920. They had three children. Sam worked for Will, before attending Harvard Law School and becoming an advocate for immigrants. He and Simone later moved to Paris.

Mr. Spencer[]

Mr. Spencer ("Father") was the husband of Brigitte, and father of William and Simone. He met his wife in a pâtisserie in Paris and fell in love with her at first sight. His parents disapproved of the match, wishing he had instead chosen a girl from "the high society of New York City." Mr. Spencer became a physician at the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled, instead of taking over his father's real estate investment business. When Will grew up, he expressed interest in the family business which relieved his father a bit from his parents' disappointment. Both of his children went to France during the Great War. After Simone and Will had had families, Mr. Spencer and his wife decided to return to Paris. They lived there until their deaths.

Will Spencer[]

William "Will" Spencer (born c. 1896)[7] was the son of Brigitte and Mr. Spencer, and older brother Simone. He surprised his family by marrying "society" girl, Caroline Lawson. When America joined the Great War, he enlisted in the army and was shipped out in June 1917. A year later, he reunited with his sister when she was stationed in Chaumont. Will was sent home, after suffering a concussion in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. By the 1920s, he had taken over his grandfather's real estate investment business, but ended up losing most of the family's money in the stock market crash of 1929. Will and Caroline moved in with his parents. After the economy recovered, they moved with their children to the suburbs.

Minor characters[]

  • Caroline Spencer (née Lawson) was the wife of William. She came from a wealthy family, leading Simone to call her "society girl extraordinaire." However, she eventually proved herself not to be such a "society girl" and Will's family became very fond of her. Caroline and Will had children after he returned from the Great War. They moved to the suburbs after suffering several hardships during the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Christian and Jeanette Mercier[1] were the parents of Brigitte. They owned and operated a pâtisserie in Paris until their deaths. Their granddaughter, Simone, visited their graves in 1918. Brigitte and her husband, and Simone and her husband were all eventually buried next to Christian and Jeanette.
  • Cordelia, a woman who trained with Simone to be a switchboard operator. She was from North Dakota and had sixteen siblings. Cordelia was friendly with Simone, unlike the other girls who ignored her.
  • Grace Banker was the chief operator of Simone's unit in France. She was once a instructor for AT&T and had graduated from Barnard College. Ms. Banker later chose Simone to go with her to the front lines.
  • General John J. Pershing was an Army officer whom made the call for young women to become switchboard operators for the troops in France.
  • Juliana Gardner was one of Simone's classmates from high school. She hosted a party for graduation in June 1917. Her family lived on Fifth Avenue. Simone thought she was "kind of a bore," while Sam Cates described her as "entitled."
  • Katherine was an English woman trained in physical therapy. She helped Thomas Brennan at the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. After the war, Simone became her assistant and was later inspired to become a physical therapist herself.
  • Max was the chauffeur of the Spencer family.
  • Sally was a servant working for the Spencer family. The family cared a great deal about her, especially Brigitte and Simone who enjoyed spending time with her. She was from Ireland.
  • Thomas Brennan (alias Thomas Stewart) was a patient at the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. He had run away from home to join the army and ended up being injured. Thomas initially refused to talk, but eventually opened up to Simone. She convinced him to contact his parents, whom were delighted to see him again. After recovering, Thomas headed off to Hollywood to become an actor. Thomas was successful, eventually getting a starring role. He married Francie Walker after meeting on a film set.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Spencer ("Grandfather" and "Grandmother") were the parents of Simone's father. She called them "the Grandparents" in her diary. Mrs. Spencer, being "stuck in her old-time ways", disliked her daughter-in-law, while Mr. Spencer was continually disappointed by their son not following in his footsteps. He was relieved when Will decided to inherit his real estate business.
  • Mrs. Walker was the mother of Francie. She generally disapproved of her daughter's actions and humor. Her highest hope was for Francie to marry well, though her daughter was not interested in her mother's choices.


See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?