Almost Wilhelmina

young-MargeEighty-six years ago a baby girl in central Wisconsin was almost named Wilhelmina. But her parents thought better of it, and rather than name their daughter after her paternal grandmother, they instead named her Marguerite. At least that’s the story my mother once told me. She was the little girl who was almost Wilhelmina.

She didn’t tell me why her parents changed their mind. Maybe she didn’t know. Perhaps when they first saw her they decided she didn’t look like a Wilhelmina.

After all, that would have been quite a moniker for a little girl, even in 1930. According to, Wilhelmina is a German name meaning strong-willed warrior. Marguerite, on the other hand, is a French name meaning pearl. So perhaps when my grandparents gazed upon their new daughter, they saw her for what she really was: a true gem.

Laura Sternweis

*** In memory of Marguerite Sternweis, July 25, 1930 — March 14, 2004 ***


2 thoughts on “Almost Wilhelmina

  1. Hi Laura, I’m visiting Julie & Dave for the weekend. Could you please add them to your distribution list. Ken

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Happy anniversary of your mother’s birth! Did you bake a cake? Have a special family dinner? Even just an exquisite muffin and a cuppa from your favorite barrista, whilest you jotted thots in your … journal–I remember what you used to call it.


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