Episode 77 – Why I’m Not A Katharina

L to R: Winston Churchill, Princess Margaret in 1956, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald as Sergeant Bruce of the RCMP and Rose Marie.

It’s my dad’s fault. And kind of my mom’s too. But mostly dad’s.

Mom wanted to name me Margaret Rose, after Princess Margaret. Maybe because as a baby I looked like Winston Churchill, she wanted to name me after the person she thought was the most glamorous woman in the world. She probably hoped that I would grow into the name. Sadly, I was never graceful or gorgeous, despite (pitiful) ballet lessons and all the stylish clothes that mom designed and sewed for me.

Mom was the third Katharina in a row in her family, in addition to which the first daughter in every family in her hometown of Nagyszekely Hungary was named Katharina; I think she was just tired of the name, although for many, many school years I would have preferred to be a Katie instead of a Rose. (Rosie was never an option, and still isn’t)

Dad’s main objective was to give me a “Canadian” name. At some point after arriving in Canada, dad had seen an old musical movie, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, that had a SINGING MOUNTIE in it. What could be more Canadian than that? The movie was Rose Marie, so I became Rosemarie Mandau.

Me at 3 months old. I’d have made a great British Prime Minister.

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