I discovered lately that a co-worker’s middle name is Wanda. “It was my Polish grandmother’s name,” she said. “I told my mother: why did you name me Kathleen Wanda? And she said: just be glad I didn’t name you Wanda Kathleen.”

I had an aunt Wanda. She was full-blooded Polish. My grandmother was Polish, and her first husband was Polish, so her first three children (my half-aunts and half-uncle) were full-blooded Polish too: Maryann, Wanda, and Tony.

Great-aunt Wanda I met only once or twice. She was a handsome Polish woman who lived in northern California, and she has many descendants in the current generation.

Does anyone name his/her children Wanda these days? It’s an evocative name.

The only famous Wanda I can think of is Wanda Toscanini Horowitz. She was the temperamental daughter of the temperamental orchestra conductor Arturo Toscanini, and she married the pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

Here is a brief YouTube video of Vladimir Horowitz playing a Rachmaninoff prelude. As the camera circles, you can see Wanda lounging on the couch, listening:

Who says Wanda isn’t a pretty name?

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

2 Responses to Wanda

  1. starproms says:

    I think it’s a pretty name and your aunt is a very elegant lady. I’d love to hear more of her story. How did she come to be in California? What happened to her children etc.

    • Ah, well, Polish women are “handsome.” Wanda had two children – Lorraine and Little Joe. I have cousins of all kinds running around northern California. My mother wasn’t very close to any of her siblings except her brother Primo (he was her only full brother; the others were her half-brothers and half-sisters), so I seldom saw Wanda or the others; I think Lorraine wrote me a note a few years ago.

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