Book Reviews

Top 5 Wednesday: Mothers Known or Remembered for Something Odd


1. Queen Wilhelmenia of the Netherlands


Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands is remembered for her heroic flight from the Nazis,  arriving in England in a nightgown, during World War II. But she may be remembered in a more cringe-worthy way for sending her daughter, Princess Juliana, to her wedding bed uneducated in the ways of that special night and wearing flannel underware! Source for the undies story: An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew.

2. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Embed from Getty Images

Mrs. Kennedy was looked on by many Americans as a sort of American Queen Mother. A three-time Gold Star mother, she lost one son in World War II, and two assassinated. Her fourth, Ted, was nearly killed in a plane crash. She also lost a daughter to an ill-advised lobotomy (about which she may not have been consulted) and another daughter died in a plane crash. She was and is revered. But she is also remembered for some interesting habits. First was her card file that recorded her 9 children’s illnesses and vaccinations. Second, was her habit of pinning notes to herself onto her clothes! These stories have been repeated in many Kennedy books and magazines.

3. Ruth Bell Graham


Photo from

Ruth, like Rose Kennedy, was long one of the most revered women in America as measured by various opinion polls. The wife of Evangelist Bill Graham, mother of Franklin, and Anne, and 3 others, she is perhaps best remembered for being able to wear her wedding gown on her 50th wedding anniversary, but also for keeping a wooden shoetree in her car to hit her son Franklin with when he mouthed off! See her wonderful memoir: Footprints of a Pilgrim.

4. Lucille O’Neal and 5. Deloris Jordan


Lucille O’Neal and her son Shaquille (left) Retrieved from here.
Deloris Jordan, mother of Michael Jordan, with Orpah Winfrey (right) retrieved from here.

Shaq’s Mom made quite an impression on me years ago on the Oprah Winfrey show. Deloris Jordan, Michael Jordan’s mother, did, too.  Both were concerned with their sons running thru their MBA money.  When new NBA player, Shaq wanted a new stereo. His mother made him do lay-a-way to get it! She also turned down a Mercedes saying her van was running fine. I believe she did, eventually, accept the Merc though! Lay-a-way Lucille is a true inspiration!

Michael Jordan’s mother and father traveled on the road with their son his first few years and Michael had to have his financial adviser call his mom and assure her that Michael could truly afford the mink coat he wanted to give her! Mrs. Jordan also emphasized that she was proud of ALL of her children–one of whom spent 30 years as a top enlisted man in the U.S. Army.

The episode of the Oprah Winfrey show was titled “Li’l Penny Meets Supermodel Tyra Banks,” and aired in 1997.

Extra! 6. Barbara Bush

Embed from Getty Images


In addition to riding herd over future President G.W. Bush, and future Governor Jeb Bush, Barbara was wife to a President, a director of the CIA, an Ambassador to the UN and envoy to China–all George H.W. Bush. They had 6 children, a daughter, Robin, died as a little girl, while the others have all been very visibile on the national scence. Mrs. Bush’s one great quirk was her love of wearing mis-matched pairs of Keds sneakers! You can read the story here. It was also in her memoir. Sadly, I couldn’t find a photo of her in such a pair! Here is a photo of some of her collection:


I could not identify who owns this photo. I found it here.

comment. And to all mothers, Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday!


Top 5 Wednesday is a group you can join on Each week participants write a blog post or make a Yutube video post to share their take on the week’s topic. Why not join in?

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday: Mothers Known or Remembered for Something Odd

  1. What a fun post! Yes, I was always amazed reading about Rose Kennedy’s organizational methods. I bet she’d be Kon Mari’ing if she were around today, or making spreadsheets for everything 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh definitely. Of course, in spite of the mythology (and the carefully crafted narrative of Rosemary being included) that’s about it for her post-birth mothering aside from letters and making sure dinner conversation was on world affairs.


I enjoy reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s