Once upon a time, there were three sisters named Meg, Jo, and Amy, but they’re not the sisters you’re thinking of. For starters, the oldest sister’s name is actually Laurie Jo (full name Laurie Jo Lesser Hodgson), while Meg (Lesser Roberts) and Amy (Lesser Courage) are twins. They are not the characters from Louisa May Alcott’s famous book about sisters, Little Women, but they were named for those characters, in a roundabout fashion.
On the phone together, the three sisters argued over whether Laurie Jo, a 67-year-old web designer who lives in Charlevoix, Michigan, was named for the book or not. (I had wondered whether her name was a defiant act by her parents—Laurie is the charming neighbor boy in the book, whose proposal Jo refuses, to the dismay of many fans.) They decided that no, their parents just liked the name. When the younger sisters were born, in 1956, their parents were surprised to find themselves with twins. They had only prepared one name: Amy.
“Then they realized they could do the Little Women,” Amy, an architect who lives in Riverside, Connecticut, told me. To top it off, the girls’ grandmother’s name was Marguerite. Meg was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Fans of the book might protest that there were four sisters, and the Lesser family has no Beth. “Obviously the answer is [they] didn’t have another child,” Laurie Jo said. But when she was young, “I decided in my head we didn’t have a Beth because Beth died in the book.” It would hardly be an auspicious start to a kid’s life to name her after a character most famous for her tragic death. Plus, they already had a cousin named Beth.