Baby born during blizzard, named Winter


On the evening of February 23 — while a powerful winter storm was barreling through Southern California — Crystal Wade of Lake Arrowhead (in the San Bernardino Mountains) went into labor.

Later that night, when Crystal and her husband Brady were finally able to begin the 50-mile drive to the nearest hospital, conditions were treacherous: heavy snowfall, strong crosswinds, and unplowed mountain roads.

Luckily, they reached the hospital in time for the delivery. Their baby girl was born around 5 a.m. on February 24.

Her name? Winter.

The twist? “Winter” had been chosen five months earlier! The fact that Winter Wade happened to be born in the middle of a historical winter storm is just an intriguing coincidence.


Image by Lorwyn from Pixabay

Baby name story: Ana

Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh

In mid-February, amid violent protests in the Indian city of Itanagar (the capital of Arunachal Pradesh), a pregnant woman in the town of Nirjuli (part of the Itanagar capital region) went into labor.

The hospital was only about five miles away, but the family was unable to make the drive due to protesters’ road blockades. So they called the police for assistance.

Officer Rohit Dada, similarly unable to reach the hospital, decided instead to transport the family to the Nirjuli police station, where “[female] police personnel and the wife of a policeman helped the woman deliver [a] baby girl.”

The baby’s name?

Ana, derived from the last three letters of the word thana, Hindi for “police station.”

Source: “Ana: The child born in a police station.” Arunachal Times 20 Feb. 2023.
Image: Adapted from Itanagar, India by pankhirajcomputer under CC BY 3.0.

What gave the baby name Soleil a boost in 1985?

The character Punky Brewster (played by Soleil Moon Frye) from the TV series "Punky Brewster" (1984-1988)
Soleil Moon Frye as Punky Brewster

In 1985, the usage of the baby name Soleil — which is pronounced soh-lay, roughly — nearly quintupled:

  • 1987: 18 baby girls named Soleil
  • 1986: 19 baby girls named Soleil
  • 1985: 29 baby girls named Soleil
  • 1984: 6 baby girls named Soleil
  • 1983: unlisted


Because of young actress Soleil Moon Frye.

She was the star of the memorable children’s TV series Punky Brewster, which began airing on NBC in September of 1984.

The show was about a feisty, colorfully-dressed young girl named Penelope “Punky” Brewster. After being abandoned by her parents, Punky was begrudgingly taken in by a cranky widower named Henry Warnimont (played by George Gaynes). Henry eventually warmed to Punky and, in the penultimate* episode of the second season, he legally adopted her.

In mid-1985, the Washington Post called Soleil Moon Frye’s name “peculiar” and offered this explanation:

Soleil’s mother said her daughter was scheduled for a July birthday. When she showed up in August, Frye said she picked “Soleil” (French for “sun”) because “August was the month of the sun” and “Moon” because she liked the lyrics from a song in “Annie Get Your Gun”: “I’ve got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.”

Recently, Frye was quoted as saying: “I love having a unique name.”

Indeed, she’s continued the tradition with her own four children: daughters Poet and Jagger, and sons Lyric and Story.

What are your thoughts on the name Soleil?

*The final episode of Punky Brewster‘s second season dealt with the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, which had occurred fewer than six weeks earlier. The episode featured astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (as himself).


P.S. Punky Brewster’s dog Brandon was named after Brandon Tartikoff, who was the president of NBC’s entertainment division during the 1980s.

Baby name story: Herva

Richard Tucker (Radamès) and Herva Nelli (Aida) in the NBC radio/TV broadcast of "Aida" in 1949.
Richard Tucker and Herva Nelli in “Aida

In last week’s post on Radames, I mentioned the televised 1949 concert performance of the opera Aida in which the lead part was sung by soprano Herva Nelli.

According to her 1994 obituary in Gramophone magazine, Herva was born in Italy in 1909 and named after French politician Gustave Hervé, who was at that time an ardent socialist (though he later changed his views).

The surname Hervé has the same root as the name Harvey: both come from a Breton personal name made up of the elements haer, meaning “battle,” and vy, meaning “worthy.”

What are your thoughts on the name Herva? (Would you consider using it as a feminine version of Harvey?)

Source: Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.