Nephew Jay and Niece Jamie were recently blessed with the arrival of their third child, a cute little tacker named Zachary. So I got to thinking about how names become popular, since there was not a single Zachary in my schooldays.
The good people over at babynames.com were kind enough to provide a list of popular names for kids, and the list shows names as they increase (#2, Noah, and #1, Charlotte) and decrease (#3, Aiden and #5, Ava). Names making their first appearance ever, or a return appearance, are also pointed out (#86 Ezra is on the list for the first time since shoes required buttonhooks, and how long has it been since you met a little girl named Hazel - #99?)
Coming in at #50, Zachary joins his brother Alexander (#9) and sister Isabella #17.
Over in the other side of the family, our nephew Drew and wife Laura have three kids: the twins Preslee and Mason and little sister Finley, none of whose names are on the list yet, but you wait - they'll be there soon. And I have to wonder why there are so few Elvises among the young of today. May I ask what all you young parents are waiting for? "Elvis" is currently #858 on the US charts of baby names, having peaked at #312 in 1957. It is ahead of "Newt," though (#958). "Mitt" is not on the list, nor should it be.
My own name? Well, little-known fact, I was christened "Marky Mark" by the Funky Bunch, but I just go by Mark, and I'm at #154 and planning to move up again really soon. Newborn Marks can take their names from Wahlberg the actor, Twain the writer, McGwire the steroid-assisted slugger, Ruffalo the actor and Foley, the congressman who loved reading so much that he just couldn't stop turning over pages.