A Local Dream of a Name
Have you ever met a woman named Dreama?
If you answered "no," no worries, neither have I. But if you answered, "sure, I know a few Dreamas -- and a Drema, too," then I'm going to use my psychic baby name powers: you are from West Virginia. OK, at least near West Virginia?
For all of the power of the global media, local name trends still flower. Utah is full of Brinleys and Brynlees, and Rhode Island boasts a remarkable number of 20-something Michaelas. I love coming across these pockets of local flavor, micro-culture in a mass-culture world.
The wonderful example of Dreama comes to us via reader Amy, who moved to West Virginia to attend college in the '80s. She writes, "It was a name I had never heard but many of my native-WV classmates had mothers, aunts, and older sisters named Dreama. When I asked them about the name, they all acted like I was strange for never having heard it before."
Local stats from the mid-20th Century are piecemeal, but everything I can find supports Amy's finding. Dreamas concentrate powerfully in West Virginia, with side populations in neighboring Kentucky and Virginia (Southern and Western only). The name's popularity timeline seems to follow the same curve as kindred spirit Darlene. Both Dreama and Darlene are sweet sentiments ("dream," "darling") rendered in mid-century girl form. But no, West Virginia was never a particular hotbed of Darlenes.
Can any West Virginians helps us out? Any insight on why Dreama took off in your neck of the woods? And for the rest of us, any suggestions of Dreama and Darlene-style names that could take off today?