While mulling the idea of getting pregnant, Brigitte Mars looked out the airplane window. Just beyond Costa Rica, she saw a magnificent rainbow.
A year later, just after giving birth during a fierce Ozark thunderstorm, she glanced out the door of her tepee."The sun had come out, and there was another rainbow," she said. "How can you say no to something that special?"
She didn't say no, and her new daughter started life as Rainbow Harmony Mars.
Now 15 and a sophomore at Boulder (Colo.) High School, Rainbow belongs to a select group of youths. She is coming of age in the '90s with a '60s kind of name.
She is in good company.
Cher's children are named Chastity and Elijah Blue. Frank Zappa's are Moon Unit and Dweezil; Grace Slick's are God and Free.
And there are enough other kids going through life as Destinys, Skys and Venuses to fill Haight-Ashbury.
But how do those names sit with the flower children's children? Rainbow is happy to be unique, as is her older sister Sunflower Sparkle.
But, says Bruce Lansky, author of "The Baby Personality Survey" (Meadowbrook Press, 1991), "Most of the people who were named when their parents had taken leave of their senses tend not to like their names.
"When I do radio call-in shows, they call to ask why their parents did that to them. It's a source of embarrassment and displeasure."
For many of their years, the term "hippie" was used as the ultimate insult. Only in the past couple of years have the '60s gained credibility with today's younger crowd.
Some of those blessed with Age of Aquarius names learn how to grin and bear them. The rest change their names to Butch, Junior or Susan, Lansky thinks.
Ocean Byrne got his name from a dream. A month before he was born, his mother had a vivid dream instructing her to name him Ocean. She did, but hedged her bets withKent as a middle name.
"I wanted him to be an individual, but I figured he could go by Kent if he didn't like it," says his mother, Patrice.
Now 14, Ocean has weathered the jokes and intends to keep using his first name. "One thing I like about it is that it made me tougher," he said, "plus it can break the ice."
Blue Parish, 16, also has grown to love her unique name.
Blue went through the juvenile jokes ("Why don't you turn Green?") and the jabs about her parents' politics.
"She has always kind of enjoyed telling people we were hippies, although we probably weren't, really," Gary Parish said. At 44, he's now a suit-wearing, short-haired, Denver lawyer, and wife Ivy is a comptroller for a cable television company.
Blue is a high school junior studying auto mechanics. And if she ever has a boy she would like to name him Grey.
Rainbow fielded her share of wisecracks, too, mostly about the squeaky cartoon character who was popular when she was small.
Kids asked her if she was related to Rainbow Brite, so she claimed her as a cousin. Her name makes her stand out in a crowd, and Rainbow makes the most of it.
Her ninth-grade classmates at Boulder's Centennial Junior High voted her "Best Looking Girl" last year.
Her mother, an herbalist at a market, thinks names are gifts parents give their children.
"They represent our hopes and aspirations for them," Brigitte Mars said. But what if she had turned out to be ultra-conservative, or shy, or militaristic?
That's where unique names can be distressing, Lansky said.
"Names like that are one-liner jokes that are funny the first time you hear them," Lansky said. "After that they are stupid."