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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Back when the Baby Boom briefly went bust

Editor’s Notebook: Back when the Baby Boom briefly went bust

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We’ve been in the midst of a mini-Baby Boom over the past decade or so, as guys and gals, married or pals, have once again mastered the fine art of procreation.

But these things always occur in cycles, and back in the late 1970s, there was a dearth of new arrivals in Northern Virginia.

Home much so? So glad you asked: So much so that the state government was moving forward on a plan to close the maternity ward of Arlington Hospital, because it just wasn’t needed.

Not surprisingly, the local community was up in arms; most parents-to-be, quite reasonably, want a hospital close at hand, as Arlington Hospital (now Virginia Hospital Center) was to many in North Arlington and eastern McLean.

(Yours truly is a product of the medical staff of Alexandria Hospital, for those playing along at home. But I digress …)

Well, you can guess how it played out. The maternity ward received a stay of execution, the baby bust turned back into a baby boom, and while I’m not sure how the pandemic has changed things, up until its arrival, Virginia Hospital Center was delivering babies at a record rate.

BACK WHEN ‘BILLY BEER’ WAS BANISHED: Sticking with the late-1970s theme, one has to be a certain age, and I am it, to remember in the late 1970s when, for a brief period, the American public couldn’t get enough of Jimmy Carter and his family.

The infatuation didn’t last long, but in 1976 and 1977, they were all the rage.

Jimmy and Rosalynn were, in some ways, the least interesting of the brood (no offense). The public preferred to hear about daughter Amy, working her way through the awkward years in the glare of the spotlight. And Miss Lillian, who once famously said that if she’d have known all the shenanigans some of her family members would get themselves into, she might as well have stayed a virgin.

And best of all, brother Billy, who cashed in on his brief notoriety by becoming the pitchman for “Billy Beer.” And, as noted above, for those of us in our early teen years at a time when beer-can collecting was a rage, we forced our parents to go out and purchase a six-pack of the swill so we could add a can to the collection.

But alas, Billy was finding headwinds all around. Not sure I was allowed to tipple even just a sip (it was the 1970s, so probably…), but it’s hard to believe Billy Beer was high-class stuff. And this week back in 1977, Virginia liquor authorities ruled that it was being banned in the Old Dominion, because state law did not allow for the endorsement of alcohol by celebrities.

Bummer for Billy. Seemed like a good ol’ boy just trying to make a few bucks by semi-questionable means, cashing in on his familial White House connections.

Thank goodness THAT doesn’t happen any more. Mwa-hahahahahahahahahaha!

– Scott McCaffrey

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