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Monday Comes Up Eights For Royal Baby, Newlyweds, The Superstitious

August 9, 1988

Undated (AP) _ England ″celebreighted″ the birth of a royal baby at 8:18 p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month of 1988, tourists ″migreighted″ to the Kentucky town of Eighty Eight, and even mathematicians ″apprecieighted″ the chubby numeral.

Buckingham Palace announced Monday that the Duchess of York, wife of Prince Andrew, gave birth to a 6 lb. 12 oz. daughter, their first child, who is fifth in line to the British throne. Mother and child are well, the palace said.

A Palace statement said Andrew, the Duke of York and second son of Queen Elizabeth II, was with his wife, the former Sarah Ferguson, when she was ″safely delivered of a daughter at 8:18 p.m. (19:18 GMT) today.″

In Hackensack, N.J., Kelli-Lee O’Brien came into the world at 8:08 a.m. EDT Monday weighing 8 pounds, 8 1/2 ounces. Her mother’s doctor, making his eighth delivery in his 2-week-old private practice, has eight children.

″Everybody thought they were joking with all the eights coming up,″ said Jean Werner, head nurse in the delivery unit at Hackensack Medical Center.

The magic of 8-8-88 wasn’t lost on the Chinese, whose word for eight, ″baat,″ rhymes with ″faat,″ the Cantonese word for prosperity. They threw lavish parties.

Merchants in Hong Kong used the date to promote everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to real estate, while Hong Kong gamblers tested their luck in a special lottery with a sweetened jackpot.

Michigan gamblers bought more than 10,520 state Lottery tickets with the 8888 combination, and officials said Connecticut’s state lottery sold out its 8888 tickets when sales hit a predetermined limit: $8 million.

Tascosa National Bank in Amarillo, Texas, offered 88-day personal certificates of deposit at 8 1/8 percent interest (with a minimum deposit of $8,888).

Numerologists said Monday, 8-8-88, was especially lucky for marriage, and thousands of Israeli couples had registered to marry on the date. Reception halls around the country were booked solid, the daily Jerusalem Post reported.

In Eighty Eight, Ky., about 500 well-wishers cheered Tom Accardo and Deborah Muhlbeier, who got married at 8:08 p.m. CDT. The bride carried eight white roses. Their 8 foot, 8 inch-long wedding cake was topped with an ″88.″

″Our marriage is magical. It’s just the icing on the cake and I’m telling you it’s thick icing,″ said Mrs. Accardo, 34. ″The biggest part of it is the people of Eighty Eight. The town has been incredible.″

The couple had not set a date yet when they learned of the festivities planned in the small farm community of 150 residents, from a television news report in their distant state of Wyoming.

″Deb just looked at me and said, ’Wouldn’t that be fun to go in there and get married on 8-8-88 in Eighty Eight, Kentucky?‴ recalled Accardo, 29, a salesman.

In attendance at Eighty Eight was Pearl Russie, who drove up to the Eighty Eight Market in her Oldsmobile Delta 88. Her license plate: ″ANY 88.″ As Ms. Russie, 45, explained: ″I’m an 88 freak.″

Eighty Eight’s post office handled 25,000 pieces of mail for people wanting the EIGHTY-EIGHT 8-8-88 cancellation, said Fred Van Fleet, the U.S. Postal Service’s area manager.

The day also began the centennial anniversary of the American Mathematical Society based in Providence, R.I.

″Eight is, from a standpoint of pure arithmetic, the second cube, the sixth Fibonacci number, and the sum of the first three digits of pi,″ wrote former Scientific American magazine columnist Martin Gardern in a news release.

″Applied to the outside world, eight takes on more glamour as the notes of an octave, the arms of an octopus, the eight-cylinder motor, stock market eighths, the figure-8 knot, the skater’s figure 8, the eight-hour work day, behind the eight ball, old Spanish pieces of eight, and the eighth wonder of the world.″

At least until 9-9-99.