A new marriage, a new baby, a new start.

Washington area residents marked the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one in these ways Monday night.

Once-a-year drunks struggled to make it home safely, while chronic drunks struggled to make it through the night without another drink.

The haves celebrated their good fortune; the have-nots made do. And many thanked their God for bringing them through 1979.

Some snapshots from the last night of the year, the last night of the decade:

Milton Clipper was planning his annual New Year's Eve party in his Southeast Washington home -- the kind with close friends, good food and ample libation -- when a friend called with an unusual request.

She wanted to have her wedding at his home on New Year's Eve.

Shortly after the stroke of midnight and the confusion of hearty hugs, firm handshakes and first kisses of the new year, Carol Davis Randolph, host of WDVM's "Morning Break," and Frank Joseph Jasmine, a graduate student at Howard, were married. It was the second marriage for both.

The wedding was intimate: only about 50 guests in cocktail attire, most of them relatives and "old and very close friends."

"The '70s have been very difficult for me for a lot of reasons," Randolph told a visitor, as she attempted to balance a bouquet and Bible in one hand, while shaking the hands of well-wishers with the other.

"It seemed very fitting for us to start out lives together at the beginning of the decade, to bring in the new with close intimate friends."

"Yes," she smiled, "I have a lot of hopes for the future.'

Sharon, 28, petite and pretty, stood inside the partially renovated store-front at Fifth and K streets NW and watched as men and women gyrated on a makeshift disco dance floor.

A man, looking older than he really is because of the toll that street life has taken on his stooped and scarred body, crossed the floor, greeted Sharon and called her "Sugar."

She was not put off. This is "family," she said, and although she doesn't know the man well, she said she knows his problem.

Like herself, he is an alcoholic. And with 40 others from across the city, they spent a liquorless New Year's Eve together at the Metropolis Club of Alcoholics Anonymous.

They brought in the new year with punch, hot black coffee and sodas and with a sobering hope for the future.

"I never thought I could spend a New Year's Eve like this," Sharon said. "I'm just as happy here with people I can communicate with, people who understand me and my disease, as I would be at any club.

At a time when lots of people are out there drinking, there is something resassuring about being here," she said "Being here takes away the compulsion and drive to drink to be like everyone else."

Sharon remembers the '70s as the decade of her drinking problem. "I will always have it with me because it's a part of my past," she said. "But I can use that past as a yardstick of where I have come from.

"I hope that in the '80s my life will be better and sober . . . . Just think, tomorrow I won't wake up with a hangover!"

A block away, a D.C. police officer led a tall, gray-haired man in a vinyl coat into a white van parked on the 5500 block of New York Avenue NW.

"I'll answer whatever you want," said the man, slowly, slurring his words, as he was greeted by two policemen inside.

The man, a 51-year-old house painter, was driving home from a party when he stopped his green station wagon in the middle of 21st and K streets NW. When he would not drive on, he caught the attention of a police officer. He was the sixth New Year's Eve partygoer brought to the "alcohol wagon" that night.

"I don't think I have a shot in hell of passing that [Breathalyzer] test," groaned the painter, as he sat on a stool in the van.

"You don't?" asked the officer.

"I don't," replied the painter.

Nevertheless, the painter decided to try. Officer Charlie Miller told him to blow into a straw that stuck out of a machine the size of a stereo. The painter put his lips to the straw.

"Mister, I've given hundreds of these tests and you're not blowing into the machine," Miller said. "You haven't even opened the celluloid. You have to blow harder."

Finally, after several minutes, a number appeared in a screen of the machine: 2.5. As he had predicted, the painter failed the test and was charged with driving while intoxicated.

"I had two drinks," the painter said. "One drink of, um, a mixed drink that had whiskey in it, and then I had another drink, I'm not sure what was in it. And then I had some beer.

"I didn't think I'd get in no trouble like this tonight . . . . what a way to start the new year."

Rolls-Royces, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benzes and chauffeured limousines filled the parking lot of the posh Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown on New Year's Eve.

Inside the hotel, some men wearing wing collars and velvet jackets, all in formal wear, chatted with women in designer dresses, with one or both shoulders bare.

The monied were spending money.

But beneath the silver-colored balloons and streamers, among the banquet tables loaded with duck, lobster, crab, roast beef and lamb, something was missing.

"There was no energy here tonight, no excitment as the new year came in," said Daniel Duff of Washington. Duff, his fiance Patricia Orr and two friends spent $50 each to celebrate a gala New Year's Eve at the hotel's Desiree Room.

"Sure, they played 'Auld Land Syne,' but something was missing," Orr said.

"I'm having a good time here tonight, but I have a strange feeling about the coming decade," she said. "It's got to get worse before it gets better. The feeling here is sort of, 'live it up now because we don't know what the '80s will bring.'

"I'm worried because I am 25, and I've just started out in my profession," said Orr, a researcher. "We're talking about diminishing outlooks for everyone, with a lot of people grabbing for fewer and fewer opportunities. As a woman, I already feel that it's woman against man, black against white. How soon before it's woman against woman?"

"I don't think the 70s have been productive and there hasn't been much intellectual or artistic stimulation. It was too much of the 'me' decade," she said.

Scott Libson, one of Duff's friends from Annapolis, said, "You got to remember one thing about the 'me' generation, and that is that the whole nation was founded on the expectation that people are going to look out for themselves.

"So far the the system has been good to me," said Libson, a developer who owns his company. "All the opportunities that the books talk about and we grow up believing in, still exist. I know I have been fortunate and clearly, there have been great inequities. But I am looking forward to the '80s. The '70s were just a blur."

A quiet midnight.

As they stood to give stirring personal testimonies after intervals of prayer, members of the New Southern Rock Baptist Church in Northwest Washington said they put away their troubles of a passing decade to watch God bring in a new one.

"I'm so glad that the Lord let me get this close to 1980," Anne V. Jeter, 73, of Northeast Washington told the congregation. "He woke me up and let me dress my own self. He didn't have to do that." Members of the congregation said "amen," and some nodded their heads in agreement.

Jeter gave a light-hearted chuckle, and continued her testimony to her God, remembering, she said, "all the years of His goodness."

"He touched me one day down at the mourner's bench [a front pew where churchgoers may sit and wait during services to feel the spirit of salvation]" she said. "I was in [South Carolina] and I had to go to the woods to pray.

"I talked to God and He laid his hand on me," she said, her voice rising in inflection. She leaned up from her perch, resting on the pew in front, put her hands on both hips and started walking down the aisle. Some church members sat up straight, and smiled as they watched her.

"I'm running for Jesus now, and I've been running for Jesus ever since," she said proudly as church members clapped their hands in encouragement. "Can't no man touch me, can't no harm come to me because the Lord can make the way out of no way."

"I'd like to thank God for being here," said 17-year-old La Rita Shelby, a church member. She said she could have been at a disco, but chose church instead.

"So many people who were standing here last year are not here this year," she said, looking around her, then ahead to the pulpit where a huge light-blue cross shone from the wall above. "You have to thank the Lord while you can," she said smiling, "and I thank him for another second, another minute, another day, another decade."

Warmed by imported French wine and homemade quiche, the eight women gathered around the Arlington dining room table got down to the business of the evening: a medley of improvisations of stud poker.

But as the women anted up for the final hand of play and switched on the TV for the New Year's countdown, the conversation turned to the status of women at the end of a tumultuous decade.

The economist in the group expressed hope that womens' salaries will catch up to men's during the '80s. But she was quickly challenged by the educator and the administrator, who argued that salary statistics are misleading.

"What pulls the average for women down is the number of women who have entered the work force in the past 10 years at beginners' salaries," they said. eNow, employers pay women generally as much as men in the same positions, because the law forces them to.

"I think women should concentrate on getting into positions of power," ventured another member of the group. She argued that most women managers are there to satisfy affirmative action requirements and don't wield any real power.

That needs to change, the women agreed, as they drank a champagne toast to the hope that it will.

At Luther Place Memorial Church, another group of women gathered: 27 homeless women who sat at aluminum tables in a hallway to eat chocolate cupcakes, cheese crackers and horseradish dip.

On most nights, the women are served stew or casserole, mashed potatoes and hot baked beans. But "today the food is more festive," said Jean O'Hara, who helped set the tables. "It's party fare. It's because of New Year's."

The dinner of pretzels and cupcakes was the only celebration for the homeless women Monday night. At midnight, when many people were kissing or twirling noisemakers, the women were asleep on mats in the church chapel.

They ate dinner quickly, and without speaking to each other. Most weren't very interested in this business of replacing the old calendar with a new one.

"It ain't gonna be no different for me in the '80s than in the '70s", Elizabeth Battle told a visitor as she ate an oatmeal cookie. Battle became homeless during the '70s and couldn't remember a time when things were different. She had not made any New Year's resolutions.

But Betty Grieggs, who was evicted from her efficiency apartment about a month ago, was hopeful that her life will be happier in the new year. "I'd like to move out of here," she says. "It's quite different living in an apartment and living with 27 women. They shove us out in the daytime.Sometimes you just want to be home in the afternoons, drinking a cup of coffee."

Gail Klein was going to spend New Year's Eve at a party at a friend's house. Instead, she spent it in the hospital, delivering the first baby born in the new decade in Washington.

The baby boy, who has not been named, was born at 12:08 at Washington Hospital Center. He weighed in at 9 pounds 5 ounces, and is 22 inches long. hHe has lots of dark hair and a wide face, and looks like his father, Roger Klein, according to his mother.

"We were kind of hoping he'd be born in 1979," said Gail Klein from her hospital bed. "My husband is a tax attorney, and it would have been nice to have the deduction. But we're very, very glad to have him."

The Kleins who live at 4903 Flint Dr. in Bethesda, met on a blind date when they were freshmen at Washington University in St. Louis. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Tracy Elizabeth, and have been married seven years.

The baby's father also was born on New Year's Day, and also in the first year of a decade -- 1950.

"It's going to be nice for my husband to share his birthday with someone," said Gail Klein, a former nursery school teacher. And this made it easier for me to give him a birthday present this year."

With two minutes left in 1979, radio station WOL announced the number one song of 1979, "Good Times," a disco song by the group Chic.

"Good times, these are fun good times. Leave your cares behind."