Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/28/1964 to 10/4/1964

All Rome City Schools, including West Rome, held meetings to explain the new city-wide grading system that was going into effect beginning with the 1964-65 school year. The old number grade system, with 93-100 equalling an A, etc., was replaced with an A-B-C-D-U-I system (U for unsatisfactory and I for incomplete due to unavoidable reasons). "No numbers will be used," a Rome City Schools spokesperson said. "A student will fail or pass not on a numerical average of 69 or 70, but in terms of the overall quality of his work." (I presume this refers to report card grades only, since I never remember a time when we didn't get numerical grades on tests and other in-class work. I'm also not sure how long this system stayed in place; does anyone remember a period of time when we got letter grades only?)

West Rome faced off against Calhoun on October 2nd in a crucial sub-region contest. Alas, Calhoun came from behind in the second half, scoring two touchdowns to defeat the Chieftains 14-3.

The West Rome Honor Society held its induction ceremony on September 30th, welcoming twelve new members to their ranks. The roster of inductees included Jan Ross, Dan Schweitzer, Esther Ransom, Carolle Sewell, Barbara Belswinger, Phyllis McGhee, Anna Payne, Nancy Childers, Jack Column, Pat Barns, Stan Dawson, and Muriel McAbee.

Junior class officer elections were held, with Pat Barns being elected as class president; Ronnie Parker, vice-president; Stan Dawson, secretary; and Ann Peery, treasurer.

The West Rome Library Club elected Sara Whitworth as club president; Cathy Atkins, vice-president; Marilyn Moon, secretary; Sanda Addington, treasurer, and Marilyn Allen, reporter.

Romans were very excited to learn the art of hooking this week in 1964. Rug hooking, that is... (What did you think they were teaching at the YMCA?) The class actually filled up so quickly that the YMCA was evaluating whether they should offer a second session.

The new TV season also brought a renewed push to get color televisions into more homes. RCA Victor had a 21" color console for only $599.95 with trade-in, while RCA offered a 21" tabletop color set for only $399.95 with trade. (When you factor in the inflation multiplier of 7.51, however, that would be be the equivalent of paying just over $4500 for a 21" console set or just under $3000 for a 21" tabletop TV--almost the same price we'd pay for a large-screen 4K UHD set today!)

Sears was a major player in the auto repair business in the 1960s, offering everything from tires and tuneups to complete engine replacements. With automobile dealers on the verge of unveiling new models in late 1964, Sears was urging customers to put some money into a remanufactured engine instead. A V-6 engine could be had for as little as $159, while a V-8 started at $179--and you could get the installation done by Sears the same day you bought the engine.

And speaking of cars, Rome Automobile Company began showing off the new 1965 Volkswagen Beetle this week in 1964, complete with 15% more window area, larger and more comfortable front seats, a back seat that folded almost flat (and the manufacturer touted that the large flat open area could be used as "a large luggage space or a playpen for children." Apparently we worried much less about car seats and buckled-in children fifty years ago!)

Piggly Wiggly had center-cut pork chops for 59¢ a pound, turn it greens for a dime a pound, and a 24-bottle case of Coca Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit. Kroger has bananas for a dime a pound, whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, and graham cracked for 33¢ a box. A&P had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and Bartlett pears for 12¢ a pound. Big Apple had winesap apples for a dime a pound, jiffy steak for 99¢ a pound, and a half-gallon of Sealtest ice milk for 39¢, Couch's had T-bone steak for 69¢ a pound, lab shoulder roast for 19¢ a pound, and lettuce for 15¢ a head.

The movie week began with Kisses for My President (with Fred MacMurray & Polly Bergen) at the DeSoto and Night Must Fall (with Albert Finney) at the First Avenue. The mid-week switch out switch-out brought I'd Rather Be Rich (with Sandra Dee & Robert Goulet) to the DeSoto, A Shot in the Dark (the second Pink Panther film, with Peter Sellers & Elke Summer) to the First Avenue, and an Alfred Hitchcock double feature of Vertigo and To Catch a Thief to the West Rome Drive-In (which was on its weekends-only schedule).

There's no need to fear!... Underdog was here as of October 3rd, when the cartoon made its NBC debut as a part of the Saturday morning lineup. Those of us who grew up in the 1960s may remember that he got his abilities after taking his Super Energy Pill; younger viewers who saw the series in syndication may have never heard of the Super Energy Pill, however, since all references to it were edited out of the cartoon beginning in the mid-1970s, presumably out of fear that it would be seen as some sort of a pro-drug statement.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#3); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#6); "It Hurts to Be In Love" by Gene Pitney (#7); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#8); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#9); and "A Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy (#10).

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/21/1964 to 9/27/1964

The Coosa Valley Fair opened on September 21st, with Kunz Century-21 shows supplying the world's largest motorized midway, which included an expanded ("faster and wilder!") Tilt-a-Whirl. Carole Sewell represented West Rome in the Miss Floyd County contest.

West Rome went into their game against LaFayette with high hopes, but those hopes were dashed when LaFayette won the game 13-7; Dickie Sapp scored the only touchdown, but was stopped short on a second touchdown run.

BF Goodrich celebrated Coosa Valley Fair Week with a special on retreads for $9 each (do they even offer retreads nowadays? I haven't heard mention of them in years...), while Sears offered new tires for $9.88 to $15.88 each and Goodyear offered tires from $9.99 to $17.99 each. I'm still not sure how tires came to be associated with Fair Week...

Walter R. Thomas Jewelers closed its Broad Street location in September 1964—or more specifically, they sold their stock to Kay Jewelers, who took their place. Even so, they advertised a big store closing sale as they liquidated what inventory they could prior to the sale--so if you got any sort of jewelry as a Christmas gift in 1964, this might be the source!

Rome City Schools superintendent M.S. McDonald met with the Georgia Board of Education on Wednesday, September 23rd, to request $130,000 in building construction funds. Some of those funds were to be used construct an industrial arts workshop at West Rome High School. His pitch must have been most persuasive, because he came back with a $127,637 check, and planning of West Rome's industrial arts workshop was officially on the drawing board.

Piggly Wiggly had boneless Hotel Special steaks for 89¢ a pound, Mann's Golden Harvest wieners for 49¢ a pound, and turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had pork chops for 59¢ a pound, grapes for 12¢ a pound, and five pounds of Colonial sugar for 39¢. Big Apple had Hormel sliced bacon for 57¢ a pound, Cornish game hens for 69¢ each, and red delicious apples for 12¢ a pound. A&P had bone-in rib steak for 89¢ a pound, Banquet 8-ounce frozen pot pies for 12¢ each, and frozen flounder fillets for 49¢ a pound. Couch's had sirloin steaks for 89¢ a pound, Pet-Ritz frozen cream pies for 29¢ each, and a one-pound box of Nabisco Saltines for 31¢.

The fall season television show rollout continued, with several great series debuting this week in 1964, including The Man from UNCLE (September 22nd), Daniel Boone (September 24th), The Munsters (September 24th), Gomer Pyle USMC (September 25th), and Gilligan's Island (September 26th). And yes, that means that Gilligan's Island debuted on a Saturday night! Back in 1964, entertainment choices were fewer, and networks offered a full line of original programming, including Flipper, Gilligan's Island, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits, Mr. Magoo, Jackie Gleason, Lawrence Welk, and Saturday Night at the Movies, which featured television film premieres of major motion pictures.

The movie week began with The Chalk Garden at the DeSoto; Act One (with George Hamilton & Jason Robards) at the First Avenue; and nothing at the West Rome Drive-In (since it had begun closing except for weekends). The mid-week switch up brought Hamlet (starring Richard Burton, and shown "thru the miracle of ElectronoVision," according to the ad), to the DeSoto, Love With the Proper Stranger at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Heller in Pink Tights (with Sophia Loren & Anthony Quinn) and Ring of Treason (with no one worth remembering) at the West Rome Drive-In.

Roy Orbison took the number one spot this week in 1964 with "Pretty Woman." Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#3); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#6); "It Hurts to Be in Love" by Gene Pitney (#7); "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#8); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#9); and "Save It For Me" by the Four Seasons (#10).

In a surprising show of schedule coordination, Gold Key Comics published the first issue of their Voyage to The Bottom of the Sea comic this week in 1964, meaning that the comic debuted at almost exactly the same time as the TV series that starred Richard Basehart and David Hedison. Of course, the comic book publisher had plenty of time to prepare, since both the show and the comic were actually based on the 1961 Irwin Allen film of the same name.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/14/1964 to 9/20/1964

The on-again, off-again US 27-US 411 interchange was off again this week in 1964 once someone noticed that eight abandoned houses and an empty store were still standing where the road was supposed to be. The state said that Ledbetter-Johnson Construction were supposed to remove them, but the construction company said that was the state's responsibility. While both sides argued, work ground to a halt.

West Rome's JV team defeated Trion 33-7 on Thursday, while the varsity defeated McCallie 26-7. Ronnie Kennedy threw two touchdown passes in the first five minutes of the game, while Dickie Sapp scored a TD on a 62-yard return and Richard Camp ran seven yards to score West Rome's fourth touchdown.

Technologist David Kuhns presented "The Wonders of Liquid Air" at a West Rome High School assembly on September 17th; his presentation involved (among other things) liquid oxygen, solid mercury, and pressured oxygen. Mr. Kuhns was assisted by students Jimmy Cowart, Jack Collum, and Nelson Payne.

The chorus selected its officers for the 1964-65 school year. Barbara Heile was elected president; Janet Scherer, vice president; Billy Avery, secretary-treasurer; and Jacky Lupo & Judy Lloyd, librarians.

The Future Homemakers of America elected their 1964-65 club officers, with Jane Casey being tapped as president; Carole Sewell, vice president; Elmira Hardin, secretary; and Sally Sanford, treasurer.

West Rome's senior class began its magazine sale this week in 1964; the class set a goal of $3500 worth of subscriptions, with all profits slated to go towards the seniors' end-of-the-year gift to the school.

The new television season began this week in 1964--and what a memorable season it was! Several now-classic programs debuted in 1964, including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (debuted on September 14th), Peyton Place (September 15th), Shindig! (September 16th), Bewitched (September 17th), The Addams Family (September 18th), Jonny Quest (September 19th--and it was the first prime-time animated adventure series), and Flipper (September 19th). And that's not it for the season--there are some more memorable debuts coming up in next week's list... including a few of my all-time television favorites.

The Imperial Service Station at 2205 Shorter Avenue (one of Rome's first 24 hour service stations) celebrated its grand opening this week in 1964 with 94 octane regular for 29.9¢ per gallon and 100+ octane ethyl for 31.9¢--and if that wasn't cheap enough, they offered a penny back for every gallon purchased (not a discount--they just gave you pennies).

Piggly Wiggly had lettuce for 19¢ a head, beef liver for 19¢ a pound, and red grapes for 15¢ a pound. Kroger had picnic hams for 29¢ a pound, Uncle Tom's Brunswick stew for 39¢ a can, and bananas for a dime a pound. A&P had fatback for a dime a pound, JFG coffee for 79¢ a pound, and 5 pounds of white potatoes for 19¢. Big Apple had center cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Showboat salmon for a quarter per flat can, and a two pound jar of Blue Plate apple jelly for 29¢ (that's a lot of jelly!). Couch's had Black Hawk sliced bacon for 59¢ a pound, eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and a large roll of Northern paper towels for 29¢.

Moviegoers looking to catch a film during the first half of the week could choose from Robin and the Seven Hoods at the DeSoto and Lady in a Cage at the First Avenue; the West Rome Drive-In resumed its off-season schedule, which meant they were closed only Wednesday through Sunday nights. The mid-week movie switch out brought The Chalk Garden (with Deborah Kerr and Hayley Mills) to the DeSoto, Seven Days in May (with Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas) to the First Avenue, and The Moonspinners to the West Rome Drive-In.

Roy Orbison took the number one slot this week in 1964 with "Pretty Woman." Other top ten hits included "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#2); "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#3); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#6); "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#7); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#8); "It Hurts to Be in Love" by Gene Pitney (#9); and "Save It For Me" by the Four Seasons (#10).

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/7/1964 to 9/13/1964

At long last, the city took action to minimize the flooding problems that had plagued houses along Conn Street in West Rome. City officials purchased a machine they referred to as the "Hopto," a dredging machine that could clear out the creek bed (I guess whatever the dredging job was, it could hop to it!...). The entire creek bed from Burnett Ferry Road to Williamson Road was cleared out in the first week; eventually, the city planned to clear the entire creek bed all the way to Horseleg Creek Road. Not only were the Evans, the Hatches, the Skeltons, and everyone else who lived along Conn Street and Paris Drive happy with the news, but those of us who were frequently cut off from most of West Rome due to flooded roads were pretty darned pleased, too! (Even better, it made it easier for us to wade the creek without getting stuck in the muck; now, if they only could have done something about the ever-present leeches in that creek...)

West Rome's third football game of the season took them up to Summerville to take on the Chattooga County Indians. The JV team did their part, defeating Chattooga 40-6 on Thursday, September 10th. The varsity team did even better, trouncing Chattooga 41-0 on the Indians' home turf. As a result of his outstanding performance in the game, Richard Camp was named the Rome area's back of the week after an outstanding performance that saw him score two touchdowns, one of them on a 67-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.

Krystal celebrated their 32nd anniversary with a half-price special over the weekend, offering five Krystal hamburgers for a quarter. (Yes, you could actually get a hamburger for a nickel!)

Economy Auto Stores announced a shipment of new 82-channel 19" televisions for only $148. Of course, the addition of a UHF dial didn't do much for us in Rome, since it would be a few years since anyone in our broadcast area began offering UHF channels; wonder how many people bought a new TV figuring they'd have more channels to choose from?

Piggly Wiggly had first cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, New Plymouth ice cream for 39¢ a half-gallon, and fresh turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, peaches for 15¢ a pound, and Maxwell House coffee for 58¢ a pound. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, veal chops for 69¢ a pound, and beef liver for 19¢ a pound. A&P had rib steaks for 89¢ a pound, lettuce for 19¢ a head, and grapes for 17¢ a pound. Couch's had chuck steak for 59¢ a pound, Bama Jelly in a reusable glass for 33¢, and ocean perch for 29¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with Marnie (with Tippi Hedren & Sean Connery) at the DeSoto, South Pacific at the First Avenue, and Lawrence of Arabia at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week switch brought Robin & the Seven Hoods (with the Rat Pack— Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.), Lady In a Cage (with OIlivia de Havilland) at the First Avenue, and a forgettable double feature of The Jayhawkers and Walk a Tightrope at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Animals landed their first number one song this week in 1964 with "House of the Rising Sun." Other top ten hits included "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#2); "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#3); "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#4); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#5); "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#6); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#7); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#8); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#9); and "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#10).

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/31/1964 to 9/6/1964

At long last, a work order was issued for the East Rome US 411/US 27 interchange at the site then known as "Goat Hill." This was the first three-level traffic interchange in Georgia; it was planned so ambitiously because the state was confident that a direct connection from Rome to I-75 was forthcoming in the near future (little did they know that the Rollins family would devote a half-century to blocking that vital link).

State Revenue Agents destroyed another large still in the Texas Valley area, confiscating and then dumping more than 3000 gallons of moonshine. (No wonder that the Snuffy Smith comic strip, with it frequent jokes about "revenooers," was a popular part of the Rome News-Tribune's comic strip page!)

School registration numbers were tallied, and West Rome High School added almost fifty students, pushing enrollment up to 966 students for the 1964-1965 school year.  As a result, 11 teachers were added to the West Rome faculty, including Mrs. Robert Greene (English); Mrs. Elsie Washington (math); Mr. Jack Wiggins (drafting and math); Mr. Robert Greene (science); Ms. Carlee McCarter (typing); Mrs. Janice Vick (English); Mr. Novis Van Johnson (math and history); Mr. Bob Jones (chorus), Mr. Charles Anderson (math); Ms. Sandra Allen (reading) and Mrs. Betty Deadwyler, typing. (This includes 7th grade teachers, who were listed because the 7th grade was housed in the West Rome High School building at this time.)

Senior class officers were elected for the 1964-1965 school year; the new officers include Chris Lawler, president; Ken Payne, vice president; Carole Sewell, secretary; Gerry Law, treasurer, and Judy Wessenger, chaplain.

Mrs. Mann, sponsor of the West Rome yearbook The Watanyah, announced that Judi Burns had been chosen as senior editor and Muriel McAbee would serve as junior editor.

The West Rome Pep Club elected its officers for the school year: Janice Scherer, president; Ken Payne, vice president; Judy Wessenger, secretary; and Lynn Moore, treasurer.

Dalton surprised everyone by pulling off a 25-14 upset win over the Chieftains in West Rome's second football game of the season. Thankfully, this wasn't a region game, so it didn't hurt West Rome's hopes for a region championship.

Piggly Wiggly had chicken breasts for 45¢ a pound; Wellesley Farms ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon; and turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had Toppy brand bacon for 39¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 26¢ each, and hen turkeys for 49¢ a pound. Big Apple had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, large cans of pork and beans for a quarter, and a 32-ounce jar of peanut butter for 69¢. A&P had ground beef for 37¢ a pound, tomatoes for 15¢ a pound, and 20 ounces of Surf detergent for 28¢. Couch's had sliced bologna for 39¢ a pound, a 14-ounce bottle of Hunt's catsup for 15¢, and lemons for 4¢ each.

The cinematic week began with The Night of the Iguana at the DeSoto, The Killers at the First Avenue, and All the Way Home at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week change up brought Marnie to the DeSoto, Ride the Wild Surf to First Avenue, and Tom Jones (the movie, not the singer) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The Animals held on to the number one slot with "The House of The Rising Sun." Other top ten hits included "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#2); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#3); "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#4); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#5); "C'Mon and Swim" by Bobby Freeman (#6); "GTO" by Ronny & The Daytonas (#7); "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles (#8); "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#9); and "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#10). The number one album this week in 1964? Dean Martin's Everybody Loves Somebody, which was also the best-selling album of Martin's career.

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/24/1964 to 8/30/1964

Summer came to an end this week in 1964 as school registration took place on Wednesday, August 26th, with students returning to school on Thursday, August 27th.

Coach Kennedy told the Rome News-Tribune that he was "anxiously awaiting to see what this year's football team can do against the competition" after a week of intensive training at Berry College. The season began on Saturday night at Barron Stadium with the Chieftains facing off against the Coosa Eagles; West Rome won the game 14-0, with Dickie Sapp being selected as the Rome News-Tribune's lineman of the week for a 73-yard run that set up the first West Rome touchdown, followed later in the game by a 3-yard sweep to score the second touchdown.

Rome's McDonald's, less than a year old, experienced its first armed robbery on August 24th, 1964, when a gunman entered the store after closing, held up the staff at gunpoint, and made off with $875 in cash. By the end of the week, a Rome man and a Marietta man were arrested for the holdup.

The Rome/Floyd County economy continued to generate more good news: area banks reported that area economic activity increased by 7% over the same months in 1963, showing that both businesses and people were spending more money... and that they had more money to spend!

With Georgia law requiring that all cars pass a safety inspection before new tags could be issued beginning in 1965, Rome entrepreneurs were actively setting up inspection stations, with almost four dozen sites in Rome begin licensed to perform the inspections. All inspections had be performed between January 1st and March 31st, 1965; there was a maximum $5 fee per vehicle for the inspection.

Piggly Wiggly had Maxwell House Instant Coffee for $1.19 a jar (the 1960s and the 1970s were a boom period for instant coffee sales), shank portion ham for 35¢ a pound, and Coca-Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit for a 24-bottle case. Kroger had pork chops for 69¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and Kroger's ice milk for 29¢ a half-gallon. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Campbell's tomato soup for a dime a can, and ten pounds of potatoes for 49¢. Big Apple had snapper filets for 59¢ a pound, Big Apple bread for 19¢ a loaf, and Banquet frozen cream pies for 27¢ each. Couch's had baking hens for 29¢ each, five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and yellow corn for 6¢ an ear.

In the first half of the week, moviegoers could choose from What a Way to Go at the DeSoto, 633 Squadron at the First Avenue, and Who's Minding the Store? at the West Rome Drive-In. The last half of the week brought The Night of the Iguana to the DeSoto, The Killers to the First Avenue (perhaps the best film adaptation of any Ernest Hemingway novel!), and Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed? (with the unusual pairing of Dean Martin and Elizabeth Montgomery) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The Animals took number one this week in 1964 with "House of the Rising Sun." Other top ten hits included "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#2); "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#3); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#4); "C'Mon and Swim" by Bobby Freeman (#5); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#6); "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters (#7); "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles (#8); "How Do You Do It?" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#9--and a song that the Beatles previously recorded but chose not to release); and "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#10).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/17/1964 to 8/23/1964

Rome was particularly quiet in mid-August 1964.  School was just a week away, and students were already being bombarded with the usual pre-school advice: start going to bed earlier so you'll be ready for the first day, bring pencils and pens and paper and notebooks to school on the first day to take notes, make sure you know the bus schedule if you're riding the bus, etc.

Rome was still looking for teachers to fill last-minute vacancies; West Rome High School had only one remaining faculty vacancy as of August 19th, and the superintendent was confident that the system would find a qualified teacher by the time classes started.

Rome's economic engine continued to rev up: the Rome-Floyd County Chamber of Commerce reported that almost two dozen businesses were engaged in new construction or major expansion in Rome, including General Electric, the Fairbanks Co., Kay Townes Antenna, Integrated Products, Anderson Manufacturing, Fox Manufacturing, Parrish Bakeries, Rome Frozen Foods, and Rome Casket Company.

And if that won't enough good news, Rome and Floyd County also posted an unemployment rate of only 3.7%, with an annual payroll of $49.6 million, a 12" increase over the year before.

Most of us take the US 411/US 27 interchange for granted—after all, it's been there almost as long as most of us can remember—but in 1964, it wasn't there in its current state, and Rome business leaders and politicians were getting pretty darn frustrated. On August 20th, they voted to request the State Highway Department issue a conditional work order to let Ledbetter Brothers begin site prep while the final details were being negotiated.

Floyd County got its first automatic voting machines this week in 1964, just in time for the upcoming November Presidential elections. The machines were on display at the courthouse so that interested parties could come by and check them out to learn how the newfangled devices actually tabulated your votes.

Piggly Wiggly had Delmonico steaks for 99¢ a pound, white corn for a nickel an ear, and a 24-bottle case of Coke or Tab for 99¢ (and so the price creep began... that's a dime per case higher than they were charging in 1962 and early 1963, the first years I covered in this weekly nostalgic interlude). A&P had Libby's potted meat for a dime a can, half or whole hams for 49¢ a pound, and bananas for a dime a pound. Kroger had cubed steak for 79¢ a pound, Swift's bologna for 29¢ a pound, and a two-pound jar of Blue Plate apple jelly for 29¢. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, lamb shoulder roast for 19¢ a pound, and Swift's premium bacon for 49¢ a pound. Couch's had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, pink salmon for 29¢ a can, and a three-pound can of Snowdrift shortening for 59¢.

If you wanted to catch a movie the first half of the week, your choices were McHale's Navy (with Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, and the rest of the TV series cast) at the DeSoto, Paris When It Sizzles (with William Holden and Audrey Hepburn) at the First Avenue, and The Running Man (not the Stephen King film, the movie with Laurence Harvey and Lee Remick) at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week change up brought Robinson Crusoe on Mars (with Paul Mantee) to the First Avenue, What a Way to Go! to the DeSoto, and Walt Disney's Merlin Jones to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#2); "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#3); "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles (#4); "C'Mon and Swim" by Bobby Freeman (#5); "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters (#6); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#7); "Walk—Don't Run '64" by the Ventures (#8); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#9); and "How Do You Do It?" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#10).

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/10/1964 to 8/16/1964

On August 10th, the Rome News-Tribune shared the news that most students were just as happy not knowing: the final two weeks of summer vacation had arrived! School was scheduled to start back on August 27th, beginning the 1964-65 school year that would continue through June 1st. And yes, that meant that back in the mid-1960s, we did get almost three full months off for the summer... and we didn't back to class during what is traditionally the hottest part of the summer.

West Rome High School was allocated $65,000 for the construction of an industrial arts shop, contingent on the the school system receiving the scheduled funding from the Georgia Department of Education. Plans called for the shop to be up and running by the 1965-1966 school year.

Coach Paul Kennedy talked with the Rome News-Tribune about his prospects for the 1964 football season, and he was (as usual) cautious in his comments. "We think we're going to have a pretty good team, but you can never really tell," Coach Kennedy said. "Right now all we're concerned about is Coosa," the team that West Rome was set to play in their season opener on August 29th. "We certainly don't want to go into that game over-confident. We realize that Coosa is going to be a strong club, and against us, we expect them to become super-human." Coach Kennedy had good things to say about quarterbacks Ronnie Kennedy and Ronnie Parker, along with returning players Jerry Coalson, Gordon Walden, Ken Payne, Dickie Sapp, Donnie Hill, and Richard Camp.

Low unemployment and a strong emphasis on education (complete with lower class sizes) left many school systems—including Rome's—with a teacher shortage as the school year began. The state estimated they would have 1,000 unfilled positions at the start of school, while the Rome school system had eight unfilled positions, including one at West Rome. School superintendent M.S. McDonald said that the shortage "won't prevent the opening of any schools, but we may have to double up in some classes."

The start of a news school year meant back to school shopping, and Miller's Department Store cashed in on new clothes shopping with a Seventeen Fashion Show on Wednesday, August 12th, hosted by Pat Sadowsky, editor of Seventeen Magazine. Door prizes included a Magnavox stereo system, a Bulova Caravelle watch, and (of course) clothes from Bobbie Brooks and other manufacturers. More than 300 teenage girls showed up for the event. Meanwhile, Sears announced extended hours, staying open until 9pm for the two weeks leading up to school's start. And everyone got in on the act for the weekend as Rome merchants celebrated "August Dollar Days" on Friday and Saturday with their biggest bargains of the season on clothes, school supplies, and more.

Merchants had every reason to be excited about the sales season: the Federal Reserve released June's department store sales numbers in mid-August, and it showed that Rome sales were up 15% over the same month in 1964, while furniture stores reported a 2% growth. Charge account balances were 12% higher, but Romans were paying off those accounts in an average of 68 days, compared to 77 days in 1963.

After two weeks of extremely hot weather with temperatures reaching the mid and upper 90s, Rome got a break in mid-August when a cool front dropped highs to the low 80s and lows to the mid-50s. Considering how few homes had central air conditioning in 1964, this was undoubtedly appreciated by many of us in West Rome!

Piggly Wiggly had chicken breasts for 39¢ a pound, Plymouth coffee for 69¢ a pound, and ten pounds of potatoes for 49¢. Kroger had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and (no, I'm not making this up) Cantaloupe a la Mode for 25¢ each—and yes, that was a half a cantaloupe with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of it!  (I'll wait while you make the appropriate ewww sounds...) Big Apple had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, JFG coffee for 59¢, and Georgia peaches for 19¢ a pound. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, canned biscuits for 8¢ a can, and corn for a nickel an ear. Couch's had Oscar Mayer hot dogs for 49¢ a pound, Blue Plate jelly for 33¢ a jar, and fresh okra for 15¢ a pound (and I can almost smell Mom's fried okra...).

The cinematic week began with the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night at the DeSoto, The Carpetbaggers at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Come Blow Your Horn (with Frank Sinatra) and Hud (with Paul Newman) at the West Rome Drive-In. McHale's Navy set sail from television to the big screen at the DeSoto for the last half of the week, while The New Interns (with Dean Jones, Telly Savalas, Barbara Eden, and Stefanie Powers) made its Rome premiere at both the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In.

The Supremes took the number one position this week in 1964 with "Where Did Our Love Go?" Other top ten hits included "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#2); "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles (#3); "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters (#4); "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#5); "C'mon and Swim" by Bobby Freeman (#6); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#7); "Walk—Don't Run '64" by the Ventures (#8); "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield (#9); and ""How Do You Do It?" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#10).

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/3/1964 to 8/9/1964

This was a quiet week in West Rome. Summer was coming to an end, and the school year was looming in the not-too-distant future. August began appropriately hot and dry, but to kids enjoying their last weeks of freedom, the was no problem.

The Rome City Board of Education completed its analysis of a potential city-county school system merger, and they concluded that "there would be no purpose to the merger unless the children of both systems were provided with better educational opportunities than are available at present."  Apparently the final decision was that such benefits were not present, since there never was a city or county vote to approve the merger.

Federal government red tape slowed down construction of the East Rome Hwy 411/Hwy 27 interchange. Ledbetter construction spokespeople and district highway engineer WH Jackson were both convinced that the delay would be very brief, and assured Romans that the construction would still be completed on time.

Brazelton-Wallis Printing Company and C&H Transportation both announced expansion plans; the two companies confirmed that they would be relocating just a couple of miles from West Rome High School, on Redmond Court.

Adults who never earned their high school diplomas got a second change as the GED Test was administered in early August at West Rome High School. Testees had to be 20 years of age or older, and they had to supply their own pencils and paper in order to take the test.

The General Forrest Hotel was the site of the Northwest Georgia Coin Show on August 7th and 8th; admission was free, and more than a thousand Romans attended the event.

Piggly Wiggly had lamb shoulder roast for 23¢ a pound, corn for a nickel an ear, and a 20-ounce jar of Maxwell House Instant Coffee for $1.39. Big Apple had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and Libby's Vienna sausages for 19¢ a can. Kroger had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, Duke's mayonnaise for 39¢ a quart, and four rolls of Northern bathroom tissue for 29¢. A&P had 10 pounds of Good Loaf flour for 99¢, pork roast for 29¢  pound, and Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. Couch's had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, Shopper's Bacon for 49¢ a pound, and Campbell's tomato soup for a mere dime a can (how nice that one of my favorite foods was also so very inexpensive!).

The cinematic week began with Walt Disney's The Moonspinners at the Desoto, The Carpetbaggers at the First Avenue, and The Longest Day at the West Rome Drive-In. The Beatles hit Rome in mid-week as A Hard Day's Night began its run at the DeSoto Theater, The Carpetbaggers hung around for a second week at the First Avenue, and The Sword in the Stone brought Arthurian legendry to the West Rome Drive-In.

Just as A Hard Day's Night finally came to Rome, the film's title song fell out of first place on the Top Ten charts. "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin leapt to first place; other top ten hits included "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#2); "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles (#3); "Rag Doll" by the Four Seasons (#4); "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters (#5); "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield (#6); "Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)" by Jan & Dean (#7); "C'mon and Swim" by Bobby Freeman (#8); "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" by the Jelly Beans (#9); and "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#10). However, the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night album did hold onto its number one position for another week.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/27/1964 to 8/2/1964

Seventh District congressman John W. Davis, a Democrat, discussed with Romans the many positive effects of the 1964 tax cuts. "Present indications are that the lightening of the tax burden, along with the general state of good health of the nation, is producing results of a most beneficial nature," Davis said, adding that "federal government spending is running well below earlier official estimates," while "federal tax collections are running well above earlier official projections. Rising business activity has resulted in higher collections from more prosperous taxpayers." Davis went on to reveal that the Treasury's cash balance as of June 30, 1964, was 22% higher than had been anticipated because of the solid economic growth. (If only today's politicians--particularly members of John W. Davis's party--would take a look back to 1964 in their search for a solution to economic torpor and malaise!...)

Meanwhile, Rome banks showed a 23% gain in bank debits (which included checks and other withdrawals from demand deposit accounts); the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said that growth in bank deposits was considered one of the most reliable indicators of a growth in business activity. (Low unemployment, lower taxes, increased revenues, decreased federal spending, escalating business growth and activity... 1964 continued to shape up as a very good year indeed!)

Chieftains Nelson Payne, Tony Baker, and Derell Brookshire were selected to attend Brevard Music Center's Transylvania Music Camp during the summer of 1964. They were the only Romans who took part in the invitation-only music camp.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and half-gallons of Borden's sherbet for 39¢ each. Kroger had chicken livers for 49¢ a pound, corn for 7¢ an ear, and a 12-ounce can of Spam for 39¢. Big Apple had ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, watermelons for 39¢ each, and whole fryers for 25¢ a pound. A& P had a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit, canned biscuits for 6¢ a can,and round steak for 79¢ a pound. Couch's had Wilson's pork sausage for 29¢ a pound, sardines for a dime a can, and a ten-pound bag of potatoes for 49¢.

The cinematic week began with The Patsy (with Jerry Lewis) at the DeSoto Theater, Zulu at the First Avenue, and Fun in Acapulco (with Elvis Presley) at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week movie changeout brought Walt Disney's The Moonspinners to the DeSoto, The Carpetbaggers (with George Peppard, Bob Cummings, & Alan Ladd) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Gunfight at the OK Corral and Legend of Sleepy Hollow to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles. Other top ten hits included "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#2); "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#3); "Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)" by Jan & Dean (#4); "Rag Doll" by the Four Season (#5); "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield (#6); "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters (#7); "Dang Me" by Roger Miller (#8); "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" by the Jelly Beans (#9); and "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys (#10).  The Beatles also held on to the top two album positions with A Hard Days Night at #1 and Something New at #2.