Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/14/1967 to 8/20/1967

Politics never changes: Floyd County residents were upset fifty years ago when they discovered that tax money had been used to pay for road paving for a road that only served one resident: Representative Sidney Lowrey. $1200.00 in tax money had been used to pave the road that was in effect little more than a private driveway. County ‘Attorney George Anderson said that the road was listed as county right-of-way on the land plat, so the paving was justified as a county expense, but he had no immediate response when residents asked why the county paved all the way “up to his carport, his tool shed, and his barn” on Rep. Lowrey’s private property.

Jean Smiderski, 1967-68 West Rome Student Council President, attended the National Student Council and Honor Society Leadership ‘Camp in Sandusky, Ohio. 

Coach Paul Kennedy discussed the upcoming football season with Don Biggers of the Rome News-Tribune. “Injuries—or rather, the lack of them—will be the key to our season,” Coach Kennedy said. “We have only 29 boys on the varsity squad, and that means we don’t have much depth in any position. But because of the small squad, we have been able to devote more time to individual work.” Coach Kennedy also said that the 1967-1968 football schedule was the toughest in West Rome history, with the Chiefs facing off against Dalton, Carrollton, and Lafayette in the first four weeks of the season.

Five juveniles and one 18-year-old were arrested on Monday,. August 14th, for operating a regional car theft ring. The six-person theft ring were responsible for thefts in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, and Atlanta. The dirty half-dozen were caught after they left one of the stolen cars parked in front of the home of one of the thieves. 

The Big Apple grocery store in West Rome called in the authorities after they discovered several counterfeit $10 and $20 bills in the register of one of their cashiers. The US Secret Service was called in, and they reported tha the cashier had given a pretty clear description of the suspect who had paid with the bills. Once the news of counterfeiting got out, though other stores in West Rome also reported having received bogus bills in the prior week, including Super-Discount, Buy-Wise, Redford's, and Enloe's Rexall Drugs.

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, bell peppers for 7¢ each, and Libby’s fruit cocktail for 20¢ a can (and it contained real cherries back then, not just grapes dyed red!). A&P had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, white corn for 6¢ an ear, and Ann Page bread for 25¢ a loaf. Kroger had smoked hams for 45¢ a pound, eggs for 35¢ a dozen, and potatoes for 9¢ a pound. Big Apple had ground beef for 39¢  pound, Banquet cream pies for 22¢ each, and honeydew melons for 79¢ each. Couch’s had chicken livers for 49¢ a pound, fresh okra for 19¢ a pound, and Blue Plate barbecue sauce for 29¢ a bottle.

The cinematic week began with Barefoot in the Park (starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, and Taming of the Shrew (starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) at the First Avenue. The midweek switchout brought Way West (starring Kirk Douglas) to the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, while The Taming of the Shrew hung around for another week at the First Avenue.


The Beatles took number one this week in 1967 with “All You Need Is Love.” Other top ten hits included “Light My Fire” by the Doors (#2); “Pleasnt Valley Sunday” by the Monkees (#3); “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder (#4); “Baby I Love You” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by The Buckinghams (#6); “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry” (#7); “Cold Sweat—Part 1” by James Brown and the Famous Flames (#8); “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#9); and “A Girl Like You” by the Young Rascals (#10). 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/7/1967 to 8/13/1967

We were still enjoying summer fifty years ago in West Rome, because school wasn’t scheduled to start back until August 28th (almost a full month after school’s 2017 starting date). The school buildings weren’t empty during the summer, though: maintenance workers were busy painting classrooms, stripping and waxing floors, repairing and/or replacing damaged equipment, and more in preparation for students’ return. (One thing they weren't repairing was the air conditioning at West Rome… because there wasn’t any!) The only thing that mattered to students, though, was that there were still two more glorious weeks of summer before school opened for the 1967-1968 school year.

Investigators came to Rome looking for evidence related to a theft of 412 sticks of dynamite from a Cartersville storage bin in mid-July. Some of the stick were used to build a bomb that killed  Piedmont circuit solicitor general Floyd G. Hoard on Monday afternoon; Hoard was involved in a complex prosecution involving a car theft ring and a moonshining operation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation would not give any information regarding their reasons for thinking that there might be Rome links to the crime.

The City of Rome authorized $156,000 in expenditures to improve and modernize the city’s transit system—although they didn’t have to come up with all of the cash. The Department of Housing and Urban Development was willing to put in $2 for every $1 that the city spent, so the real cost to the city was only $53,000. Plans called for 35 new buses to hit the streets of Rome within 30 days. Since Rome used city buses for school bus duty as well, this meant a safer, more comfortable ride for some students once the new buses were put into service.

Rome’s job options improved with the announcement that Trend Mills was building a major addition to its Rome facility. The expansion was expected to produce another 150 jobs in the Rome area.

Piggly Wiggly had 3-Pound Swift’s Canned Hams for $2.89 each, nectarines for 29¢ a pound, and Heinz tomato soup for a dime a can. Kroger had ground beef for 35¢ a pound, Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and Kroger bread for 18¢ a loaf. A&P had round steak for 77¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound, and blueberries for 39¢ a pint. Big Apple had fresh whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, Duke’s mayonnaise for 29¢ a jar, and cantaloupes for 33¢ each. Couch’s had cube steak for 79¢ a pound, tomatoes for a dime a pound, and Coca-Cola/Tab/Sprite for $1.19 a case plus deposit.

The cinematic week began with El Dorado (starring John Wayne & Robert Mitchum) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In and A Guide for the Married Man (starring Walter Matthau) at the First Avenue Theatre. The midweek switch out brought Barefoot in the Park (staring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda) to the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In and The Taming of the Shrew (starring Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton) to the First Avenue. (Hard to believe that, with so few screens in Rome, the theatre owners insisted on running the same movie at the DeSoto and the Drive-in, thereby reducing our choices even more.)

The Doors held on to the number slot for another week with “Light My Fire.” Other top ten hits included “‘All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles (#2); “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder (#3); “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by the Monkees (#4); “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the Buckinghams (#5); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli (#6); “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#7); Windy by the Association (#8); “Carrie-Anne” by the Hollies (#9); and “A Girl Like You” by the Young Rascals (#10). 

What a n impressive list of albums in the Top Five: the Billboard list for the week included Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles (#1); Headquarters by the Monkees (#2); Flowers by the Rolling Stones (#3); Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane (#4) and The Doors by… well, you know (#5).

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/31/1967 to 8/6/1967

How did Rome have so much crime without me knowing about it? Two burglaries (one at an area bait shop, the other at a tavern), a larceny at a service station, and an auto theft from a downtown parking lot—and was all on one day (July 31st). Tuesday, August 1st saw a house burglary in a home off Alabama Road (but in this case, three men were arrested less than 24 hours after the burglary occurred). Thursday brought reports of two more service station break-ins, including Camp’s service station on Shorter Avenue. And more tools were stolen on Friday, this time from Rome Automobile Company.

Two Chieftains—Benny Padgett and Anthony Slafta—were chosen to play on the North team in the Georgia High School Association mid-summer Athletic Classic in Savannah on August 3rd. Alas, the two West Rome players weren't enough to secure a win for the North, as the South took the game 7-0.

Barron Stadium finished a major revamp on August 6th, just in time for the high school football season to begin in late August. The renovation included new bleachers, twin scoreboards on both sides of the stadium, an all-new pressbox, new concession stands, a resurfaced track, new sod, and more. 

Hal M. Polk, formerly of Forest High School in Forest, Mississippi, was chosen to become West Rome’s new band director. Rome  City Schools conducted an extensive search, interviewing more than a dozen applicants before selecting Mr. Polk.

A casting agent for Batjac Productions came to Rome on August 5th the interview males of Asian heritage for minor roles in the John Wayne film The Green Berets, which was slated to begin filming at Fort Benning and in the Columbus area. 

TV watchers looking for a relative bargain”could add a “giant screen 22 inch" Motorola console color TV to their home for only $509.00 (the equivalent of $3600+ in today's dollars), thanks to a sale at General Tire Company. Sears countered with a 23” console color TV for $549, while Rome Radio had a 21” Philco tabletop color TV for only $429.00. So why the push for TVs? Probably because the fall season was only weeks away, and in the pre-DVR, pre-streaming, pre-VHS, pre-DVD, pre-blu-ray era, the fall season launch was a Big Event in most households, and almost a third of all annual TV sales occurred in the month before the new viewing season kicked off.

Eastern Airlines (remember them?) and Cherokee Air Taxi announced changed on their daily schedules between Rome and Atlanta. Eastern lights were scheduled to leave Atlanta at 10am every day and arrive in Rome at 10:34am. Return flights were scheduled to leave Rome at 11:10am and arrive in Atlanta at 11:44am. Cherokee flights were scheduled to leave Atlanta at 10:41am and arrive i Rome at 11:21am. Return flights were scheduled to leave at 11:26am and arrive in Atlanta at 12:06. And here’s proof that it was a different era: flyers were urged to arrive at the gate at least ten minutes before the departure time. 

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 93¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 39¢ each, and ten pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 89¢. Kroger had smoked ham for 59¢ a pound, white grapes for a quarter a pound, and Kroger bread for 18¢ a loaf. Big Apple had pork roast for 47¢ a pound, Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and yellow corn for 8¢ an ear. A&P had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, strawberries for 39¢ a pint, and Prell shampoo for 49¢ a bottle. Couch’s had ground steak for 69¢ a pound, large eggs for 39¢ a dozen ,and Van Camp chili with beans for 29¢ a can.

the cinematic week began with The Dirty Dozen (starring Lee Marvin) at the DeSoto Theatre, Caprice (starring Doris Day) at the First Avenue, and Banning (starring Robert Wagner) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought El Dorado (with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum) to the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, and A Guide for the Married Man (starring Walter Matthau and Robert Morse) to the First Avenue.

The Doors held on to number one for a second week with “Light My Fire.” Other top ten hits included “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder (#2); “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles (#3); “Windy” by the Association (#4); “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#5); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli (#6); “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the Buckinghams (#7); “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane (#8); “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by the Monkees (#9); and “Little Bit O’ Soul” by the Music Explosion (#10). 

Bobbie Gentry released her debut album, Ode to Billie Joe, this week in 1967. The album's title song would go on to become one of the most memorable hits from the 1960s.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/24/1967 to 7/30/1967

Rome’s efforts to eliminate obscene magazines from the newsstands, bookstores, and magazine racks kicked into high gear with the creation of the Rome-Floyd County Commission on Clean Literature. The commission had no legal authority to take any action against stores carrying such magazines, but they intended to contact stores and ask them to remove the magazines; if that didn’t work, they’d send in local customers to try to persuade the store owner to reconsider; and if that failed, they’d try to organize protests at the stores in question. The group was made up of a coalition of civic and religious leaders, including West Rome’s own Nick Hyder, school superintendent JS McDonald, Ben Lucas, and Jerry Bryant. (And more than one West Rome store got a call because of their magazine racks—although very few apparently did anything more than put the Playboys on the top shelf, or behind the counter. I suspect they discovered that many of those local customers they hoped to utilize to persuade the stores to discontinue Playboy were actually some of the store's Playboy customers.)

 The State Highway Department began taking bids for construction of a four-lane highway from Shorter Avenue, North Elm Street,and Lavender Drive to Redmond Circle; from there the highway would bear west and then south, connecting to Shorter Avenue/Alabama Road at West Rome High School. The project was fast-tracked in hopes that it could be finished at about the same time that Gala Shopping Center was scheduled to open.

And the burglaries continued: thieves broke into Andrews Motor Company on the night of July 27th, stealing a large quantity of tools, an adding machine, and a timing light. They apparently loaded all of the items into a 1967 automobile, which they then stole to haul away their goodies.

Piggly Wiggly had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and tomatoes for 19¢ a pound. A&P had country ham for 79¢ a pound, blueberries for 39¢ a pint, and Armour Vienna sausages for 23¢ a can. Big Apple had ground beef for 35¢ a pound, eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and tall cans of salmon for 59¢ each. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, lemons for 49¢ a dozen, and 10 pounds of russet potatoes for 59¢. Couch’s had chicken breasts for 49¢ a pound, Blue Plate peach preserves for 33¢ a jar, and fresh okra for 19¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with The Dirty Dozen (starring Lee Marvin) at the DeSoto Theatre, Hawaii (starring Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Born Losers (starring Tom Laughlin) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Caprice (starring Doris Day) to the First Avenue and Fancy Pants (starring Bob Hope) to the West Rome Drive-In, while The Dirty Dozen remained captive at the DeSoto for another week.

The Doors sizzled at number one with “Light My Fire” this week in 1967. Other top ten hits included “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder (#2); “Windy” by the Association (#3); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli (#4); “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#5); “Little Bit O’ Soul” by The Music Explosion (#6); “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the Buckinghams (#7); “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane (#8); “Up—Up and Away” by the 5th Dimension (#9); and “C’Mon Marianne” by the Four Seasons featuring the Sound of Frankie Valli (#10).

Gold Key launched its Star Trek comic book series this week in 1967. While the comic wasn’t particularly faithful to the TV series in every detail, it was the first authorized expansion of the Star Trek canon, and for those of us who couldn’t enough of the Enterprise and its crew, this was a must-have.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/16/1967 to 7/23/1967

In 1967, there was only one cable providing telephone service from Rome to Atlanta, and a construction crew working near Acworth managed to cut that cable smack dab in two on July 18th. It took them until mid-day on July 19th to restore some phone service between Rome and Atlanta, but it would take yet another day before full service was restored. Southern Bell routed emergency calls from Rome to Chattanooga and then back down to Atlanta to ensure that the most urgent calls got through, but that connection could only handle about 1% of the total Rome-to-Atlanta phone traffic.

And speaking of phone service, Southern Bell began upgrading phone service to West Rome beginning on the afternoon on Friday, July 21st, and continuing through the late night hours of Saturday, July 22nd—but that meant that they had to shut down three of four lanes on Shorter Avenue both at Division Street and near the Underpass in order to do it. Workers were upgrading the phone conduit to handle the increased phone service demands brought on by rapid growth in West Rome, and that involved digging up a large portion of Shorter Avenue at both locations. “Motorists should, if possible, use an alternate route,” Police Chief Nelson “Stating the Obvious” Camp said. Thankfully, everything was back to normal by Sunday morning.

Rome’s first “high rise” apartments, the six-story Wilson Hardy Apartments on North Fifth Avenue, were completely open for business (and fully rented out) from the very first day this week in 1967. Run by the Rome Housing Authority, the high-rise was comprised entirely of efficiency and one or two bedroom apartments targeted at elderly and low-income residents. Rents started at $30 a month and topped out at $50 a month, including all utilities; to qualify to live in the apartments, residents could not earn more than $3100 a year.

I have no recollection of a boat and camper trailer business located on Division Street, but apparently one Raymond Ramsey operated just such a business—and had in fact done so since 1953. Problem is, he never applied for a business license until 1966… and his business was located right in the middle of an area zoned residential only. The Rome City Commission took less than two hours to rule that Mr. Ramsey had thirty days to close down his business and relocate; in addition, they fined him $25 for not having applied for a business license in all the preceding years. (I guess he made out okay there, since the cost of the license was $5 and he had avoided paying it for fifteen years, which worked out to a 66% discount.)

Rome Foods Company expanded their West Rome facility on Lavender Drive in the summer of 1967, adding a 16,000 square foot building for dry-food storage. This was the second expansion project for the business (formerly known as Rome Frozen Foods) since they opened the West Rome facility in 1963; when finished, the expansion would create an estimated 35 more jobs.

Coosa Valley Vocational Technical School (aka Coosa Valley Tech) announced the addition of new 13-week evening classes. The courses offered included Slide Rule and Algebra (remember slide rules?), Engineering Drafting, Technical Writing, Trigonometry, Survey of Machine Tools, Physics II, Testing of Materials; and Speed Mathematics. The school said that other evening courses might be added in the next year, and they were looking to eventually expand their program to offer full certification in a number of areas through evening courses, since many of their students were also working day jobs.

Financial growth in Rome continued in 1967, with total bank deposits growing by 6% to $17.6 million between June 1966 and June 1967. Loans had also increased by 6% over the prior year, at $10.27 million.

Piggly Wiggly had Coca-Cola/Tab/Sprite/Fresca for 33¢ a carton plus deposit, white corn for 6¢ an ear, and never-popular beef liver for 29¢ a pound. Kroger had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, Maxwell House instant coffee for $1.39 a jar (looking back on it, I don’t really understand why instant coffee was so popular in the 1960s, but it seemed like every coffee-drinking family kept a jar of it around alongside their ground coffee—and I remember some friends’ families switching entirely to instant), and Southern Maid applesauce for 12¢ a jar. Big Apple had Rath Black Label bacon for 79¢ a pound, American Beauty pork & beans for 19¢ a can, and fresh okra for a quarter a pound. A&P had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 39¢ each, and Bama dill pickles for 31¢ a jar. Couch’s had their in-store-ground sausage for 59¢ a pound (I still remember this as perhaps the most flavorful sausage I ever tasted), Castleberry’s beef stew for 49¢ a can, and squash for a dime a pound.

The cinematic week began with Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the DeSoto Theatre, Hawaii (starring Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Double Trouble (starring Elvis Presley) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch out brought The Dirty Dozen (starring Lee Marvin) to the DeSoto Theatre and Born Losers (the first Billy Jack film, starring Tom Laughlin) to the West Rome Drive-In, while Hawaii refused to relinquish its grip on the First Avenue Theatre box office.

The Association’s “Windy” held onto the number one slot for the fourth week fifty years ago. Other top ten hits included “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli (#2—and am I the only person bothered by the fact that the name of this single is wrong? Even the posted lyrics are wrong! Frankie Valli definitely sings “can’t take my eyes off of you,” but since the “of” is grammatically incorrect, the song title has been corrected to reflect proper grammar—and so have the posted lyrics, even though it throws off the rhythm of the song and it isn’t what he sings!)l “Light My Fire” by the Doors (#3); “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie (#4); “Little Bit O’ Soul”: by the Music Explosion (#5); “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder (#6); “Up—Up and Away” by the 5th Dimension (#7); “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#8); “C’Mon Marianne” by the Four Seasons Featuring the Sound of Frankie Valli (#9: and “Come On Down to My Boat” by Every Mother’s Son (#10).

Friday, July 07, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/10/1967 to 7/16/1967

Apparently Rome had a lot more crime than I remembered: in the early morning hours of July 10th, burglars broke into Owens Hardware, used heavy tools to “beat and rip open” the large double-door safe at the rear of the business, and stole an undetermined amount of cash and fifteen pistols with an estimated value of $800.00. The thieves left behind twelve rolls of pennies. On the same evening, burglars also broke into Enloe’s Drug Store at West End Shopping Center through a hole in the roof, and made off with $9.00. Yeah, nine bucks—and they didn’t take any merchandise or drugs, just the paltry amount of cash.

The next night, burglars broke into the Floyd County School Maintenance Center on US Highway 27, where they stole $60.00 in cash and some tools; Aristocrat Ice Cream Company, where they broke into a safe and stole $800.00 in cash; Rome Tool & Die Company, where they stole $30.00 in cash and about $500.00 worth of tools (and they apparently used the tools from Rome Tool & Die to break into the safe at Aristocrat Ice Cream); and Fred Lothridge Construction Company, where they stole $1500.00 worth of tools. This made six burglaries in two days—a Rome record, according to the police.

Two nights later, five service stations across Floyd County were hit by burglars The widely scattered locations—from Highway 27 South to Highway 27 North to West Rome to Kingston Highway—led the police to conclude that they weren’t dealing with a single set of thieves, but with a group of opportunistic burglars who may have been inspired by reports of local burglaries. 

On the evening of July 13th the Floyd County Board of Health gave Watson Street residents their say regarding their complaints against Minge Cement Company in a meeting that the Rome News-Tribune described as “one of the more active sessions of the year.” After hearing residents talk about heavy layers of dust, stagnant water, mosquitoes, noise, smells, and more, Rome City Commissioner Leroy Hancock (who was also a member of the Board of Health) said, “I think they have a very definite nuisance. Even though they now maybe do’t have pollution laws with teeth in them, they will have.” He went on to say that a mistake was made in granting a permit for the cement plant right next to residences, and that "it shouldn’t have ever been allowed there to start with." The situation got even more complicated when the Board of Health revealed that Judge Scoggin had requested that  residents not request the closing of the plant because it would slow down area construction projects—and then, a couple of weeks later, Judge Scoggin was assigned to hear the case after fellow judge Jerry Minge asked that the residents’ suit be thrown out. In spite of the conflict, Judge Scoggin failed to recuse himself and ruled against the residents. At the end of the meeting, County Board of Health Chairman  James Mehaffey told the residents, “I will do everything I can within my power to help you,” while Jerry Minge dismissed the residents and their complaints as “childish.”
Cities and counties were pushing for local option sales taxes in the mid-1960s, but Governor Lester Maddox was firmly opposed to the idea, “This tax would mean that when you have to go to Atlanta and purchase something you can’t find in Rome, your hard-earned money would stay in Atlanta, and would not benefit your home county or city at all,” Maddox said.

One thing that Rome City Schools and Floyd County Schools were NOT pushing for in 1967: year-round schools. Both system reported that there would be major problems if Georgia went to year-round schools. The problems were primarily financial: higher facilities maintenance costs, higher student transportation costs, higher salaries, and a maximum allowable school tax millage rate would cause problems for both the city and the county systems. If you really focused, you could probably hear students all over the city and the county cheering the news...

Heavy rain hit the Rome area on Monday, July 10th caused scattered flooding. Naturally, the creek on Paris Drive, which ran right behind Conn Street homes, flooded; residents reported that it was the worst flood in the Conn Street area since the city cleaned out the creek bed a couple of years before. The heavy rains pushed the Oostanaula Rover to 18.8 feet, which was more than ten feet above normal level. 

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, Irvindale ice milk for 29¢ a half-gallon; and Castleberry beef stew for 49¢ a pound. Kroger had fresh fryers for 29¢ a pound, Morton’s frozen pot pies for 20¢ each, and Heinz barbecue sauce for a quarter a bottle. A&P had round steak for 79¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound, and a pound of Jane Parker potato chips for 59¢. Big Apple had Oscar Mayer hot dogs for 39¢ a pack, Wishbone salad dressing for 39¢ a bottle, and watermelons for 99¢ each. Couch’s had smoked ham for 39¢ a pound, tomatoes for 15¢ a pound, and Merita bread for 37¢ a loaf.

The cinematic week began with You Only Live Twice (starring Sean Connery as James Bond) at the DeSoto Theatre, Hawaii (starring Julie Andrews) at the DeSoto Theatre, and Hell on Wheels (starring Marty Robbins) at the West Rome Drive-In. (You Only Live Twice was the second James Bond film my parents allowed me to see in the theatre—the first was Thunderball. They had turned down my pleas to see Goldfinger because they thought it was too mature for a pre-adolescent because of the well-publicized gold-painted nekkid lady at the beginning. Having given me a set of Ian Fleming’s novels the Christmas afterwards, though, they decided to have faith in me and let me see Thunderball at the DeSoto. So by the time You Only Live Twice came out, there was no doubt I was going to see it—the only question was “how many times?” The answer was four. Hey, it was summer, I loved James Bond, and the DeSoto Theatre had great air conditioning as well as tasty popcorn!) The midweek switchout brought Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to the DeSoto Theatre and Double Trouble (starring Elvis Presley) to the West Rome Drive-In, while Hawaii maintained a beachhead at the First Avenue for another week.

The Association’s “Windy” blew away the competition to hold onto the number one slot for third time this week in 1967. Other top ten hits included “Little Bit O’ Soul” by the  Music Explosion (#2); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off  You” by Frankie Valli (#3); “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie (#4); “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” by Petula Clark (#5); “Come On Down to My Boat” by Every Mother’s Son (#6); “Up—Up and Away” by the 5th Dimension (#7); “Light My Fire” by the Doors (#8); “C’Mon Marianne” by the 4 Seasons with Frankie Valli (#9); and “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#10). 

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band climbed to the number one spot on the album charts this week in 1967, knocking the Monkees out of first place. And what a weird top ten albums chart it was—two Monkees album, a Herb Alpert album, a Bill Cosby album, an Andy Williams album, a Doors album, a Jefferson Airplane album, an Aretha Franklin album, and the soundtrack to Doctor Zhivago. Talk about something for all tastes!…

Adam Warlock made his first appearance in Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, & Joe Sinnott’s Fantastic Four #67, on sale this week in 1967. This was also the week that Avengers Annual #1 premiered, pitting the Avengers against the Mandarin in a 49-page feature-length tale by Roy Thomas & Don Heck.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/3/1967 to 7/9/1967

The complaints by Mr. Patterson and his Watson Street neighbors regarding noise, dust, and debris from the Minge cement plant (reported here last week) struck paydirt: The chairman of the Floyd County Board of Health immediately directed a full-scale investigation into the residents’ complaints to determine if the Minge plant qualified as a health hazard. “A special meeting of the Health Board will be called immediately after the investigation has been completed and all data has been compiled,” Health Board Chairman James Mehaffey said. “We will be diligent in our efforts to determine whether residents of this area are being subjected to a health hazard.” Needless to say, the residents were very pleased with the news. “This is better than we could have hoped for,” Mr. Patterson said, who had been frustrated for many months by Judge Minge allegedly using his position at the courthouse to manipulate the residents’ case in favor of his family’s cement business.

In response to student complaints that Rome City summer school classrooms were too hot, the city proposed a change: they would start summer school classes at 6:30 am rather than 8am, which would enable students to leave at 10:30am rather than noon. Apparently the complaining students decided the classroom weren’t all that intolerable after all, since the school system ended up sticking with the 8am-noon schedule for the rest of the summer.

After several years, prices on color TVs began to drop in 1967, with Sears offering 23” color TVs (the largest size color TV offered in 1967) coming in as low as $369 for a 23” table model and $469 for a 23” walnut console color TV. While this is the equivalent of $2775 and $3525 in today’s dollars (in other words, just about the same price you’d pay for a high-quality 75” 4K TV today that has more screen space than nine 23” TVs), it was the first year that a color console crossed into the sub-$500 range. That might explain why a lot more families began adding color TVs to their homes in the late 1960s.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, white corn for 8¢ an ear, and okra for 19¢ a pound. Big Apple had fresh whole fryers for 27¢ a pound, pinto beans for 10¢  a pound, and Maxwell House coffee for 55¢ a pound. Kroger had pork chops for 59¢ a pound, tomatoes for a dime a pound, and Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon. A&P had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ a can, and locally grown tomatoes for 29¢ a pound.  Couch's had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, lettuce for a dime a head, and Irvindale ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon.

The cinematic week began with You Only Live Twice (starring Sean Connery) at the DeSoto Theatre, Hawaii (starring Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and A Fistful of Dollars (starring Clint Eastwood) at the West Rome Drive-In. You Only Live Twice and Hawaii hung around for another week, while the West Rome Drive-In brought in Hell on Wheels (starring Marty Robbins) for the weekend.

The Association held on to the number one song this week in 1967 with “Windy,” which hit the top of the charts for a second week. Other top ten hits included “Little Bit O’ Soul” by the Music Explosion (#2); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli (#3); “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie (#4); “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” by Petula Clark (#5); “Come On Down to My Boat” by Every Mother’s Son (#6); “Up—Up and Away” by the 5th Dimension (#7); “Let’s Live For Today” by the Grass Roots (#8); “Groovin’” by the Young Rascals (#9); and “The Tracks of My Tears” by Johnny Rivers (#10).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 6/26/1967 to 7/2/21967

West Rome residents living on and near Watson Street picketed Minge Inc. to protest the presence of a Minge-owned concrete mixing plant adjacent to their homes. The residents asserted that a concrete mixing plant should qualify as heavy industrial, while the area where the plant was located was only zoned for light industrial. Part of the problem was that any suit had to work its way through the legal system in Rome, and one of the owners of Minge Inc. was none other than Judge Jerry L. Minge, who had very unflattering things to say about the residents and their protests. He stressed that he was speaking only as a company owner and not as a judge… but oddly enough, he had no trouble finding judges who were willing to help him work the legal system against the homeowners. The case was supposed to be heard in the May term of the court, but for unknown reasons, that case number was never brought up (gee, I wonder how that happened?). Homeowner W.C. Patterson submitted photos showing piles of gravel within seven feet of a Watson Street home, explaining that the continual noise and dust was destroying the quality of life for the Watson Street residents and negatively impacting property values. Patterson said that the Rome City Commission and the courts “have given us the runaround—they’ve put off everything." 

Summer school students were complaining about the heat in their summer school classes at East Rome High School. “It’s hard to focus when it’s so hot,” one unnamed student said. Of course, we all knew exactly what they were talking about, since neither West Rome nor East Rome High School was air conditioned; the only cooling came from the banks of windows that could be tilted open,but that did little good during summer heat or humidity. Needless to say, the complaints seemed to have generated little sympathy in the community… (I remember being very pleased when I found that one of my classes was held in one of West Rome’s trailers—because the trailers had air conditioning!)

Work on the second phase of the East Rome Interchange, which would extend the interchange connector from East Rome to US 27 at Walker Mountain Road, got underway this week in 1967, with road grading and other construction scheduled from June ’67 to the spring of 1968. Eventual plans called for four-laning with a median all the way to Cedartown (but anyone who drives that area now knows that eventual plans never came to pass—while some widening has been done, the four-lane-with-median plan was abandoned).

Piggly Wiggly had lamb shoulder for 29¢ a pound, JFG mayonnaise for 39¢ a quart, and Shurfine peanut butter for 33¢ a jar. Kroger had Swiss steak for 69¢ a pound, Country Oven potato chips for 39¢ a bag, and whole watermelons for 47¢ each. Big Apple had spare ribs for 47¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 49¢ each, and Chase & Sanborn coffee for 59¢ a pound. A&P had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, Marvel ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and large grapes for 39¢ a pound. Couch’s had chicken breast for 45¢ a pound, okra for 19¢ a pound, and large eggs for 35¢ a dozen.

The cinematic week began with Double Trouble (starring Elvis Presley) at the DeSoto Theatre, A Man for All Seasons (starring Paul Scofield) at the First Avenue, and Caper of the Golden Bull (starring Steven Boyd & Yvette Mimieux) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought the new James Bond film You Only Live Twice (starring Sean Connery) to the DeSoto Theatre, Hawaii (starring Julie Andrews and Max Von Sydow) to the First Avenue, and A Fistful of Dollars (starring Clint Eastwood) at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Association took number one this week in 1967 with “Windy.” Other top ten hits included “Groovin’” by the Young Rascals (#2); “Little Bit O’ Soul” by the Music Explosion (#3); "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie (#4); “She’d Rather Be With Me” by the Turtles (#5); “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (#6); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli (#7); “Let’s Live For Today” by the Grass Roots (#8); “Come on Down to My Boat” by Every Mother’s Son (#9); and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” by Petula Clark (#10).

This week in 1967, Leonard Nimoy made his first venture into the field of recorded music with Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space. The album combines Nimoy’s Spock-like narrations with sound effects and music. The album, which includes such tracks as “Music to Watch Space Girls By,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Earth,” “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and “A Visit to a Sad Planet,” actually climbed to 83 on the Billboard album charts.

 Daredevil was one of the Silver Age Marvel heroes to earn his own annual, but at long last Daredevil Annual #1 was released this week in 1967. The lead story forced Daredevil to confront Electro and his Emissaries of Evil (think of them as Daredevil’s five-man version of Spidey’s Sinister Six—the Emissaries consisted of Electro, Stilt-Man, the Matador, the Gladiator, and Leap-Frog) in a story written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Gene Colan.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 6/19/1967 to 6/25/1967


Construction began on a $50 million expansion at Plant Hammond this week in 1967; Georgia Power intended to add a fourth generating unit to the plant; the new unit would give Plant Hammond an 8000,000 kilowatt generating capacity, making it the second-largest generating station in Georgia. Plans called for at least 300 new jobs to be added once the construction was completed, while the construction itself added brought in almost 400 jobs.

And speaking of construction, the first girders and concrete blocks began going up at Gala Shopping Center this week in 1967. The builders hoped to finish the shopping center (which was right across Redmond Circle from West Rome High School) in time for the Christmas 1967 shopping season, but they warned that any significant weather delays could push the opening into 1968.

Seventh District Congressman John Davis unveiled plans to extend the Blue Ridge Parkway from Blue Ridge all the way south to the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park, offering easy access to the north Georgia mountains. As we now know, the plan didn’t develop quite the way John Davis foresaw it, but it was pretty close geographically speaking: the proposed extension eventually became the Zell Miller Parkway and I-575, which terminates within a few miles of Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park.

Funny how history repeats itself: fifty years ago this week, Kroger advertised that they were slashing prices on thousands of items, offering lower-across-the-board prices, and re-establishing themselves as a low-price leader in Rome’s grocery market. “Watch Kroger for the most revolutionary food news in Rome history,” they advertised. Alas, the price changes were a bit less impressive than the advertising implied: while Kroger insisted that they lowered prices on 2149 items, most price drops were a nickel an item or less. 

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, potatoes for 12¢ a pound, and Pepsi Cola for 99¢ a case plus deposit. Big Apple had rump roast for 79¢ a pound, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for 19¢ a can, and grapes for 19¢ a pound. A&P had fresh whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, Maxwell house coffee for 69¢ a can, and lettuce for a dime a head. Kroger had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, tomatoes for a quarter a pint, and Luzianne coffee for 49¢ a pound. Couch’s had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, okra for 19¢ a pound, and Blue Plate peach preserves for 35¢ a jar. 

The cinematic week began with The Absent-Minded Professor and The Shaggy Dog (both starring Fred MacMurray) at the DeSoto Theatre, A Man for All Seasons (starring Paul Scofield) at the First Avenue, and Devil’s Angels (starring John Cassavettes) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Double Trouble (starring Elvis Presley) to the DeSoto and The Countess From Hong Kong (starring Marlon Brando) to the West Rome Drive-In, while A Man For All Seasons refused to release ites grip on tdhe First Avenue Theatre.

The Young Rascals took number one this week in 1967 with their laid-back “Groovin’.” Other top ten hits included “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (#2); “She’d Rather Be with Me” by the Turtles (#3); “Windy” by The Association (#4); “Little Bit O’ Soul” by the Music Explosion (#5); “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie (#6); “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane (#7); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli (#8); “Sunday Will Never Be the Same” by Spanky & Our Gang (#9); and “Let’s Live For Today” by the Grass Roots (#10).

Less than a month after the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles performed their newest song, “All You Need Is Love,” for the worldwide broadcast of the Our World television special on June 25, 1967. If you ever get a chance to watch the film of the event, keep a lookout for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and the Who mixed in among the backing singers.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 6/12/1967 to 6/18/1967

The Rome Board of Education approved a change in the marriage policy for high school students. For several years, the rule had required that a high school student receive permission from his or her principal to marry 30 days prior to the wedding date, or else the student would e forced to withdraw from school. The board voted to waive that rule in the case of a high school student whose fiance was being sent to Vietnam as a part of military service. (Today, it’s hard to imagine anyone even considering a policy that would require a  student get permission from his or her principal in order to get married.)

Three teenagers were apprehended after a crime spree that includes burglaries at several Rome grocery stores, convenience stores, churches, and schools, including both East and West Rome High School. The thieves had stolen cash, merchandise, tape recorders, record players, and other electronic items; some of the stolen merchandise was recovered in Rome, while some of it was recovered in Atlanta, where the teens had transported the merchandise in order to sell it.

Rome’s crime spree wasn’t over, though: at 4am on Tuesday, June 13th, a 15 year old boy was apprehended after breaking into Skelton’s Motorcycle Shop on Shorter Avenue, where he stole a motorcycle, a helmet, a jacket, and a shirt (apparently he wanted to be fashionable while riding). They also found wallets in his possession that belonged to West Rome residents whose cars had been broken into earlier that evening.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, okra for 29¢ a pound, and Luzianne coffee for 69¢ a pound. Big Apple had whole fryers  for 25¢ a pound, Bama apple jelly for 25¢ a jar, and Armour pork & beans for a dime a can. Kroger had T-bone steak for 99¢ a pound, White Lily Flour for 49¢ for a five-pound bag, and angel food cakes for 49¢ each. A&P had pork chops for 59¢ a pound, Double Cola for 89¢ a case plus deposit, and cabbage for a nickel a pound.  Couch’s had pork steak for 59¢ a pound, Georgia peaches for 15¢ a pound, and the ever-popular pork brains (beloved by pig zombies everywhere) for a quarter a pound.

The cinematic week began with War Wagon (starring John Wayne & Kirk Douglas) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, and A Man for All Seasons (with Paul Scofield) at the First Avenue Theatre. The midweek switchout brought a double feature of The Absent Minded Professor and The Shaggy Dog (both starring Fred MacMurray) to the DeSoto Theatre and Devil’s Angels (starring John Cassavettes)  to the West Rome Drive-In, while A Man For All Seasons seemed destined to spend at least one full season at the First Avenue Theatre.

The Young Rascals took number one this week in 1967 with “Groovin’.” Other top ten hits included “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (#2); "She’d Rather Be With Me” by the Turtles (#3); “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)” by Engelbert Humperdinck (#4); “Somebody to Love” by the Jefferson Airplane (#5); “Little Bit o’ Soul” by the Music Explosion (#6); “Windy” by the Association (#7); “All I Need” by the Temptations (#8); “I Got Rhythm” by the Happenings (#9); and “Mirage” by Tommy James & the Shondells (#10). 

Once again, the Monkees had two albums in the Top Ten Charts this week in 1967 (More of the Monkees at #4 and Headquarters at #6). This meant that the Monkees had two albums charting higher than Paul Revere & the Raiders’ Greatest Hits (#9) and Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (#10). People forget just what a pop powerhouse the Monkees were in their first two years!

This was the week of the Monterey Pop Festival, which featured The Who, Simon & Garfunkel, Eric Burdon & the Animals, The Byrds, the Association, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & The Holding Company with Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs, and Ravi Shankar—but it was Jimi Hendrix who became a rock star as a result of the Festival. It was here that he did his legendary bit of setting his guitar on fire, which made him a shock-rock sensation (yes, this was what passed for shock-rock in 1967!).