Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week - 12/21/1964 to 12/27/1964

After a cold snap dropped temperatures into the teens the in the final week of autumn, Rome warmed up for the beginning of winter, with temperatures rising into the 50s for highs and dropping into the 40s for lows during Christmas week. All those dreams of white Christmases melted away with the warmer weather—but at least it was great weather for testing out new Christmas bicycles!

Since the Chieftains lost in the early rounds of the Rome News Tribune Winter Basketball Tournament, it was a week off for all West Romans, including our high school athletes.

The Rome City School System offered a little glimpse into its costs of operation, and what probably seemed pretty steep in 1964 seems amazingly inexpensive by today's standards. For example, the total cost to operate the Rome City Schools (including West Rome High) for one year was $1.63 million, or a total amortized cost of  $243.73 per student per year just for salaries and instructional costs. Even allowing for the $7.54 inflation multiplier, I suspect that we're spending a lot more than that in 2014... and getting much less impressive results!

Belk-Rhodes was touting what they claimed would be the Christmas gift of 1964: the Insta-Brewer coffee maker, with a special pressure plunger that forces all the coffee through all the water all at once, thereby making an entire pot of real coffee (not instant) in thirty seconds. Since I don't recall too many people making coffee in this $9.95 wonder back in the 1960s, my guess is that Belk was slightly overestimating the impressiveness of this half-minute marvel...

Piggly Wiggly had tom turkeys for 35¢ a pound, a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola or Tab for 89¢ plus deposit, and Mrs. Filbert's mayonnaise for 59¢ a quart. Kroger has smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, Country Club ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and Chase & Sanborn coffee for 69¢ a pound. A&P had pork roast for 49¢ a pound, raisins for a quarter a pound, and bananas for a dime a pound. Big Apple had hen turkeys for 37¢ a pound, already-cooked fruit pies for 59¢ each, and oranges for 15¢ a pound. Couch's had pork sausage for 29¢ a pound, Campbell's tomato soup for a dime a can, and Aristocrat ice cream for 39¢ a half-gallon.

As was normal for the time, Rome pretty much shut down on Christmas Day, with even the Rome News-Tribune taking the day off. The post office went one step further, taking off both Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th, leaving Romans without mail for three days in a row.

The cinematic week began with a double feature of Flipper (starring a dolphin) and Gold For the Caesars (a year old grade B film starring Jeffrey Hunter) at the Desoto and a double feature of  What a Way to Go (with Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, & Robert Mitchum) and Move Over, Darling (with Doris Day & James Garner) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Topkapi (with Melina Mercouri & Peter Ustinov) to the DeSoto and Pajama Party (with Tommy Kirk & Annette Funicello) to the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In's weekend films were 1001 Arabian Nights  (with Mister Magoo) and Barabbas (with Anthony Quinn) at the First Avenue--and that just may be the strangest double-feature in Rome cinematic history!

The Beatles held the number one and number four positions on the top ten charts this week in 1964 with "I Feel Fine" and "She's a Woman" respectively. Other top ten hits included "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#2); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#3); "Love Potion Number Nine" by the Searchers (#5); "Goin' Out of My Head" by Little Anthony & the Imperials (#6); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#7); "Amen" by the Impressions (#8); "The Jerk" by the Impressions (#9); and "The Wedding" by Julie Rogers (#10).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/14/1964 to 12/20/1964

This was the final week of school before the Christmas Holidays for all of us Chieftains--and the vacation was slated to continue until students returned to school on January 4th, 1965! In the 1960s and early 1970s, students didn't always get two full weeks off, so when we did, it was a cause for extra celebration!

West Rome's wrestlers defeated Rockmart 35-17, winning a total of nine matches--and four of them were won with pins, thanks to the athletic prowess of Mike Murphy, Anthony Salfta, and Greg Ray.

West Rome's basketball team fell to Berry Academy 56-48 in the 11th annual Northwest Georgia Invitational Basketball Tournament.

Chieftain halfback Dickie Sapp was named to the 22-player Class AA all-state team picked by the Associated Press, the only Chieftain named to the team and one of two Romans.

The West Rome Junior Tri-Hi-Y, under the leadership of Regina Swinford, was chosen November club of the month, earning a whopping 190 total points--almost twice times the number of points earned by the second-place East Rome club.

Len Willingham of the West Rome Hi-Y presented principal Dick McPhree with a handsome Bible that was to be designated as the official Bible of West Rome High School. (No one protested, no one sued... yes, the 1960s were a very different time indeed!)

The West Rome National Junior Honor Society inducted seven members to the club. The new members included Matt Oldham, Mike Witte, Patricia Dawson, Myra Beth Boggus, Pat Finley, Teresa Deleski, and Linda West. Debbie Cook was chosen as the first honorary member of the group; she met all the requirements for membership, but because she was unable to attend school, she was taught at home, making her ineligible for full membership.

A cold front moved into Rome on Friday, dropping temperatures to the low teens, with daytime highs in the mid thirties. I'm sure I wasn't the only kid in West Rome hoping for a little bit of snow to go with all that cold weather!...

The holiday season continued strong in Rome Department stores, with a 20% sales increase over year-to-date 1963 and a 16% decline in charge account balances--proof positive that Romans were buying more and paying for it sooner. For the Rome economy, Christmas 1964 was proving to be a boom period indeed!

Doc Elliott's Discount House broke out appliances and electronics for Christmas 1964, offering a ten-cup percolator (remember when that was the standard way of making coffee at home?) for $9.95, a 40-cup percolator for $14.95, a battery-powered tape recorder for $12.95, an eight inch portable TV for $60.00 (although why anyone in Rome would want one, I don't know, since we were too far from Atlanta or Chattanooga for any portable TV to pick up a signal without a very large outdoor antenna), and a transistor radio for $9.99. As was all too common in 1960s ads, no brand names were mentioned.

Piggly Wiggly had Fleetwood coffee for 59¢ a pound, tom turkeys for 35¢ a pound, and chocolate covered cherries (a luxurious Christmas favorite in my house, to be rationed and savored into early January if at all possible) for 89¢ a pound. Kroger had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, fruit cocktail for 18¢ a 16-ounce can, and tangerines for 35¢ a dozen. Big Apple had baking hens for 39¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of Ballard flour for 49¢, and king size cooked fruit pies for 59¢ a pound. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a puns, Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and red delicious apples for a nickel each. Couch's had smoked cured picnic hams for 27¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of Dixie Crystals sugar for 29¢, and Saltines for 19¢ a box (I don't think that's what they mean when they talk about the British tradition of Christmas crackers...).

The first half of the week offered moviegoers the choice of The Fall of the Roman Empire (with Sophia Loren, Alec Guinness, and James Mason) at the DeSoto Theater and a very forgettable double feature of Guns at Batasi and Apache Rifles at the First Avenue (with only two indoor theaters in Rome and oodles of major studio films being released, they still dredged up these throwaway B-movies from time to time). The midweek switch out brought two "rerun movies" to the DeSoto—McLintock (with John Wayne) and A Hard Day's Night (with the Beatles). The First Avenue was showing The Lively Set (with James Darren), while the West Rome Drive-In was screening a forgettable double feature of Street of Mystery and 13 West Street on the weekend. Of course, as cold as it was that weekend, most people going to the drive-in saw nothing more than a fogged-up windshield...

The Beatles returned to the top of the charts with "I Feel Fine" this week in 1964. Other top ten hits included "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#2); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#3); "She's a Woman" by the Beatles (#4); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#5); "Goin' Out of My Head" by Little Anthony & the Imperials (#6); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#7); "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the Beach Boys (#8); "The Jerk" by the Larks (#9); and ""Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#10).

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/7/1964 to 12/13/1964

Apparently there were lots of ambitious plans in the 1960s that never came to fruition: A Georgia state legislative committee talked about launching a study of the possibility of developing Rome into a major inland port. They committee was confident that the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Alabama Power Company, and the US government were going to expand the Coosa-Alabama River system into a fully navigable waterway capable of bringing cargo barges to Rome. The committee recommended that $12 million be budgeted to develop plans for Rome's ports as well as a railway expansion to move shipments from the ports to other cities across the Southeast. The committee proposal indicated that the port and docks should be up and running by 1971.  Alas, this was yet another governmental pipe dream, as neither the waterway expansion or the port development ever came to be... I guess the Shrimp Boat restaurant in Central Plaza was as close as we ever came...

More segments of I-75 opened this week in 1964, including a 16-mile section between Calhoun and Dalton and a 19 mile section from the Tennessee Chattanooga state line to a location just north of Dalton. And showing that hope springs eternal, Rome and Floyd County civic leaders were optimistic that a direct link from Rome to I-75 would be completed by 1972.

On December 10th, WROM was granted a permit to construct and operate its very own FM station  at 97.7 megacycles. WROM president Charles Doss said construction of the Dempsey-Covington Building studios and broadcast center and the Mount Alto Road tower would take just over two months, and the station would be on the air by February 1965. (Can anyone build anything on this scale in two months today?)

While West Rome's girls had a good weekend, defeating East Rome 27-23, the boys basketball team didn't fare as well, falling to the Gladiators 43-37. Diane Bell was top scorer for the girls with 13 points, while Rusty Oxford was tops for the Chiefs with 10 points.

The American Cancer Society sponsored an anti-smoking chapel program on Thursday, December 10th, in the West Rome auditorium.

The West Rome Tri-Hi-Y and Hi-Y clubs placed decorated goodwill boxes in each homeroom this week in 1964; the students filled the boxes with canned goods and other food items to be given to needy families to make their Christmas holidays a little brighter.

The Rome News-Tribune and the Associated Press made it easy to remember the historic events of 1964: they began taking orders for 1964: The World As We Lived It, a handsome $3 hardcover that offered a month-by-month view of the most important news stories, complete with hundreds of black & white and color photos. The Rome News-Tribune offered gift cards for those who wanted to give the book as a Christmas present, since the book wouldn't actually be available until late January or early February 1965. I fell in love with these books as soon as I saw the first volume, and still have a set of all the volumes published until the series was discontinued in 1977.

National City Bank increased its savings certificate interest rate to 4.5% this week in 1964 (if only we could earn that interest rate today!). Rome Bank & Trust was advertising an interest rate of 4.375%.

Just how expensive was a color television back in 1964? Well, B&L Appliance Center had a 21" Westinghouse console with VHF and UHF tuners, complete with an all-wood cabinet in maple or  oak, for only $18.95 a month... for 36 months! That's $682.20 total--and when you allow for the inflation multiplier of 7.54, that makes the total cost equal to $5,143.00 in today's dollars. Meanwhile, Rome Radio had a 21" RCA color console in a similar all-wood cabinet for $19.25 a month for the same 36 months; that's a total of $693.00 in 1964 dollars and the equivalent of $5225.00 today. The bargain color TV of the season was the Zenith Clayton model, a contemporary console priced at $498 or $15.60 a month for 36 months--that's $561.60 total, which equals a mere $4234.00 in today's dollars. If you think a 65" 4K UHD television costs a lot today, just imagine how much better it looks than this 1964 21" set.

Piggly Wiggly had Wilson pork sausage for 33¢ a pound, oranges for a dime a pound, and eggs for 45¢ a dozen. Kroger had center-cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, pork & beans for a dime a can, and a 14-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup for 15¢. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 87¢ a pound, five pounds of Domino sugar for 39¢, and tangerine for 25¢ a dozen. A&P had fresh whole fryers for a quarter a pound, five pounds of Gold Medal flour for 49¢, and Sealtest ice cream for 69¢ a half-gallon. Couch's had cured ham for 35¢ a pound, Double Cola for 89¢ a case plus deposit, and the always-popular-in-my-home Campbell's Tomato Soup for 9¢ a can.

And just in time for sandwiches made out of upcoming Christmas leftovers, Merita began promoting their "ultra-long giant loaf" of white bread, which had 30 slices plus the two end pieces, for only 29¢.

The first half of the week offered moviegoers a choice of Fail Safe at the DeSoto Theater and Take Her, She's Mine (with Jimmy Stewart & Sandra Dee) at the First Avenue. The mid-week switch out brought The Fall of the Roman Empire (with Sophia Loren & Alec Guinness) to the DeSoto, Connie (with Connie Francis & Jim Hutton) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Blood on the Arrow and The Thin Red Line to the West Rome Drive-In (which has still showing films on weekends only).

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Come See About Me" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles (#2); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#3); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#4); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#5); "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#6); "Going Out of My Head" by Little Anthony & the Imperials (#7); "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the Beach Boys (#8); "I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Gene Pitney (#9); and "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#10).

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/30/1964 to 12/6/1964

Rome officially began the Christmas season with the Monday evening arrival of Santa, who landed at Barron Stadium via helicopter before joining the 28-unit Christmas parade up Broad Street to the Rome City Auditorium, where he officiated the lighting of the Christmas Tree and all the Christmas lights along Broad Street. The West Rome Junior High Band and the West Rome High Marching Band, as well as the homecoming queen, were a part of the parade.

The weather was perfect for a Christmas event: it was dry and clear, but very, very cold, with highs in the upper thirties and low forties during the day on Monday and Tuesday and lows in the upper teens.

Christmas season also saw the premiere of the three-day Christmas show sponsored by the Floyd County Home Demonstration Clubs. The event, held at the Rome Civic Center, was developed around the theme "An Old Fashioned Christmas at Home," with participants from around the area, including West Rome.

The holiday sales season got off with a rip-roaring start, with Rome and Floyd County merchants reporting record sales for the first week of the Christmas season. Of course, there was good reason: Rome was also reporting an all-time record high payroll in 1964, banks were reporting record savings account balances, and more Romans participated in Christmas Club savings accounts than ever before. Estimates indicated that spending for the early part of the Christmas season was running 20% to 30% higher than the year before, which had set its own records.

And here's a real season opener: NBC presented the television premiere of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Sunday, December 6th. The show became an annual tradition on NBC, appearing there every year until it moved to CBS in 1972.

In honor of the holidays, Redford's 5¢ and 10¢ on Broad Street "Christmased up" its menu, adding cranberry sauce to its 50¢ fried chicken dinner that included two pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a roll. None of that stuff with berries in it, either: this was the 1960s "real deal" jellied cranberry sauce that still carried the shape of the can! (No, they don't say that in the ad, but I remember it well... at the time, I had no idea there was any other type of cranberry sauce, in fact!)

The West Rome Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y clubs took part in a countywide "Operation Goodwill" program to collect food and toys for Christmas; the toys would go to the Marines Toys for Tots program, while the food would go to the Salvation Army for distribution to needy families. Homerooms were urged to begin collecting food and toys in preparation for "Goodwill Week" on December 7th-11th.

It was a good week for Chieftain athletes: West Rome's wrestlers defeated East Rome 29-26 on Thursday, December 3rd. Then West Rome opened its basketball season on Friday, December 4th, with a game against Chattooga—a game that the Chieftains won 49-30, led by the outstanding performances of Donnie Hill and Stan Dawson. Perhaps they were spurred to victory by the pep rally that preceded the season opener...


Changes were proposed for Battey Hospital: a state commission studying mental health problems in Georgia recommended that Battey be used for overflow from the Milledgeville State Psychiatric Hospital.

Eastern Airlines was eager to get rid of its Rome flight service, and Southern Airlines was willing to take the routes, if the Civil Aeronautics Board approved the transfer. They listened to both airlines present their requests, then postponed any decision until they could hold public hearings on March 16, 1965.

Nelson Brothers Service Station at 618 Shorter Avenue suffered a break-in on Monday night; the thieves gained access to the service station through an unsecured garage door at Pettyjohn's Body Shop at the rear of the service station. The thieves made off with $230, two retread tires, and three inner tubes (they might have taken more, but they got tired...).

The Imperial Service Station at 2205 Shorter Avenue celebrated the holidays with a special "buy eight gallons or more of gasoline and get two extra gallons for free" promotion. With 94 octane regular at 29.9¢ and 100-octane ethyl at 31.9¢, the price was already pretty cheap, but this made it as much as 20% cheaper! And if that wasn't enough, they gave you a one copper penny bonus refund for each gallon purchased!

Piggly Wiggly had Swift's premium bacon for 49¢ a pound, eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and fully baked fruit pies for 59¢. Kroger had an eight-ounce can of tuna for 27¢, Maxwell House coffee for 59¢ a pound, and pit-cooked barbecue sandwiches for a dime each. Big Apple had fresh whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, Bailey's Supreme coffee for 55¢ a pound, and tangerines for 15¢ a pound. A&P had pork loin for 49¢ a pound, a five-pound Jane Parker fruitcake for $3.99, and an 18-ounce can of fruit cocktail for 27¢. Couch's had 18 ounce jars of Blue Plate jelly in assorted flavors for 39¢, veal chops for 59¢ a pound, and the never-popular Libby's potted meat for a dime a can.

The cinematic week began with Elvis Presley's Roustabout at the DeSoto and Bikini Beach at the First Avenue. The midweek change-up brought Fail Safe to the DeSoto and a double feature of Witchcraft and The Horror of It All to the First Avenue, while West Rome Drive-In offered a weekend double feature of Pepe and Zotz.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton. Other top ten hits included "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#2); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#3); "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#4); "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles, making their return to the charts after a record-setting summer (#5); "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#6); "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#7); "Baby Love" by the Supremes (#8); "I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Gene Pitney (#9); and "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the Beach Boys (#10). Four British Invasion groups on the Top Ten charts was quite impressive, but the fact that the Supremes had two of the Top Ten was even more outstanding!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/23/1964 to 11/29/1964

it was a short school week for Rome City Schools students: students attended school on Monday, November 23rd, then took the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving. Teachers weren't quite as fortunate--they had to endure all-day teachers meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, which undoubtedly made them particularly thankful once Thanksgiving day arrived!

The West Rome Junior High Student Council, under the guidance of sponsor Miss Kitty Alford, decorated the West Rome cafeteria on Monday. The annual Thanksgiving meal was served in the lunchroom after a blessing was given over the intercom at the beginning of each lunch period.

The day after Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in 1964 just as it does today. The term "Black Friday" wasn't used back then, however; instead, Rome marked the beginning of the shopping season with a two-day "Rome Days" event in which almost every merchant offered sales to launch the holiday season. 23" black and white console TVs for $218.88 at Western Auto, a seven-piece living room suite for $149.95 at Harper Nichols, an electric hand mixer for $9.88 at Enloe's Rexall Drugs, a Philco stereo radio-phono for $99 at Economy Auto, all-wool sport coats for $19.97 at Wyatt's, women's high heeled shoes for $5.99 at Higgins, a 45-piece Melmac dinnerware set for $15.84 at Murphy's, a box of 25 shotgun shells for $1.59 at Doc Elliott's Discount House... all this and so much more!

Talk of Floyd Junior College began anew this week in 1964, although some civic leaders said it was premature to discuss too many specifics. "The Board of Regents is moving as rapidly as possible to provide colleges in every community where the population economically justifies it," Dr. Harry Downs of the Board of Regents said.  He assured Romans, however, that Rome was in the running for a new junior college, and decisions would be made "very soon."

Kroger had Swift's butterball hen turkeys for 39¢ a pound, canned biscuits for a nickel a can, and coconuts for 15¢ each. Big Apple had tom turkeys for 33¢ a pound, celery for a dime a bunch, and fully cooked cherry pies for 39¢ each. A&P had rib roast for 69¢ a pound, apples for 6¢ a pound, and 3 pounds of JFG coffee for $1. Piggly Wiggly had whole hams for 39¢ a pound, Coca Cola or Tab for 89¢ a case plus deposit, and pumpkin pies for 33¢ each. Couch's had smoked hams for 49¢ a pound, sweet potatoes for 12¢ a pound, and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce for 19¢ a can.

The cinematic week began with Send Me No Flowers (with Rock Hudson & Doris Day) at the DeSoto and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Roustabout (with Elvis Presley) and Bikini Beach (with Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello) to both the First Avenue Theater and the West Rome Drive-In. Apparently theater owner had low expectations for Thanksgiving weekend...

Bonanza star Lorne Green took the number one slot this week in 1964 with his Western ballad "Ringo." Other top ten hits included "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#2); "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las (#3); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#4); "Baby Love" by the Supremes (#5); "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#6); "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#7); Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#8); "Mountain of Love" by Johnny Rivers (#9); and "I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Gene Pitney (#10).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/16/1964 to 11/22/1964

Economic good times continued in Rome in the last quarter of 1964: all of Rome's department stores posted an increase of 4%+ above sales levels for the same period in 1963, while charge account balances dropped by 3% or more. That meant that Romans were spending more money, but were able to pay for their purchases in cash rather than financing them--two signs of a growing economy. And even those who charged purchases were paying their bills off more quickly--in an average of 62 days, which was 4 days shorter than the average finance period in 1963.

The West Rome Junior High Library Club was organized under the direction of Mrs. Martha Hurst, school librarian; the club members, who called themselves the Book Worms, were involved in several service projects to benefit the library. Club officers included Edwin Dodd, president; Tommy Horton, vice-president; Robert Smiderski, secretary-treasurer; and Celeste Green, reporter.

This was the final week that students could place orders for their very own copy of the 1965 Watanyah, the West Rome yearbook. (Wish I could find a record of how much a yearbook cost in 1965... my guess, trying to retro-calculate from today's prices, would be $10, but I'm just not sure.)

Meteorological history repeats itself: on November 20th, a strong cold front moved through Rome, dropping temperatures from lows in the mid-40s to lows in the low 20s.

Did you remember that I-75 was far from complete back in 1964? This week in '64, the state announced that three more sections of I-75 were slated to open before the end of the year: 10 miles from the Tennessee line to Ringgold, 16 miles between Dalton and Georgia 53, and 9 miles from US 41 above Tunnel Hill to US 41 north of Dalton. From there, travelers were routed back onto US 41, which remained a major north-south route in Georgia through the 1970s. (Anyone remember the Christmas season backups from Cartersville to Marietta during the Christmas season? Hundreds of cars would make a rest stop at Stuckey's in Acworth every day, just to get a break from the traffic.)

Piggly Wiggly had 10-14 pound turkeys for 35¢ a pound, 5 pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 29¢, and a quart of JFG mayonnaise for 39¢. Kroger has Wishbone turkeys for 38¢ a pound, pumpkin pies for 33¢ each, and bananas for a dime a pound. Big Apple had Butterball hens for 39¢ a pound, grade A large eggs for 47¢ a dozen, and ice  milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. A&P had pork loin for 43¢ a pound, five pounds of grapefruit for 33¢, and a one-pound box of saltines for 31¢. Couch's had whole or half hams for 33¢ a pound, JFG coffee for 69¢ a pound, and Double Cola for 89¢ a case plus deposit.

The cinematic week began with the Hank Williams Sr. biography Your Cheating Heart (with George Hamilton) at the DeSoto and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (with a true all-star cast) at the First Avenue. The midweek movie switch-out brought Send Me No Flowers (with Rock Hudson, Doris Day, & Tony Randall) to the DeSoto and The Notorious Landlady (with Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, & Fred Astaire) to the West Rome Drive-In, while It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World continued at the First Avenue for another week.

The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" took first place this week in 1964, bouncing the Supremes "Baby Love" down to the number two position. Other top ten hits included "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay & the Americans (#3); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#4); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#5); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#6); "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#7); "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#8); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#9); and "Mountain of Love" by Johnny Rivers (#10).

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/9/1964 to 11/15/1964

West Rome High School class favorites were announced on Thursday, November 12th. Judy Wessinger and Dickie Sapp were chosen from the senior class; Ann Perry and Mike Murphy from the junior class; Sylvia Brumbelow and Tommy Sapp from the sophomore class; Penny Andrews and John Berry from the freshman class; Debbie Joyner and Matt Oldham from the eighth grade class; and Vickie Duffey and Larry Thomas from the seventh grade class.

The West Rome National Junior Honor Society, under the direction of faculty sponsor Mrs. Jean Smiderski, began collecting old books to distribute to various organizations throughout Rome and Floyd County.

West Rome football star Dickie Sapp was chosen as one of the two captains of the All-Star Football Team. The only other Chieftain who made the list was Gerry Law (all-area end).

Celestine Sibley made an appearance in Rome on Thursday, November 12th, signing copies of her book Christmas in Georgia, which was of course available for sale through Wyatt's at $2.50 per copy for the hardcover.

The Etowah Indian Mounds in Bartow County were designated a national historic landmark this week in 1964. How many of my fellow Chieftains were lucky enough to make a field trip to the Indian Mounds? It was one of the first field trips I remember that took us not only off campus but out of town, and I still remember it as being one of the most amazing school days of my elementary school years.

Georgia's proposed state budget for 2015 was the first ever to top $1 billion, but the governor and the House Speaker said that it could be done without a tax increase. (And it turned out they were correct!)

The Milwaukee Braves made it official on November 10th, signing a 25-year contract with the city of Atlanta. "Tell them they just made the best trade they've ever made," Mayor Ivan Allen told Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium chairman Arthur Montgomery. Milwaukee continued to grumble about the deal, making threats of lawsuits and against the Braves and the city of Atlanta and anti-trust action against the National League.

Sterchi's had a dining table and six chars in the trendy-in-the-sixties White Danish Modern for only $99 delivered. A more traditional maple table with six chairs cost $129.

Showing that meanings of words change with time, the headline announcing the beginning of the Christmas Seals campaign was "Gay Christmas Seals Aid War Against TB."

Sears was ready for the Christmas season with a 10% off sale on all bicycles; for only $29.66, parents could get a boys or girls bike to go under the tree--and that was the "fully assembled" price, so no time was wasted trying to figure out where those five leftover parts were supposed to go.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Stokely's cream corn for 16¢ a can, and 2 pounds of JFG coffee for $1.19. Kroger had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, tomatoes for a dime a pound, and Kroger or Country Club ice cream for 19¢ a half-gallon. Big App[le had pork steak for 39¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and tall cans of Double Q salmon for 49¢.  A&P had sliced bacon or 39¢ a pound, Fireside brand saltines for 19¢ a box, and ten pound of red delicious apples for 59¢. Couch's had center cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Lay's potato chips for 59¢ for a twin-pack bag, and Morton's chicken pot pies for 19¢ each.

The cinematic week began with Woman of Straw (with Gina Lollobrigida & Sean Connery) at the DeSoto and The Seventh Dawn (with William Holden & Susannah York) at the First Avenue. The midweek change up brought the Hank Williams bio-pic Your Cheatin' Heart (with George Hamilton and Red Buttons) to the DeSoto and the all-star film spectacular It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In brought back The Bridge On the River Kwai, pairing it up with the forgettable Johnny Cool ("the international murder machine they couldn't turn off!").

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Baby Love" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las (#2); "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay & the Americans (#3); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#4); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#5); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#6); "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#7); "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#8) "The Door Is Still Open to My Heart" by Dean Martin (#9); and "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#10).

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/2/1964 to 11/8/1964

Celanese announced a major two-year expansion of the Rome plant to increase its acetate filament production by 25%; Celanese fibers were used in clothes, automotive upholstery, carpet, furniture coverings, and much more. Of course, a major expansion meant more manufacturing jobs for Rome, which pumped even more money into the area's fast-growing economy.

Don Biggers of the Rome News-Tribune talked to West Rome Coach Paul Kennedy and East Rome Coach Larry Muschamp about the East Rome-West Rome game, the final game of the regular season for both teams. Both coaches came to the same conclusion: the school whose played made the fewest mistakes was going to win that game. Turned out that West Rome was that school as the Chieftains came back from being down 10-9 at halftime to end the game with a 23-10 victory thanks to two touchdown runs by Dickie Sapp, who carried the ball 20 times during the game, accounting for 129 net yards for the Chiefs. 6500 people packed Barron Stadium to watch the game, which by 1964 had become the biggest sports event of the year in Rome.

While the real election was going on across the nation (Goldwater took Georgia, but Johnson carried the nation by a landslide) West Rome's civics classes participated in a mock election. West Rome's Presidential voting mirrored the national results.

Those who missed the first picture day at West Rome--or those who, like me, always held out the vague hope that the next picture might look a little less goofy--could try again on Wednesday, November 4th, when picture retake day was held.

This was also the first week of West Rome Watanyah sales for the 1965 yearbook.

A&P had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, winesap apples for a dime a pound, and Marvel ice milk for 39¢. PigglyWiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, Swift's bacon for 33¢ a pound, and avocados for 19¢ each. Kroger had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, bananas for a dime pa pound, and a 3-pound can of Crisco for 69¢. Big Apple had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart, and Libby's infamous potted meat for a dime a can.  Couch's had Fleetwood coffee for 59¢ a pound, Duffey's red hot franks for a quarter a pound, and a box of Nabisco Saltines for 29¢.

During the first half of the week, moviegoers had a choice between Rio Conchos at the DeSoto Theater and a double feature of Hootenanny Hoot and Elvis Presley's Kissin' Cousins at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought The Young Lovers (with Peter Fonda, Nick Adams, and Sharon Hugueny) to the First Avenue and Station Six Sahara (with Carroll Baker) at the DeSoto. The West Rome Drive-In's weekend feature was Who's Got the Action? (with Dean Martin & Lana Turner) and The Boy Who Stole a Million (such a grade B film they didn't even list a cast member).

The Supremes' "Baby Love" held the number one position this week in 1964. Other top ten hits included "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las (#2); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#3); "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay & the Americans (#4); "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#5); "The Door Is Still Open to My Heart" by Dean Martin (#6); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#7); "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#8); "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#9); and that unforgettable Western ballad "Ringo" by Bonanza patriarch Lorne Greene (#10).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/26/1964 to 11/1/1964

Southern Bell announced a major half-million-dollar improvement plan designed to upgrade telephone facilities in the Rome area. Strong growth in West Rome in particular was cited as one of the reasons that the expansion was needed; over half of the total expenditure was devoted to running new conduits along Shorter Avenue to serve the many businesses and residences being built there "We have to work far ahead to prepare for the continuing rapid growth in this area," Southern Bell Rome manager A.M. Bennett said.

West Rome's football team enjoyed a rare week off during the season, with no game scheduled for the weekend of Halloween.

The West Rome Junior High Library Club was created under the leadership of Edwin Dodd, president; Tommy Horton, vice-president; and Robert Smiderski, secretary/treasurer.

The National Honor Society kicked off their candy sale fundraiser with a selection of candy priced from 25¢ to $2.

The Future Teachers of America Club started a membership driving, hoping to recruit students in the 10th through the 12th grades who were interested in a teaching career.

Coosa Valley Tech proves so popular that the school was operating at 100% capacity and was having to turn away applicants--and that mean that it was the best-performing technical school in Georgia (some schools, such as the ones in Valdosta, Columbus, Augusta, and DeKalb were operating at less than half capacity). Jack, Nix, Georgia direct of vocational education, said that Coosa Valley had 187 full-time pupils (2 more than its originally planned 185 capacity) and 442 part-time (again, 2 more than its planned capacity).

Georgia Power Company was pushing their "flameless electric dryers" this week in 1964; for only $3.09 a month added to their electric bill, customers could have a new Westinghouse or Maytag dryer delivered to their home--and while the payments ran for 5 years (making the total cost of the dryer $185.40), Georgia Power pointed out that this was the list price of the dryer, that no interest was being added to the dryer, and that Georgia Power offered a full five-year warranty on the dryer if you purchased it from them. "If we can't fix it first time, we give you a new one!" they emphasized. How many appliance dealers today offer no-interest 5 year financing and a full repair-or-replacement 5 year warranty? It's no wonder that so many homes switched to electric appliances in the 1960s!

Piggly Wiggly had ground chuck for 69¢ a pound, a four-pound bag of Jonathan apples for 33¢, and a pound of Brach's Pic-a-Mix candy for 45¢. Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, yellow squash for 15¢ a pound, and a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola or Tab for 79¢ plus deposit.Big Apple had spare ribs for 39¢ a pound, Hormel bacon for 57¢ a pound, and a five-pound bag of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and 4 rolls of Northern bathroom tissue for 39¢.  Couch's had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, banana for a dime a pound, and a one-pound can of JFG coffee for 79¢.

The first half of the week offered moviegoers a choice of Where Has Love Gone (with Susan Hayward & Bette Davis) at the DeSoto Theater and Fate Is the Hunter (with Glenn Ford and Rod Taylor) at the First Avenue. For the last half to the week, the choices included Rio Conchos (with Stuart Whitman and Richard Bone) at the DeSoto and a double feature of Horror at Party Beach and The Curse of the Living Corpse at the First Avenue (hey, it was Halloween week, after all!). On the weekend, the West Rome Drive-In was showing a double feature of Hey Geisha and Hell Is For Heroes, reminding us once again that very few people ever went to the drive-in to see the movie.

The Supremes held the number position this week in 1964 with "Baby Love." Other songs in the top ten included "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#2); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#3); "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las (#4); "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#5); "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#6); "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay & the Americans (#7); "The Door Is Still Open to My Heart" by Dean Martin (#8); "Chug-a-Lug" by Roger Miller (#9); and "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#10).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/19/1964 to 10/25/1964

Former President Herbert Hoover passed away on October 20th. Nowadays, we think of the Hoover era as a  part of distant American history, but he had been out of office for only 32 years in 1964--less time that has passed since the end of the Jimmy Carter presidency. Somehow, the gap between the Depression era US and the 1960s seems enormous, however, while the gap between the late 1970s to today seems much less (at least for those of us who lived it, I guess).

Dickie Sapp was once again chosen as the Rome News-Tribune's back of the week in recognition of his outstanding performance in the prior Friday's game against Cedartown, in which Sapp not only scored the second and deciding touchdown, but also gained 91 net yards (more than half of West Rome's rushing total) and intercepted a pass that stopped Cedartown from tying the game.

Coach Kennedy told the Rome News-Tribune that West Rome was scheduled to face its toughest foe of the year on October 23rd when the Rossville Bulldogs made the trip down to Barron Stadium to face the Chiefs on a Saturday night in a game that also marked West Rome's homecoming. "They probably have the best passing attack of any team we play," Coach Kennedy said. "We've got to eliminate a few more of our mistakes, and we certainly have to improve on our pass defense if we hope to stop them." Alas, Coach Kennedy's evaluation of the team turned out be correct, as West Rome fell to Rossville 32-14.

Esther Ransom was crowned as Homecoming Queen; other members of the homecoming court included Sondra Adams, Sara Coffey, Jane Hairston, Carole Sewell, and Judy Wessinger.

A disagreement over zoning of Shorter Avenue between Hughes and Sycamore Streets led to the Rome City Commission spending almost four hours listening to arguments from both sides. The proposed zoning change would have designated the segment of Shorter Avenue as R-2 (which would allow for the construction of motels, hotels, offices, and nursing homes), while a counter-proposal would have rezoned it as C-1, which would allow for commercial development for stores and other businesses; prior to the change, it was zoned for evidential use only. The board finally decided to go for the C-1 classification, opening more of the Shorter Avenue corridor for business, shopping, and restaurant development.

Coosa Valley Tech was proving so successful that the school began a study of expansion options this week in 1964. Plans called for the addition of a 15,000 square foot building to house additional classrooms for drafting, radio/tv repair, welding, data processing, and textile production.

Freezing temperatures came early to West Rome, with the thermometer dropping to 28 degrees on Wednesday morning, October 20th, marking the first freezing temperature of the autumn.

The Milwaukee Braves began a legal fight to clear the way for their move to Atlanta this week in 1964, hoping to overturn a restraining order designed to block them from asking for League permission to make the move. Henry Aaron spoke out against the move, saying "I just won't step out on the field" in Atlanta; apparently he changed his mind as time passed.

Piggly Wiggly had Lady Alice ice milk for 29¢ a half-gallon, Sunset Gold potato chips for 49¢ for a twin-pack (2 8 ounce bags), and pig liver for 19¢ a pound (and that's one meat I've never tried, thank you very much--we ate a lot of beef liver and chicken livers, but no pig liver). Kroger had fresh whole fryers for 29¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and 11 ounces of perch, haddock, or flounder for 49¢. Big Apple had center cut ham slices for 79¢ a pound, a 12 ounce bag of tater tots for a quarter, and 25 pounds of White Lily flour for $1.99 (did anyone really use 25 pound bags of flour?). A&P had whole young ducklings for 39¢ a pound (another meat we never ate), Virginia apples for a dime a pound, and a box of Post Toasties cereal for 21¢. Couch's had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and Del Monte catsup for 19¢ for a 24-ounce bottle.

The cinematic week began with The World of Henry Orient (with Peter Sellers) arriving for a short two-day run at the DeSoto and Quo Vadis continuing at the First Avenue. The weekend brought Where Has Love Gone? (with Susan Hayward & Bette Davis) to the DeSoto; Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (with Sophia Loren & Marcello Mastroianni) to the First Avenue, and a weekend double feature of That Kind of Woman (with Sophia Loren & Tab Hunter) and Thunder in the Sun (with Susan Hayward & Jeff Chandler) to the open-on-weekends-only-for-the-fall West Rome Drive-In.

The Supremes took the top chart position tis week in 1964 with "Baby Love." Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#3); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#4); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#5); "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#6); "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#7); "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#8); "Little Honda" by the Hondells (#9); and "Chug-a-Lug" by Roger Miler (#10).

And on Sunday, October 25th, the next wave of the British Invasion began when the Rolling Stones made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, performing two songs from their 12 X 5 album: "Around and Around" in the first half of the show and "Time Is On My Side" as the closing act. The day after the performance, Sullivan said that he'll never invite them to return... but he obviously changed his mind, since they returned in the spring of 1965 and many times thereafter.