Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in 1967 - 2/20/1967 to 2/26/1967

Oh, so close: Chieftains awakened to snow on Monday morning, February 20th—but the snow turned to rain by 7:15 that morning, so Rome City Schools chose not to cancel school and everyone went to class just like always, although probably not with smiles on their faces… Temperatures  warmed into the 40s for the next couple of days before dropping to 10 degrees on Friday night, followed by a low of 8 degrees on Saturday night.

The 1960s saw a rise in the interest in UFOs, and Rome wasn’t immune to the phenomenon of strange sightings. Rome US Weather Bureau director Juanita Lester reported that she had seen a UFO in the skies near Russell Field. “Two white lights were moving slowly, almost lazily, across the sky in an easterly direction,” she said. “At first, I thought they were airplane lights, then I realized that was impossible The lights were very brilliant and seemed to glow. Their edges were blurred.” It seemed to hover above the airport, so she got in her car to drive over and check it out. “When I was just about to the airport, the object began to move again and it soon disappeared to the south. There was no sound nor any other lights. If an aircraft had been that low, there would have been some sound.” Lester knew aircraft, weather balloons, and other airborne objects, and said “what I saw was none of these.” The report inspired a number of other Romans to report UFO sightings in the Rome area. A resident who lived off Burnett Ferry Road said that he and his wife saw a large object hovering a few hundred feet above his house; his wife said that this was the latest in a series of strange UFO activities near their house. Ivan Payne of 34 Conn Street reported UFO sightings as well; at first, he thought it was a plane or a satellite until it abruptly stopped and instantly reversed direction in the sky; he watched for approximately two minutes until it disappeared into the distance. (My mother, a very practical person not prone to exaggeration, eventually shared with her family that she had seen a UFO near our home in West Rome in 1967—and had a bizarre experience that we first dismissed as a dream until we found some physical evidence to support her assertion that something strange had occurred near our home that evening…)

Rome’s grand jury criticized local law enforcement for allowing houses of prostitution to operate with impunity in Rome.  According to the grand jury, some local nightclubs and beer parlors had even installed trailers adjacent to their places of businesses for the use of prostitutes, who paid a percentage to “the house.” Locations on Alabama Road were specifically referenced, although business names were not given. They recommended stronger action to shut down these illegal operations.

Thomas Evans Fricks, a West Rome High School graduate, was one of the very few Romans to make it to West Point Military Academy. The Rome News-Tribune spotlighted Tommy’s accomplishment in a page 3 article on Monday, pointing out that the former member of the 1965 Class AA championship football team, came from a military family and spent several summers marching alongside Guardsmen at Fort McLellan, and even accompanied Company A, 2nd Battalion, 108th Armor, on weekend marksmanship training at Camp Catoosa near Ringgold while he was a high school student.

Piggly Wiggly had fresh whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, Orange Nip frozen orange juice for 25¢ a can, and Morton’s new tuna pot pies (no, I’m not making it up) for 25¢ each. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, a box of six Kroger donuts for 23¢, and Hunt’s tomato sauce for a dime a can. A&P had Allgood bacon for 55¢ a pound, Cap’n Johns frozen fish sticks for 50¢ a box, and five pounds of pink grapefruit for 33¢. Big Apple had Hormel franks for 49¢ a pound, yellow corn for 8¢ an ear, and a two-pound jar of Lenox Park peanut butter for 49¢. Couch’s had spareribs for 29¢ a pound, a dozen eggs for 29¢, and cabbage for a nickel a pound.

The cinematic week began with A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (with Zero Mostel) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and The Fortune Cookie (with Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brough Tobruk (with Rock Hudson & George Peppard) to the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In and The Restless Ones (with Johnny Crawford) to the First Avenue (and yes, that means that they finally ended the seemingly-eternal run of The Sound of Music, only to bring in a two-year-old grade B film in its place).

The Buckinghams leapt to number one this week in 1967 with “Kind of a Drag.” Other top ten hits included “Love Is Here to Stay and Now You’re Gone” by the Supremes (#2); “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones (#3), “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees (#4); “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#5); “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher (#6); “Gimme Some Lovin’” by the Spencer Davis Group (#7); “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” by the Casinos (#8); “ (We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” by the Blues Magoos (#9); and “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” by Johnny Rivers (#10).

The Beatles appeared on American Bandstand in a taped appearance this week in 1967, premiering their new videos for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Jack and the Beanstalk, the first TV special to combine live action and animation, premiered on February 25th, 1967, courtesy of NBC and Hanna-Barbera.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/13/1967 to 2/19/1967

Owen Blanton reminded Chieftains that this week was the deadline for signing up to take the National Educational Development test scheduled for Saturday, March 4th. The NEDT was actually a series of tests in English, social studies, science, math, and vocabulary designed to measure each student’s ability to apply learning skills (rather than his/her ability to memorize facts). The test was to be given at West Rome High School on Saturday, March 4th, at 8:30 am, but no one could take the test unless he/she signed up by February 17th.

Diane Massey of West Rome was one of four winners of a DAR Good Citizens Pin, awarded by the Xavier Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The pins were given to senior girls selected by the faculty and class as having outstanding qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism.

An internal audit of Rome’s Headstart project revealed numerous financial discrepancies, leading to a full-scale audit of the entire program by an independent state auditor. The second audit revealed even more discrepancies leading to one immediate dismissal. Spokespeople said that the audit revealed small discrepancies that got larger as the year went on—a typical sign of intentional mismanagement of funds. The city and the county jointly issued checks to replace the $3000.00 that was missing, which seemed to satisfy the federal government, who declined to reveal the name of the person responsible for the discrepancies or to recommend prosecution.

1967 was the first year that Georgians were required to play their ad valorum taxes at the time their tags were purchased, and Floyd County tax commissioner Sarah Keown said that Romans apparently didn’t like it. Tax collection and tag sales were down by about 35% over the same period last year, with 75% of Romans apparently waiting until the last minute to pay their tag and taxes.

West Rome’s girls pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season when they defeated top-rated Pepperell 41-37. Coach June Hyder had special praise for her guards (Linda Hilley, Judy Stegall, and Debbie Hovey). “We fouled only eight times—four times in each half,” Coach Hyder explained. “And this certainly helped. And they managed to hold Nancy Mathis [a top-ranked Peppered player who had averaged 34 points per game) to 16 points.”

H&R Block was pushing their tax preparation service this week in 1967, offering to prepare both federal and state returns for $5 for a basic return.

Piggly Wiggly had Hormel potted meat for a dime a can, T-bone steak for 99¢ a pound, and Bama preserves or jam (in jars that could used as drinking glasses once emptied) for a quarter a jar. Big Apple had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, Coke/Tab/Fresca/Sprite for 29¢ a case plus deposit, and carrots for 19¢ a bunch. A&P had rib eye steak for $1.79 a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 59¢ a pound, and bath-sized Lifebuoy soap (“The soap that’s 99 and 44/1000% pure… so pure it floats!”) for 19¢ a bar.  Kroger had pork loin roast for 59¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and strawberries for 29¢ a pound. Couch’s had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, squash for a dime a pound, and ten pounds of White Lily flour for 99¢.

The cinematic week began with Funeral In Berlin (with Michael Caine) at the DeSoto Theater, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (with Stuart Whitman) at the West Rome Drive-In. Those Magnificent Men flew over to the DeSoto at the midweek switchout, Julie Andrews refused to vacate the First Avenue, and Second Time Around played for the first time at the West Rome Drive-In.


The Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” pushed the Monkees out of the number one slot this week in 1967, knocking “I’m a Believer” down to second place. Other top ten hits included “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones (#3); “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#4); “(We Ain't Got) Nothin’ Yet” by the Blues Magoos (#5); “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone” by the Supremes (#6); “98.6” by Keith (#7); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#8); “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher (#9); and “Gimme Some Lovin’” by the Spencer Davis Group (#10).

Dolly Parton released her debut album Hello, I’m Dolly this week in 1967. The album generated two top twenty country hits: “Dumb Blonde” and “Something Fishy.” The album also brought Dolly to the attention of Porter Wagoner, who would soon invite her to join his band and appear on his weekly television show.

Khan Noonien Singh (played by Ricardo Montalban) made his first appearance in the Star Trek episode “Space Seed”  this week in 1967. Of course, he would go on to kill Spock in The Wrath of Khan… but don’t worry, Spock got better!

Two future TV stars crossed paths this week in 1967 when Green Arrow and Batman teamed up in Brave & Bold #71, courtesy of Bob Haney & George Papp.  (But I can assure you that, back in 1967, not even the most dedicated DC comics fan ever would have dreamed that Oliver Queen would ever make the jump to teevee!)

Friday, February 03, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/6/1967 to 2/12/1967

Twenty young men (all juveniles) were detained by the police after carrying off a large stack of school supplies (pencils, notebooks, paper, pens, etc.). The youths insisted that they were told by an adult in the store that they could just take all the items, but the store owner said that no one who worked at the store had talked with the. The police held off on filing charges until they could find out who gave them permission to take them. Detective Tom King did say, however, that school supplies weren’t high on the list of desirable items for roving gangs of thieves…

West Rome’s basketball teams continued to struggle, with both the boys and the girls losing to Wills on Saturday night. The boys never had a chance, losing 62-45, but the girls nearly pulled off a victory, losing 36-34 in the last 30 seconds of the game. Juanita Williams was the girls’ top scorer with 28 points, while Kenny Stephens was the top scorer for the boys with 15 points.

The West Rome Honor Society inducted new members Karen Hart, Beth Watson, Myra Beth Boggus, Linda Morgan, Debbie Morris, Robert Blaylock, Beverly Hall, and Debbie Cook in a ceremony that took place on February 7th in the West Rome High School Auditorium.

West Rome junior Vickie Casey was elected 1966-1967 DECA Sweetheart. Vickie,  a member of the Distributive Education Club and the Library Club, was chosen to represent the Rome DECA chapter at the state convention in early April.

Rome continued to investigate the possibility of annexing Garden Lakes into the city. According to the Garden Lakes Company president, the main reason residents wanted to join the city was the school system. “ The county’s schools are in a crisis,” he said, “while West Rome High School is one of the finest schools in the state.” (But we already knew that!) Floyd County representatives said they would consider taking part in annexation planning if the city agreed to assume bonded indebtedness for Garden Lakes elementary (which would become a part of the Rome City Schools system), repay the county for prior payments on bonds and for the cost of the land, and assume all responsibility for road repair in Garden Lakes.

Apparently Rome was  a major player in the Georgia moonshine industry: yet another raid by state and federal alcohol tax agents (aka “revenuers”) took place on February 8th, with one still located near Burnett Ferry Road shut down in the process. More than 150 gallons of illegal whisky was confiscated and the still was destroyed.

A surprise snowfall accompanied 16 degree temperatures on the morning of February 7th, creating numerous traffic problems, including a three-car collision on Shorter Avenue near Horseleg Creek Road. School was cancelled for the day, and I’m sure the cheers of students could be heard all over West Rome… The weather improved by Wednesday, but more snow and sleet moved back in on Sunday, February 12th, wasting a perfectly good bad-weather day on a weekend when school was already closed.

Piggly Wiggly had baking hens for 33¢ a pound, orange juice for 39¢ a half-gallon, and lettuce for 15¢ a head. Kroger had pork roast for 29¢ a pound, Spotlight coffee for 55¢ a pound, and tomatoes for 19¢ a pound. A&P had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ a can, and grapefruit for 6¢ each. Big Apple had chicken livers for 39¢ a pound, Van Camp pork & beans for 20¢ a can, and Bama apple jelly for a quarter a jar. Couch’s had country ham for 49¢ a pound, eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and Couch’s store-made country sausage for 59¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with Penelope (with Natalie Wood) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and The Wrong Box (with John Mills & Michael Caine) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Funeral in Berlin (with Michael Caine) to the DeSoto and The Big Show (with Cliff Robertson) to the West Rome Drive-In, while Julie Andrews had apparently moved into the First Avenue Theatre to stay.

The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” held on to the number one slot for another week. Other top ten hits included “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#2); “Kind of a Drag” by the Buckinghams (#3); “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones (#4); “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” by the Blues Magoos (#5); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#6); “98.6” by Keith (#7); “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#8); “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone” by the Supremes (#9); and “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher (#10).

Monkeemania was in full swing this week in 1967 as the Monkees took the number one and number two slots. Their new album More of the Monkees was the new number one album for the week, while their eponymous first album held on at number two.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/30/1967 to 2/5/1967

After racking up a three-game winning streak in spite of their relative inexperience and smaller size, the Chieftains basketball team earned a new nickname: “Randall’s Runts.” The Chiefs went into their January 31st game against Pepperell with a great attitude, but that wasn’t enough to keep their streak alive: West Rome lost 56-42. while the girls lost 62-40.The weekend was no better for the Chieftains, with East Rome’s basketball teams beating West Rome’s boys and girls teams 87-30 and 45-41 respectively. (Well, the winning streak was nice while it lasted!...)

The newly expanded and modernized Magic Touch Car Wash opened for business at 1705 Shorter Avenue this week in 1967. The Shorter Avenue location was the most highly automated car wash in Northwest Georgia at the time it opened; all exterior washing was automatic, and personnel only cleaned the interior of the car by hand. The roller-conveyor-driven car wash could handle 600 cars a day, and customers could watch their cars as they progressed through the wash.

Residential and commercial growth in Rome and northwest Georgia was so strong that Georgia Power announced plans to add a $50 million generating unit that would more than triple the plant’s production capacity. Rome district vice president Robert W. Scherer said that the 300,000 extra kilowatts of power would supply electricity to the area from Dalton to Atlanta, with a significant amount of the extra power going to the Rome area.

Two West Rome 18-year-olds were arrested on Wednesday night for breaking into Hill’s Grocery on Shorter Avenue and stealing cigarettes and chewing tobacco. The thieves were renting a small apartment above the grocery store; they had pried up the floorboards and used an awl on a string to stab the cigarettes and chewing tobacco on the store shelves below, pulling  them back up through the hole in the floor where the plank used to be.

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, cabbage for 6¢ a pound, and Wesson oil for 37¢ a quart. Big Apple had fresh fryers for 27¢ a pound, Bailey’s Supreme coffee for 59¢ a pound, and Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. Kroger had hen turkeys for 33¢ a pound, Coca-Cola for 39¢ a carton (plus deposit), and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 43¢ a quart. A&P had Swiss steak for 89¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and tall cans of Sea Choice salmon for 49¢. Couch’s had  Oscar Mayer bacon for 69¢ a pound, a 24-ounce can of Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢, and pole beans for 15¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with After The Fox (with Peter Sellers) t the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Dr. Goldfoot & The Girl Bombs (with Vincent Price & Fabian) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Penelope (with Natalie Wood) to the DeSoto Theatre and The Cavern (with John Saxon) to the West Rome Drive-In, while Julie Andrews kept singing about those living hills at the First Avenue.

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour debuted on February 5th, 1967, on CBS. The show, which blended comedy, music, and sociopolitical satire, proved to be a major hit, even though Tom & Dick Smothers were constantly warring with CBS over content. Writers for the series included Jim Stafford, Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Don Novello, Lorenzo Music, Pat Paulsen, and Albert Brooks—all of whom went on to achieve success as comedians and actors in their own right.

The Monkees held on to number one with “I’m a Believer” this week in 1967. Other top ten songs included “Georgy Girl by the Seekers (#2); “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#3); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#4); “Kind of a Drag” by the Buckinghams (#5); “Words of Love” The Mamas & The Papas (#6); “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” by the Blues Magoos (#7); “98.6” by Keith (#8); “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#9); and “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops (#10).

The Monkees also held on to the number slot on the album charts with their eponymous first album. No other pop-rock albums made the top five, with The Sound of Music soundtrack, the Doctor Zhivago soundtrack, SRO by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, and Winchester Cathedral by the New Vaudeville Band filling out the charts.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/23/1967 to 1/29/1967

Two men and two women were taken in for questioning on January 24th after they attempted to cash a forged check at Johnny Reb’s in West Rome. The forgery was so crude that the cashier said it didn’t even look like a real check, so he asked them to wait while he called his boss for approval; instead, the clerk called the police, who found the four would-be forgers waiting impatiently for the cash when the police arrived.

West Rome’s basketball team posted an all-too-rare (for the 1966-67 season) rout, defeating Berry Academy 69-26. The Chieftains played so well that Coach Randall Kent sent in every sub and second-string player on the bench by the end of the third quarter to give them all some playing time. Kenny Stephens and Charlie Layman scored 19 and 17 points respectively. This marked the end of a nine-game losing streak for West Rome.

West Rome turned their victory into a streak with a 63-52 win against Chattooga for the boys team, a 43-34 win for the girls team, and a 53-42 win for the junior varsity. Charlie Layman scored 31 points, Kenny Stephens scored 14, and Benny Padgett scored 10. Juanita Williams was the top scorer for the girls with 27 points.

Barron Stadium took a turn (for the better? for the worse?) this week in 1966 when the bleachers, which were previously located in a general north-south direction, were moved to an east-west direction instead. Work was already underway to relocate lights and to add new dressing rooms and a new press box to the realigned stadium. According to the Rome recreation department, the relocation went so smoothly that there was no doubt that all the work would be completed by the middle of March. (I have no idea why the powers that be felt it was necessary to spend almost $75,000 to rotate the stadium layout 90 degrees… but it happened with almost no advance notice and no explanation.)

Rome’s proposed federal building and post office facility moved one step closer to reality this week in 1967 when the federal budget was approved with a line item allocating more than $1 million to develop the first phase of the project.

The Civil Aeronautics Board ordered Eastern Air Lines to continue serving Rome’s Russell Field, denying their petition for a review with intent of discontinuing service. Eastern was told they had to continue offering one round-trip flight from Atlanta to Rome and back each day.

Sears announced their big sewing machine sale this week in 1967. A zig-zag console matching in an Early American style all-wood console was priced at only $77; a Kenmore deluxe zig-zag machine in an all-wood console, with a thirty-year parts and labor warranty, was available for $117. (Yes, a thirty-year warranty… I don’t know of any manufacturer today who would dream of offering a thirty-year warranty on any piece of equipment!)

The Rome City Commission voted to designate February as American History Month in Rome, following the lead of Congress, who had already designed February as American History Month. To commemorate the event, the Daughters of the American Revolution agreed to sponsor an educational program in the Rome City and Floyd County Schools that included a three-part film presentation at all high schools and an exhibit of important document replicas to be placed in each high school.

Piggly Wiggly had hen turkeys for 35¢ a pound (turkeys weren’t just for Thanksgiving and Christmas, apparently!), eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Minute Maid frozen orange juice concentrate for 15¢ a can, and Maxwell House coffee for 59¢ a pound. Big apple had pork chops for 69¢ a pound, Pride of Georgia ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and five pounds of Gold Medal flour for 49¢. A&P had beef brisket for 89¢ a pound, apples for 8¢ each, and a 48-count box of Ann Page tea bags for 59¢. Couch’s had 3-pound Cudahy Bar-S boneless canned hams for $2.99, Blue Plate peanut butter for 59¢ a quart, and bananas for a dime a pound.

The cinematic week began with Follow Me, Boys (with Fred MacMurray) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily? at the West Rome Drive-In (and I still think this is one of the strangest choices ever for a drive-in movie…). The midweek switchout brought After the Fox (with Peter Sellers & Britt Ekland) to the DeSoto Theatre and a double feature of The Reptile (with Noel Williams) and Rasputin, The Mad Monk (with Christopher Lee) at the West Rome Drive-In, while Julie Andrews kept singing about her favorite things at the First Avenue.

CBS Playhouse, an award-winning anthology drama series, premiered on January 29, 1967 with The Final War of Olly Winter, which starred Ivan Dixon portraying an African-American master sergeant struggling to return to allied-controlled land after a battle with the Viet Cong. Dixon received an Emmy nomination for his performance, which was essentially a  lengthy monologue (the only other charactter was a Vietnamese girl who spoke no English and could not understand what he said as he recounted his experiences). This was a breakout performance for Dixon, who was previously best known for his role as Staff Sgt. Kinchloe on Hogan’s Heroes.

The Monkees maintained their monkey-like grip on number one this week in 1967 with “I’m a Believer.” Other top ten hits included “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#2); “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#3); “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#4); “Words of Love” by The Mamas & The Papas (#5); “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops (#6); “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#7); “Nashville Cats” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#8); “Kind of a Drag” by The Buckinghams (#9); and “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” by the Blues Magoos (#10).

The eponymous debut album by The Stone Poneys was released this week in 1967. While the album didn’t sell particularly well and produced no hit singles, it is noteworthy as the first professional recording for vocalist Linda Ronstadt. who sings lead on several songs on the LP. In the mid-70s, when Linda Ronstadt became a superstar, the album was reissued as The Stone Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt, and the reissue charted at #72).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/16/1967 to 1/22/1967

The prior week’s arrest of two juveniles for breaking into a Shorter Avenue coin laundry, as well as Rome Roller Rink on South Hanks Street, expanded in scope with the arrest of three more suspects—two juveniles and an eighteen-year-old—on Monday, January 16th. The additional suspects were arrested after alert parents contacted the police when they saw that their children had stolen property. “I knew my son couldn’t afford all that stuff, so he had to have stolen it,” the mother of one of the boys told the authorities when she called them to her house to take her son in; he identified the remaining two suspects, and those boys’ parents helped to verify their sons’ involvement.

Juvenile Court Judge John A. Frazier announced a change in court policy: beginning in February 1967, juvenile lawbreakers would have their names released to the press and public upon their second offense. Previously, juveniles’ identities were always protected, but juvenile court judges and the state legislature determined that parents might be more likely to get involved in keeping their children on the straight and narrow if they knew that their identities would be made public once they became “repeater offenders.”

Ceramics were a big thing in the 1960s—so big, in fact, that the Rome Recreation Department announced plans to expand their ceramics class schedule from two days a week to five days a week. More than 200 Romans were already signed up for the classes; with the new schedule, the recreation department hoped to make room for 500 to participate in their ceramics classes.

Popular Southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner offered “a fun filled evening of adult humor” at the Rome City Auditorium on January 21st. Long before the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, comedians like Dave Gardner offered their own distinctively humorous takes on Southern lifestyles and quirks.

Rome was “still crazy,” apparently: police and federal “revenooers” (as they referred to them in the Snuffy Smith comic strip) shut down a huge still off the Alabama Road, just a few miles past West Rome High School. Two men were arrested and charged with manufacturing and possessing non-tax-paid whiskey; their three thousand gallon still was destroyed.

West Rome’s wrestlers lost their first match of the week against East Rome but won their second match by trouncing Sprayberry. Bobby Kerce remained unbeaten, while Greg Quinton, Richard Marable, Jeff Anderson, Roger Weaver, and Anthony Slafta all came through with pins.

Piggly Wiggly had split fryer breasts for 47¢ a pound, tall cans of Double Q salmon for 59¢, and five pounds of oranges for 39¢. Kroger had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and a half-gallon of Kroger ice milk for 39¢. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 63¢ a pound, and tomatoes for 29¢ a pound. Big Apple had Cudahy Bar S bacon for 59¢ a pound, a ten-pound bag of White Lily flour for 99¢, and Country Maid cling peaches for a quarter a can. Couch’s had their own custom-ground country sausage for 59¢ a pound, Kitchen Kraft black-eyed peas for 15¢ a can, and Nabisco Saltine crackers for 35¢ a box.

The cinematic week began with Follow Me Boys (with Fred MacMurray) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Tickle Me (with Elvis Presley) at the West Rome Drive-In. Follow Me Boys and The Sound of Music hung around for another week, while the West Rome Drive-In brought in Woody Allen’s comedy What’s Up Tiger Lily for the weekend.

The Monkees held on to the number one slot this week in 1967 with “I’m A Believer.” Other top ten hits included “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#2); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#3); “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#4); “Words of Love” by The Mamas & the Papas (#5); “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops (#6); “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#7); “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra (#8); “Nashville Cats” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#9); and “Tell It To the Rain” by the Four Seasons (#10).

Friday, January 06, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/9/1967 to 1/15//1967

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Thursday, January 12th at the corner of Redmond Circle and Shorter Avenue—directly across the street from West Rome High School--to celebrate the signing of contracts for the construction of Gala Shopping Center, which was described as “the most modern and largest shopping center ever build in Northwest Georgia.” The 115,000 square foot shopping center would be anchored by a Big K department store—the first Big K in Georgia, according to the Kuhn Brothers Company of Nashville (the owners of Big K). Shopping center owners also confirmed that they had signed Cole Drug Store to open a 12,000 square foot location in the shopping center. Other stores set to open in the new center included A&P Food Store, with an 18,400 square foot store; Economy Auto, with a 9,000 square foot store; Kay’s Ice Cream; and a number of unidentified tenants, including a coin laundry, a men’s store, a ladies’ dress shop, a jewelry store, a shoe store, and a fabric shop/sewing center. Plans called for the center to be completed by September 1967 to take advantage of the 1967 Christmas season. West Rome Students were already counting the days until they could cut class and sneak through the pines to the new shopping center...

Cedartown beat West Rome’s boys 58-32 in one of the worst trouncings in Chieftain history. West Rome’s girls lost in a closer match, 40-36.

Rome closed out another banner year for building permits, with over $6.8 million in permits issued in 1966. General Electric pushed Rome over the top with a $1.134 million expansion of their Redmond Road facility. There were also 180 permits for new homes, 37 permits for new business construction, and 286 more for renovations and repairs of existing businesses. 

More good news for Romans: juvenile crime dropped for the second straight year, with 1966 setting a five-year low with only 169 juvenile arrests in 1966 (61 less than the number arrested in 1965).

One of the strangest gubernatorial elections in Georgia history came to an end this week in 1967 when the state legislature selected Lester Maddox as governor. State Representatives Sidney Lowry & Richard Starnes cast their votes for Republicans Howard “Bo” Callaway, who received a plurality (but not a majority) of the votes in the November election, while J. Battle Hall and Jerry Minge cast their votes for Democrat Lester Maddox. Neither candidate won a majority because of the surprisingly successful write-in campaign for former governor Ellis Arnall. Since Georgia’s legislature was predominantly Democrat, it’s no surprise that the Democratic candidate was the winning choice among legislators.

National City Bank began offering 5.1% interest on saving certificates (now known as certificates of deposit) for 1967, which put them .1% ahead of the other banks in town. (And now, a half-century later, we struggle to find banks that pay 20% of that interest rate… so much for progress!)

Two juveniles were arrested and charged with burglary after being caught in a Shorter Avenue coin laundry after hours. The same juveniles had already broken into Rome Roller Rink on three prior occasions; the Rome Boys Club on two occasions; and had shattered windows in a number of cars in West Rome, looking for cash or car keys so that they could take the cars for joy rides. One juvenile was 15, the other was 13.

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and a case of Coca-Cola for $1.29 plus deposit. Kroger had split chicken breasts for 45¢ a pound, eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and a 1 pound can of Maxwell House coffee for 69¢. Big Apple had corned beef for 69¢ a pound, Shurfine saltines for 19¢ a box, and Van Camp vienna sausages for 19¢ a can. A&P had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, Ann Page mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart, and ripe Florida tomatoes for 29¢ a pound. Couch’s had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, Aristocrat ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and large tangerines for 35¢ a dozen.

The cinematic week began with The Professionals (with Burt Lancaster & Lee Marvin) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of That Funny Feeling (with Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin) and Moment to Moment (with Jean Seberg) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Follow Me, Boys! (with Fred MacMurray & Vera Miles) to the DeSoto and Tickle Me (with Elvis Presley) to the West Rome Drive-In, while The Sound of Music kept sounding off at the First Avenue.

The first-ever Super Bowl took place on January 15th, 1967—and viewers could watch the game on both CBS and NBC, since CBS had the NFL television contract and NBC had the AFL television contract. The game ended with a 35-10 Green Bay win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The big halftime show consisted of performances by marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University. The game is the only Super Bowl in history that was not a sellout; 33,000 seats were unsold in the 94,000 seat stadium, with most people saying the outrageous $12 ticket cost priced them out of the market.

January 15th, 1967 was also the night when the Rolling Stones gave in to Ed Sullivan’s demand that they change the lyrics to “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” When the stones performed the song on the Ed Sullivan Show that evening, the lyrics had become “Let’s Spend Some Time Together."

The Monkees held on to the number one slot this week with “I’m a Believer.” Other top ten hits included “Snooby Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#2); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#3); “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#4); “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra (#5); “Words of Love” by the Mamas & the Papas (#6); “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops (#7); “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band (#8); “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra (#9); and “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers (#10).

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The Twelve Treats of Christmas

Christmas and treats (mostly, but not always, candy) have been inexorably linked ever since my childhood. My parents had certain foods that became "Christmas treats" in my childhood (some of which, such as tangerines and cashew nuts, seem quite common today but must have been less so when my parents were younger); likewise, there are foods that I have come to regard as Christmas treats. No holiday season is complete without these twelve treats:

12 - Brach's Chocolate Covered Peanuts: It's gotta be Brach's. Their chocolate has a dash more salt than most anyone else's, and it's the brand I grew up with.

11 - German Chocolate Cake: My grandmother used to make a remarkable German chocolate cake every Christmas season. That was about the only time I ever got German chocolate cake, so it became a holiday treat from the first time that I tasted it as a child.

10 - Comice Pears: an especially rich, sweet pear with great "mouth feel," the red comice is the Christmas fruit.

9 - Brach's Chocolate Stars: As is the case with the Brach's chocolate covered peanuts, it's gotta be Brach's. I used to get these at Ingle's but they have gone with another brand recently (Zachary's, perhaps?), and both the taste and texture are a bit different.

8 - Cocoa Fudge: I never had creamy fudge as a child. For me, fudge has to be deep, dark, slightly grainy cocoa fudge.

7 - Coconut Cake: Sure, I love coconut cake any time of the year--but it's just not Christmas without at least a piece of coconut cake!

6 - Peanut Butter Fudge: Again, this needs to have a bit of graininess to it--you need to get distinct notes and textures of both the sugar and the peanut butter. Ideally, this should be eaten in an alternating pattern with the cocoa fudge mentioned above.

5 - Planter's Mixed Nuts (without peanuts): These canisters of nuts used to have more pecans in them, but Planter's began cheaping 'em out many years ago. I sometimes add some extra Planters roasted salted pecans to the canister myself, just to get closer to that original mix. I enjoy them so much that I even eat the Brazil nuts (a nut I'd never buy on its own).

4 - Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries: Rich dark chocolate outside, thick liquid cordial center with a crisp, firm cherry inside. These are to be rationed, no more than two a day.

3 - Chocolate Meringue Cookies: I'd never had these before Chris and Markay Appel gave them to me as a Christmas gift years go, and I fell in love with them immediately. Rich cocoa taste, light meringue texture, crisp and crumbly... Again, these are to be rationed, no more than two a day.

2 - Egg Nog Bread: My dear friend Ryan Schwanke first gave this to me several years ago, and now it's one of those treats I eagerly anticipate. It's not a heavy taste--rich and subtle at the same time--but the flavors come out a bit more when it's warmed in the oven.

1 - Whitman's Sampler: I've talked about these boxed candies before, but they still remain the most vital of all Christmas treats. I've gotten at least one of these every Christmas since I was a kid (some all mine, some for the family when I was a kid, and some for Susan and me once we were married). I can't imagine a Christmas without them.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/2/1967 to 1/8/1967

Four teenagers were arrested on Horseleg Road, just off Shorter Avenue,  and charged with destruction of private property as well as violation of Federal Code 1705 relating to the destruction of federal property (which was punishable by up to 3 years in prison) after they used fireworks to explode more than four dozen mailboxes in the West Rome area. One of the four teens was also charged with driving while intoxicated. The police indicated that they expected the judge to require the boys and their parents to pay the replacement cost for all the damaged mailboxes. The situation got more sever, though, when the federal government stepped in to make an example of the boys by prosecuting them on the federal charges as well. Each of the four was placed under a $500 appearance bond while the various prosecutors decided what to do next.

West Rome’s basketball season continued to disappoint as both the boys and the girls lost to Cass on Friday night, January 6th. Both Coach Randall Kent and Coach June Hyder said that their teams were simply “outplayed,” offering no excuses for the losses.

Mr. & Miss West Rome High School and West Rome’s class favorites were announced this week in 1967. Jerry Hill and Susan Sprayberry were elected as Mr. and Miss West Rome High School. The class favorites included Debbie Shannon and David McGuinness (seniors); Juan Aguilar & Jean Smiderski (juniors); Janice Lee & Roger Weaver (sophomores); and Kay Duffy & Lloyd Frazier (freshmen).

Governor Carl Sanders dedicated Georgia’s first three-level traffic interchange at a ceremony on the east side of town. The interchange at the intersection of US 411, US 27, and Georgia 101, was the most ambitious non-interstate interchange to date in Georgia, and was seen as a sign of Rome’s growing financial importance to Northwest Georgia. The governor said that he was optimistic that the interchange would soon serve increased traffic due to a forthcoming direct link between Rome and I-75 via Hwy 411. (Alas, thanks to the Rollins family, that direct link remains unconstructed fifty years later…)

Piggly Wiggly had cube steak for 99¢ a pound, bell peppers for a dime each, and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for 15¢ a can. Big Apple had tall cans of Bumble Bee salmon for 69¢, calf liver for 29¢ a pound, and bananas for a dime a pound. Kroger had pork loin roast for 49¢ a pound, Cudahy sliced bacon for 59¢ a pound, and a twenty-pound bag of potatoes for 89¢. A&P had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and sliced bologna for 27¢ a pound. Couch’s had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, a one-pound can of Maxwell House coffee for 89¢, and a case of Double Cola for 99¢ plus deposit.

The cinematic week began with The Professionals (with Burt Lancaster) at the DeSoto Thatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue, and Assault on a Queen (with Frank Sinatra) at the West Rome Drive-In. Both The Professionals and The Sound of Music hung around for another week, while the West Rome Drive-In brought in a double feature of Tarzan & the Valley of Gold (with Mike Henry) and Frankenstein Conquers the World (with Nick Adams). (I loved Tarzan and I loved monster movies, but I was too young to drive and my parents were not swayed by my pleas that we go to this double feature...)

The Monkees took the top slot this week in 1967 with “I”m a Believer.” Other top ten hits included “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#2); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#3); “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band (#4); “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra (#5); “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra (#6); “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#7); “Words of Love” by The Mamas & The Papas (#8); “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops (#9): and “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan (#10).

This week in 1967, the sometimes risqué but always strangely amusing Newlywed Game made the jump to prime-time television on ABC as a part of the Friday night TV lineup. complete with host Bob Eubanks, who did double duty on both the daytime and the primetime series.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/26/1966 to 1/1/1967

One year came to an end and a new year began fifty years ago this week. 1966 had been a good year for business and for the Rome community—and a great year for West Rome High School, which had an unbeaten football team that went on to win  a region championship. Community and business leaders were very positive about the upcoming year, expecting continued business growth, continued low unemployment, and an improving quality of life for most Romans.

West Rome’s bad luck basketball season continued with another loss—this one to Armuchee—in the Cave Spring Invitational Girls Basketball Tournament. The girls team put up a good fight, though, forcing the game into double overtime before Armuchee won 56-52. West Rome’s top scorers were Juanita Williams (27 points), Elaine Underwood (15 points), and Debbie Poarch (10 points).

The Etowah River ran clear, a rarity in Rome. The reason? Turns out that some of the mining operations in and near Cartersville had shut down for the holidays, which gave the river a respite from the silt and residue runoff that normally colors the river a reddish brown. Some older residents said that this was the first time in their memory that the river was “river colored,” as one old-timer put it.

A pair of burglars tried to make a Looney Tunes escape from the police when they were caught in the middle of robbing the Goodyear Store on Broad Street: they tried to run through the plate glass window. Needless to say, they didn’t make it very far—but remarkably, neither was seriously injured by the flying shards of glass. Both burglars were apprehended and taken to jail, having gained nothing for their panes… err, pains.

Some residents were concerned about a new policy that was slated to begin on January 1st, 1967. Effective with the new year, residents would have to pay their auto ad valorum taxes at the time they got their license plates. Previously, ad valorum taxes for the year were paid in October, the same time real estate and personal property taxes were paid. This change meant that residents would have to pay taxes on their cars again between January 2nd and April 1st (just a few months after paying last year’s taxes). It would be a few more decades before Georgia would change the system again, letting residents pay their ad valorum taxes and their tag fees on their birthday rather than requiring everyone to pay their auto tag fees and taxes in the first three months of the year. (And it would be several years after that before the state would do away with the annual ad valorum taxes for cars purchased in 2012 or later, going with a single tax that replaced the sales tax).

After a few warm post-Christmas days with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, the temperature plummeted to 19 degrees on Friday morning, December 30th. Temperatures climbed back by New Years Day, with lows in the low 30s and highs in the upper 40s.

One look at the grocery store ads made it clear that New Years Day was approching, with lots of ads for blackeye peas, greens, and hamhocks. Piggly Wiggly had collard greens for 19¢ a bunch, Bush blackeye peas for 12¢ a can, and country ham for 39¢ a pound. A&P had whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, turnip greens for 12¢ a pound, and sweet potatoes for a dime a pound  Big Apple had round steak for 77¢ a pound, smoked hog jowl for 19¢ a pound, and dried blackeye peas for 9¢ a pound. Kroger had rib roast for 79¢ a pound, fatback for 15¢ a pound, and dried pinto beans for a dime a pound. Couch’s had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, cabbage for 8¢ a pound, and Southern Queen canned blackeye peas for a dime a can.

The cinematic week began with Murderer’s Row (with Dean Martin & Ann-Margret) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) at the First Avenue Theatre and Spinout (with Elvis Presley) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought The Professionals (with Burt Lancaster & Lee Marvin) to the DeSoto and a double feature of Robin & the Seven Hoods (with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin) and None But the Brave (with Frank Sinatra) to the West Rome Drive-In, while The Sound of Music remained one of Rome’s favorite things at the First Avenue.

The Monkees leapt to number one this week with the Neil-Diamond-penned “I’m a Believer.” Other top ten hits included “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen (#2); “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band (#3); “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra (#4); “Sugar Town” by Nancy Sinatra (#5); “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan (#6); “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (#7); “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by the Temptations (#8); “A Place in the Sun” by Stevie Wonder (#9); and “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#10).