My friend Debbi Joyner does a wonderful weekly newsletter, The Drumbeat, devoted to my alma mater, West Rome High School (as I've mentioned here previously, the school no longer exists--it was replaced by a WalMart parking lot a couple of decades ago, when Rome City Schools decided to abandon the idea of two accessible neighborhood/community high schools and replace them both with a single school on the edge of nowhere, near no one). Since I've been enjoying perusing the Rome News-Tribune's archives, I decided to gather news tidbits of interest to former West Romans like myself and submit those highlights to Debbi; she was interested in running them starting next week, so Drumbeat readers will see them there.
While I have no illusions that many of my readers are going to be interested, I figure I'll post the pieces here after they run in the Drumbeat. This week's piece, done as a tryout, will not appear in the Drumbeat because the issue was already assembled, so it's appearing here as a sort of dry run.)
•A West Rome crime spree was halted when three boys--ages 11, 13, & 14--were arrested for burglaries and vandalism in West Rome. Rome Pipe Company, Johnston Sheet Metal Works, Johnson Service Station, Sealtest Milk Co, and the Tom's Warehouse, all in the area of Shorter Avenue and Hanks Street, were the targets of the burglaries. They were reportedly caught when they ran their stolen getaway truck into a pile of building supplies. (If anyone reading this wants to 'fess up to the crime, here's your chance!)
•A "battered West Rome team" (as my dad, Don Biggers of the Rome News-Tribune, called the team in his column) faced off against Rockmart in Friday night football. Dickie Sapp (then a sophomore) was chosen outstanding offensive lineman of the week for his three touchdowns that led the Chieftains to a victory. That was probably a relief to Coach Paul Kennedy, who was quoted two days before the game as saying "We're worried about our offense." No need to worry, Coach Kennedy!
•West Romans could add a GIANT-SIZED 23" television to their family living rooms for only $199.95, thanks to the friendly folks at the Economy Auto Store on Broad Street--and Economy Auto would throw in a free roll-about table to hold the television. (Adjusted for inflation, that would put the 23" television at just over $1500.00 today!)
•Piggly Wiggly was running several specials at their West Rome location, including a case of cokes for 79 cents, a pound of bacon for 49 cents, or a pound of bananas for 9 cents. And to make it easier for West Romans to shop, Piggly Wiggly had begun to stay open until 7pm on Wednesday and Thursday nights!
•Meanwhile, those willing to drive across town to Kroger could get a pound of boneless sirloin steak for 99 cents and a pound of coffee for 49 cents. Ten pounds of potatoes would set you back a whopping 39 cents--but to help make up for it, Kroger was offering double Top Value stamps every week leading up to Christmas.
•Barber shop roulette: Mrs. Alice Lacey moved to Clay Barber Shop on Shorter Avenue this week in 1962, while Ralph Carter relocated to the West End Barber Shop--and yes, those moves did indeed make the news in 1962! (How many people have any memories of precisely who cut their hair way back then? I never really thought about having barber preferences--I didn't even know we could have barber preferences!)
•Showing at the theater this week fifty years ago: The Notorious Landlady with Kim Novack, Jack Lemmon, & Fred Astaire was at the DeSoto; the First Avenue Theater was running a double feature of Son of Samson and Last of the Vikings; while our favorite, the West Rome Drive-In, was running The Girl He Left Behind with Tab Hunter and Natalie Wood as well as Top Secret Affair with Susan Hayward & Kirk Douglas.