The 445th (Dixie) Troop Carrier Wing of the Air Force reserve was called to active duty this week in 1962, which meant that a number of Romans had to report; this activation came about as a result of continuing tensions over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Rome’s Cuban population was interviewed and overwhelmingly supported a Cuban invasion. The crisis was still impacting area grocery stores, who were reporting difficulties restocking batteries and some canned goods. The week ended with news that lifted everyone’s spirits, however: surveillance photos revealed that the Cuban missile bases were being dismantled, which signaled an end to the crisis. Every one in Rome was breathing a little easier as a result of that news!
The big East Rome-West Rome game took place fifty years ago this week; the Gladiators were favored to win, but they didn’t. However, neither did West Rome: the game ended in a 7-7 tie. That meant that West Rome once again denied East Rome of a football victory (the Gladiators had lost every ER-WR game prior to this year). West Rome had a chance for the win in the final 25 seconds of the game, had they gone for a field goal. “We had every intention of going for the field goal,” Coach Paul Kennedy said, but he was unable to get the word to the players on the field, since there were no time outs remaining. West Rome scored on a Chris Warren pass to Gerry Law that came after some great running plays by Larry Parker and Dickie Sapp. Jimmy Walden’s point-after kick tied the game, which was played before an audience of 6000+ people (now doubt about it—Rome was a football town!).
The Chieftain JV team closed a perfect season with a 26-0 victory over Calhoun
Parrish Bakeries announced plans to expand its West Rome facility, adding 7000 square feet to the production line and adding a number of employees to its staff which numbered 159 workers as of October, 1962. (This was, of course, a time when Rome had a thriving manufacturing and production community, including a number of factories and distribution centers.)
Those who consider pumpkin pie a fall essential could pick one up for 39 cents at the Piggly Wiggly in West Rome. You could also get a pound package of Mann’s Golden Harvest Wieners for 39 cents (is that brand even around today?), and you could pick up a pound of Brach’s Pic-a-Mix candy for only 45 cents. West Rome’s Big Apple Grocery Store was offering ground beef for 39 cents a pound; sugar was on sale for 39 cents for five pounds; RC Cola (“Bottled in Rome!”) was 89 cents for a case of 24 bottles; and the newly-arrived Christmas gift wrap was available in a 6-roll pack for 89 cents.
If you were listening to Rome radio, you would have most likely heard “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by the Four Seasons, since it was Number One fifty years ago this week. Other songs in the top 20 included “He’s a Rebel” by the Crystals, “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley, “The Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, “Surfin’ Safari” by the Beach Boys, and “Lonely Bull” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.
20,000 people showed up for the Second Annual Rome Automobile Show, held at Central Plaza. Attendees had an opportunity to compare the 1963 lines from every major automobile manufacturer.
Moviegoers could see The Miracle Worker at the DeSoto Theater; Lolita at the First Avenue (if you were over 16, of course--and was it normal policy that mature films with more sexual themes ended up at the First Avenue?), or King of Kings at the West Rome Drive-In.
The Shrimp Boat was running a special on a dozen oysters, french fries, hush puppies, and cole slaw for only $1.25. (Was I the only West Rome kid who actually thought they brought the seafood up the river to the Shrimp Boat restaurant, since it was located right next to the 2nd Avenue Bridge?)
In the mood for a ham dinner? Then Redford’s 5 and 10 Cent Store was the place to go: they were offering baked ham, green peas, creamed potatoes, candied beets, and hot rolls for 50 cents every Friday. Murphy’s in downtown Rome countered that with a fried chicken breast, snowflake potatoes, buttered vegetable, rolls, and a chilled pear half on a bed of crisp lettuce (apparently a menu mainstay in the 1960s--and I remember it being a part of many a meal at our house, often topped with a dollop of mayonnaise and a little bit of grated cheese) for the same 50 cent price.
The Rome Radio Company was pushing its 19” Zenith Console Color Television as the ideal Christmas gift; since color televisions were still relatively new (and most programming was still in black and white because of the rarity of color TV’s), the price was so high that Rome Radio didn’t even promote the price in its ad, although they did offer a trade in of up to $100 for your old TV.
Patches Martin, Ellen Cantrell, & Leigh Whittenburg were elected as officers of West Rome’s Interclub Council.
Shorter College launched its “Sherwood Forest Day” event on October 29th to raise money for Thanksgiving food baskets for needy families. A number of West Rome churches helped in the fund-raising drive.