Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/5/1962 - 11/11/1962

The Cuban Missile Crisis continued to wind down, with spyplane photos confirming the removal of Soviet planes and missiles from Cuba. Meanwhile, global tensions were heating up in India as the Chinese Army began to mass near the Indian border, paving the way for the escalation of  a border conflict into a full-fledged Sino-Indian war. Remember all those cold war fears from 1962? Well, events like this certainly contributed!...

Not exactly West Rome news, but Eleanor Roosevelt passed away on November 7th, 1962, from the effects of prolonged anemia. I still remember my elementary school teacher being very sad about this news.

How times change; elections were held this week in 1962, and the Democrats held the majority of the offices once the votes were tallied. The Republicans added two state senators to their column, but neither of them represented Rome.

West Rome took part in the Third Annual Cross-Country run at the Berry Track on Tuesday, November 6th--one of nine Rome area high schools participating. West Rome only placed third, alas--but that still put us ahead of East Rome, who finished fourth.

Elm Street’s Mites beat Northside on 11/5 with a score of 18-0 for the Boy’s Club Mite Championship. Rocky Vines, Donald Holbrook, Ken Davis, Larry Padgett, Allen Reed, and Gary Nutt were named as outstanding players for Elm Street. Meanwhile, the Garden Lakes Vs. West End Midget playoff was pushed back to Monday, November 12th due to rain.

Residents of the Beverly Heights subdivision asked to be annexed into the city 50 years ago this week. The annexation eventually came to pass, and those residents (including my family, who lived in this neighborhood) officially became Chieftains soon afterwards.

The Office of Civil Defense (think “Homeland Security” minus a half-century) held workshops on fallout shelter construction and maintenance throughout the southeast, including in Rome, this week fifty years ago. (I know of at least one West Rome family that had a fallout shelter in their back yard--right, Phil Patterson?--but how many others had their own protection from nuclear annihilation?)

Remember Christmas Clubs--that program wherein local banks would encourage you to deposit a set amount each month, which they would return to you in a Christmas Club check as the holiday season approached (but there was no interest added). Well, this was the week in 1962 that National City Bank and Rome Bank and Trust began to distribute their Christmas Club checks!

If good fences indeed make good neighbors, then you could have great neighbors for only 29 cents a linear foot: Sears was offering 48” chain link fencing fabric at a bargain price.

Cholesterol didn’t worry us much in 1962: Kroger was running a special on 4 pounds of pure lard for 29 cents, a quart of Kroger Mayonnaise for 45 cents, and 24 ounces of Crisco for 39 cents.

Sears sold fruit trees? Yes, they did--or at least, they did in 1962! They were advertising their new shipment of apple, peach, or pear trees for $1.98 for a 3 to 5 foot tall tree. Wonder how many fruit trees in West Rome yards today began as Sears saplings?

The Christmas advertising got underway in earnest with Murphy’s 3/4 page ad promoting their toys, including $3 barbies (and you could add a Barbie wardrobe for $1 to $3.50 more!), an $8.99 foot-and-a-half long battery powered Dino plush figure from the Flintstones, and a $9.58 Talking Cecil 44” long figure from Beany & Cecil.

How popular were pork and beans in 1962? Big enough that Van Camp’s ran a half-page ad for the line, touting them as “America’s first, finest, and favorite pork and beans.” Those pork adn beans could be had for 10 cents a can at Colonial or 12 cents a can at Big Apple.

Now here’s a bargain I wish I could buy today: Piggly Wiggly offered 5 hot pork barbecue sandwiches from their deli for only $1 (how did I forget that Piggly Wiggly HAD a deli?).

We take digital watches for granted nowadays (if anyone even wears a watch, since many people just use their smartphones as a timepiece), but the Accutron Sonic timepiece was the latest technology in 1962. Guaranteed not to gain or lose more than one minute per month, these watches could be had for the bargain price of $125.00 to $250.00 at Brock’s. (And when you consider that a 1962 Volkswagen could be had for $1100 to $1200, that’s one expensive watch!)

What we would give for numbers like this today!... Floyd County unemployment came in at 4.2% this week in 1962, almost a full percent below the 5.1% unemployment rate nationwide. Rome’s strong manufacturing, retail, and medical-related businesses were credited for the incredibly good numbers, with Rome forecast at remaining a hiring engine for northwest Georgia for years to come (and that was the case , as it turned out!).

The DeSoto Theater was running If a Man Answers with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darrin; the First Avenue presented Damon & Pithias through Wednesday, with 2 Week in Another Town with  Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, & Cyd Charisse premiering on Thursday; and the West Rome Drive-In featured Disney’s Babes in Toyland through Tuesday, with The Cabinet of Caligari running on the weekend.

“Big Girls Don’t Cry” by the Four Seasons held on to first place in the Teen Beat’s Top Ten, with “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley climbing to second place. The only new song int he top ten was “Limbo Rock” by Chubby Checker.

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