Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/14/63 to 1/20/63

1963 continued its cold trend with a 12 degree low on Monday, January 14th; temperatures remained below freezing through Wednesday afternoon, January 16th. (Many of us who grew up in this time came to think of the colder weather of the 1960s and early 1970s as Georgia's norm, which is one reason that we don't remember summers being as hot as they are not--because they weren't!)

If the cold was too much, you could always make a trip to Penney's for their January clearance sale, where their entire stock of winter jackets was ons ale for $5.88 per jacket regardless of former price. And according to their ad, Penney's was open "all day every Wednesday!" (We sometimes forget that many businesses in Rome closed for a half-day on Wednesdays back then.)

Rome's growth continued as official results indicated that Rome saw a 7% increase in store sales in 1962, which put Rome ahead of all Georgia cities other than Atlanta in business growth. No wonder so many new businesses wanted to open Rome locations in the 1960s!

Meanwhile, the US set records with a proposed $99 billion budget with a $10.3 billion deficit, the largest budget in US history. And just think--if today's US budget was the same proportionate level adjusted for inflation, we'd be looking at about a $750 billion federal budget with about $75 billion in deficit spending!

New Georgia governor Carl Sanders proposed a new junior college for Rome as well as an expansion of Coosa Valley Vocational Technical School (which hd just opened its doors in September 1962). As we know, Floyd Junior College opened less than a decade later, eventually becoming Georgia Highlands College with multiple northwest Georgia campuses.

Alas, Rockmart's Yellow Jackets proved too formidable for West Rome as both the boys and girls basketball teams lost on Friday, January 18th. Rockmart's girls team won 55-29, while the boys won 55-44.  The next night was better for the Chieftains, though, as West Rome took revenge on Model for their early season loss with two victories on Saturday, January 19th. The girls won 55-37 and the boys won 47-33. Linda LIppincott and Wesley Jenkins Lippincott were spotlighted for their respective 35 point and 25 point contributions to the Chieftain victories.

West Rome's wrestlers won their third season victory by defeating the East Rome Gladiators; Mike Murphy, Jimmy Cowart, and Larry Lippencott all pinned their opponents in the match.

Joan Tillery was West Rome's only winner in the Leithauser Studio of Art competition's teenage category.

Rome City Police Captain Nelson Camp announced plans to issue tickets for motorists who avoided stopping at red lights by cutting through business parking lots--and is it any surprise to anyone that the Shorter Avenue corridor was cited as a problem area.

Belk-Rhodes made a strong push to get Romans to try their relatively new line of Corning Ware (the product was introduced in limited markets in 1958, but it didn't begin its national push until the early 1960s) with their "Corning Ware Get Acquainted" program; they encouraged their customers to try Corning Ware ("made of PyroCeram Space Age Ceramic") for 10 days; if they weren't satisfied, Belk-Rhodes would buy it back at full price.

In 1963, one of the most affordable sources of new gas ranges was Atlanta Gas Light Company (this was before deregulation of the natural gas industry, when Atlanta Gas Light was our only gas choice, prices were more affordable, and service was a priority). A bring new Magic Chef gas range was available for only $209.00, or $10 down and $7.90 a month with no interest chages.

Piggly Wiggly had bacon for 43¢ a pound; Blue Plate apple jelly for a quarter per 16-ounce jar; and Heinz Tomato soup for 9¢ per can. Kroger was offering 2 large boxes of Tide detergent for 49¢; Campbell's Tomato soup for 10¢ a can;and large eggs for 49¢ a dozen (which seems pretty high; when you adjust for inflation, that would be more than $3.50 today!). Couch's had country sausage for 49¢ a pound; stew beef for 29¢ a pound; and vine ripened tomatoes for 19¢ a pound (and back then, they really were relatively fresh off the vines, and they really were ripe!).

Jim Walter Homes advertised their new pre-fab home plans for 1963, including the 3-bedroom "Hollywood" for $3790, built on your lot, with prices of less than $38 per month for 13 years.

Rome's movie choices for the first half of the week included Barabbas at the First Avenue; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? at the West Rome Drive-In; and Billy Budd at the DeSoto. Billy Budd stayed around for the weekend, while the First Avenue brought in Jumbo with Doris Day and the West Rome Drive-In offered a double feature of In Love and War followed by Blue Denim..

January's top ten songs included "Go Away Little Girl" by Steve Lawrence (#1); "Telstar" by the Tornadoes (#2); "Hotel Happiness" by Brook Benton (#3); "Tell Him" by The Exciters (#4); "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" by Bobby Vee (#5); "Limbo Rock" by Chubby Checker (#6); "Two Lovers" by Mary Wells (#7); "My Dad" by Paul Petersen (#8); "Pepino the Italian Mouse" by Lou Monte (#9); and "Hey Paula" by Paul & Paula (#10). Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Beatles' first single, "Please Please Me," was climbing up the charts in the UK (although it would be the end of the year before West Romans would hear much about the Fab Four).

(Sorry that I forgot to post this over the weekend--and thanks to those of you who wrote to me today to let me know you were waiting to see it!)

No comments: