Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/25/63 to 3/31/63

Southeastern Airlines stirred up a lot of talk in Rome with an announcement of four commercial routes connecting Rome, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Panama City. The news turned out to be non-news, though, when the airline said that the announcement was premature and that no deal has been made.

ChieftainActs took place on Friday, March 29th; the theme in 1963 was "These Wonderful Years," and more than 200 students took part in the talent show on Friday and again on Saturday, March 30th. Lee Mowry was the master of ceremonies for the annual event.

Derrell Travis Brookshire, a sophomore percussionist at West Rome, and Warren Nelson Payne, a sophomore bassoonist who also played a pretty mean piccolo, won a scholarship to the Transylvania Music Camp at Brevard NC, a six-week course of intensive music study. Both students were members of the All-State Band as well. Band director Clyde Roberson described the camp as "a wonderful opportunity for the students; the finest directors and teachers in the nation are on the camp staff."

The annual Volleyball Tournament, held at Berry College, saw West Rome's girls B team defeat Armuchee's A team 15-5, after which they beat Pepperell's A team 11-6. West Rome's A team also won, defeating Pepperell's B team 13-9. West Rome's girls advanced all the way to the finals. (The Rome News Tribune included no names of Chieftains on the girls volleyball team, and they're not pictured in the yearbook, either; can anyone reading this identify our volleyball players?)

A group of black civic leaders called on the Rome City Schools to build a new high school to replace Main High; afterwards, the old Main High could be converted to an elementary school to replace the structure that burned down several months earlier. The cost for a new high school was estimated at approximately $100,000.00 (which probably wouldn't pay for a single classroom addition to a high school today!).

The growing national civil rights movement made its presence known in Rome when 62 black teens were arrested for staging sit-ins at the segregated lunch counters at four Broad Street businesses: Walgreen at Broad and 5th (I never knew that Rome had a Walgreen Pharmacy in the 1960s), Murphy's on the 400 block, Redford on the 300 block, and Enloe's on the 200 block. Each sit-in participant was sentenced to $50 fines or five days in jail--and those five days would not include the days spent in jail awaiting a hearing, according to City Recorder Henry Fulbright.

Plasticized paper milk containers were the big thing this week in 1963. In the course of four days, Dempsey Brothers, Sealtest, Mayfield, and Green Brothers all advertised their new "no wax" quart and half-gallon plasticized paper containers with gabled tops that "pour like a pitcher, won't break, won't flake, and won't leak." I never recalled major problems with milk cartons prior to this time--but then again, my mom was probably discouraging me from pouring milk most of the time, since I had a tendency to overfill the glass anyway...

The Shrimp Boat made it cheaper than ever to eat out with their mid-week fish dinner special (which included fish, slaw, fries, and hush puppies)for only 85¢.

Kelly's DuPont Paint Center opened at 516 Shorter Avenue this week in 1963 to take advantage of the building and remodeling boom taking place on Rome's west side. Back then, standard indoor or outdoor paint could be had for only $1.75 a gallon, while top-of-the-line Lucite Wall exterior house paint went for $6.90 a gallon.

Belk Rhodes advertised their wide selection of Easter fashions, including dresses "from toddler to teen, including chubbette." Yes, imagine if a store today advertised an entire line of clothing branded "Chubbette Fashions"--and they even trademarked it!

Piggly Wiggly made it affordable to eat in style with sirloin steaks for 89¢ a pound; they also offered orange juice for 29¢ a quart and turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, corn dogs on a stick for a nickel each, and Eatmore brand margarine (no, I'm not making that name up!) for 8¢ per one-pound package. Couch's had ground beef for 33¢ a pound (this was back when no one mentioned the lean-to-fat content of the beef, of course), Duncan Hines cake mix for 33¢ a box, and sweet potatoes for a nickel a pound. A&P had salmon for 59¢ a can (did anyone buy salmon as fresh fish back then? I thought it only came canned!), bell peppers for a nickel each, and tomato soup for 9¢ a can. Big Apple offered T-Bone steak for 99¢ a pound, a 12-pack of doughnuts for 29¢, and 14-ounce frozen pizzas for 9¢ each.

If you wanted to catch a movie during the week, you had a choice of A Girl Named Tamiko at the DeSoto Theater, The Raven at the First Avenue, or Thank a Fool at the West Rome Drive-In. The weekend brought Marlon Brando's Julius Caesar to the DeSoto; Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World to the First Avenue, and Jack the Giant Killer to the West Rome Drive-In.

"He's So Fine" by the Chiffons climbed to #1 this week in 1963. Other top ten hits included "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and the Romantics (#2); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#3); "South Street" by the Orlons (#4); "You're the Reason I'm Living" by Bobby Darin (#5); "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades (#6); "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison (#7); Baby Workout" by Jackie Wilson (#8); "Our Winter Love" by Bill Pursell (#9); and "Blame It On the Bossa Nova" by Eydie Gorme (#10).

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