Sunday, June 02, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/6/63 to 5/12/63

The US stepped up its pace in the space race with the launch of Telstar-2, the first communications satellite with the potential to beam the first "live" intercontinental television pictures. Today, we take satellite technology for granted, but in 1963, it was treated like science fiction come to life, earning front-page headlines across the country.

William Faulkner's The Reivers, a Southern tale of misadventure, won the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for fiction this week in 1963; no award was made for drama, even though the committee had recommended the award go to "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

A heat wave pushed Rome into record high temperatures on Wednesday, May 8th, with an official high of 89 degrees. (Wait--does this mean there were heat waves before the whole global warming push?)

Even before West End Elementary School was officially opened, the Rome school board was already talking about a potential shortage of classrooms, particularly in the rapidly-growing West Rome area, where there were worries that West Rome High, West End Elementary, and Elm Street Elementary would all be over capacity within five years. (And those of us who had classrooms in trailers know that this prediction did indeed come to pass!)

What might have been…. fifty years ago this week, a Rome businessman offered a 120-acre site on the Cave Spring Road for construction of a proposed state junior college in Floyd County. As we know now, his offer was not accepted.

West Rome got a new restaurant this week in 1963 when the Pizza King opened at 1922 Shorter Avenue, across the street from Westdale Shopping Center, offering 28 different varieties of pizza in princess, queen, and king sizes. While that was only a mile or so from my house, I don't recall every trying it and don't even remember the restaurant; any readers with Pizza King stories to tell?

The Chieftains defeated Chattooga County 5-2; the game's most memorable moment came when Gerry Law hit a solo home run in the fifth inning.

West Rome came in third in the Region 3-AA sub-region meet at Darlington, with 33 total team points. West Rome went on to tie for fourth place in the Region 3-AA meet at North Whitfield--alas, not the Chieftain's finest showing...

Piggly Wiggly had Delmonico steaks for 99¢ a pound, strawberry's for 45¢ a quart, and Maxwell House Instant Coffee for 89¢ per ten ounce jar. Kroger had smoked ham for 29¢ a pound, medium eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and a quart of Dempsey's Orange Drink (who needs orange juice when you can have tasty orange drink!) for 10¢ a quart. Couch's had Oscar Mayer bologna or hot dogs for 49¢ a pound, Northern tissue for 35¢ per four-roll pack, and bananas for a dime a pound. Colonial offered T-bone steak for 89¢ a pound, catsu for 20¢ per 16 ounce bottle, and a large head of lettuce for a dime. Big Apple offered spare ribs for 29¢ a pound, Royal Crown or Diet-Rite Cola for 19¢ a six-pack (plus deposit), and Bama grape jam or jelly for 19¢ a jar.

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds opened at the DeSoto Theater this week in 1963, with five showings a day scheduled throughout the week--a true rarity for the DeSoto, which normally did not run showings during the morning and afternoon except on weekends. The First Avenue was showing Escape from Port Bravo (with William Holden) and Ride Vaquero with Robert Taylor; the West Rome Drive-In offered lighter fare in the form of It's Only Money (with Jerry Lewis). The Birds flew over to the First Avenue for the weekend to make room for Gorgo and Atlantis: The Lost Continent at the DeSoto ( I never got to see this movie; this is the film that my parents were taking me to the drive-in to see in 1960 when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and slammed into the side of our car. Thankfully, no one was injured, but we never made it to the drive-in that night... and oddly enough, I've never seen the film since then!). The West Rome Drive-In offered Walt Disney's Nikki, Wild Dog of the North over the weekend.

The number one song this week in 1963 was "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March, followed by  "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" by Peter, Paul & Mary (#2); "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul (#3); "Pipeline" by the Chantays (#40); "Can't Get Used to Losing You" by Andy Williams (#5); "Foolish Little Girl" by the Shirelles (#6); "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys (#7); "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons (#8); "Reverend Mr. Black" by the Kingston Trio (#9); and "Losing You" by Brenda Lee (#10).

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