Sunday, June 02, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/27/63 to 6/2/63

West Rome's outstanding students were announced at the Academic Awards banquet held Saturday, May 25th. The honorees included Elaine Darsey, Lee Davenport Susan Edge, Judy Oxford, Jack Peugh, Lynn Scherer, Steve Warren, Baxter Joy, Jimmy Green, & Steve Henderson (7th grade); Lane Chapman, Carol Culp, Walter Greene, Charles Murphy, & Judy Camp (8th grade); Charlene Lamb, Jean Jackson, Yvonne Housch, Thomas McMahan, Jan Nutt, Sara Whitworth, Ann Finley, Janet Jarrett, Cindy Latimore, & Pat Richerson (9th grade); Chris Lawler, Ann Payne, & Jerry Coalson (10th grade); Pat Merill, Alfred Fletcher, Jenny Stewart, Leigh Whittenberg, Sheryl Painter, Herman Trammell, Alice Evans, Dennis Greer, Pat Jarrard, & Carol Johnson (11th grade); Marge Budek, Ellen Cantrell, Anita Lowery, Patches Martin, Glenda Walters, Larry Parker, Bobby Murphy, & Carolyn Stegall (12th grade).

Work on the Alabama Highway upgrades from Burnett Ferry Road to the Rice Springs Railroad crossing, expanding the road from 2 to 4 lanes and adding sidewalks and gutters. I didn't even remember that, until this expansion project, Shorter Avenue ended at Burnett Ferry Road and the road was 2-lane from there to West Rome High School and beyond. The project was timed for early fall completion; the bulk of the work was to be done during the summer, when school was out, and Ledbetter Construction hoped to finish the road by September (if the weather was good) or October (if the weather was less cooperative).

Memorial Day remembrance ceremonies were held in Rome and across the country on Thursday, May 30th. Prior to 1971, Memorial Day was always observed on May 30th; in 1971, federal legislation changed the official date of Memorial Day to the fourth Monday in May (Their one and only reason? It would create more three-day weekends…) In 1963, most businesses and banks were open, and Memorial Day was not viewed as a "holiday" as such.

Sears was apparently your shopping source for pretty much everything in 1963: in late May, they were running a special on precision remanufactured engines for 1955-57 Fords for as low as $18 a month for one year. They also offered remanufactured automatic transmissions, believe it or not--and they had 247 other Allstate engines for a variety of cars and trucks!

West Rome's Pizza King held its grand opening celebration on the weekend of 5/31/63 through 6/2/63; they were located at 1922 Shorter Avenue, right across the street fro the West End Shopping Center. They offered small 8" pizzas for 80¢ and up, "queen size" 12" pizzas for $1.25 and up, and King Size 14" pizzas for $1.75 and up. A large four-item combo could be had for $3--not much more than the price of a single ingredient on a large pizza today! Unusual topping included tuna and lobster.

Sterchi's made it easy to start housekeeping: they offered a 64-piece houseful of furniture for only $499!  It includes a master bedroom suite, 12 pieces of furniture for a living room (including a sleeper sofa), a dining room set, and a stereo console!

Piggly Wiggly had Swift's Bacon for 39¢ a pound, chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, and Fleetwood Coffee for 55¢ a pound. Big Apple offered potatoes for a dime a pound, center cut pork chops for 57¢ a pound, and yellow corn for a dime a can. Couch's offered spareribs for 39¢ a pound, eggs for 35¢ a dozen, and ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. A&P had yellow corn for 4¢ an ear, watermelons for 79¢ each, and ground beef for 33¢ a pound.

Julian Harrison Ford was offering some great deals on 1963 models, including a Ford Falcon 4-door sedan for $1759.00.  Rome Lincoln-Mercury countered with a brand new 1963 Comet 4-door station wagon for only $2495.00.

Comic book fans witnessed a historic meeting this month in 1963 as the Justice League of America met the Earth-2 Justice Society of America for the first time in Justice League of America #21, the first part of a two-part story that first introduced a lot of us younger comic book readers to the rich heritage of 1940s super-hero comics. Meanwhile, the Human Torch crossed paths with Spider-Man in the extra-length Strange Tales Annual #2. It was one great time for comics!

It was gonna be a sour summer: Sweetarts, the sour candy, were introduced in the Southern market in late May/early June 1963.  I remember being absolutely obsessed with the crumbly-sour candy tablets; buying roll after roll of them whenever I had a nickel to spare (yes, we could buy candy for a nickel back then--remember?).

If you wanted to see a film in Rome, your weekday choices were The Ugly American (with Marlon Brando) at the DeSoto; Operation Bikini (with Tab Hunter, Frankie Avalon, & Jim Backus) at the First Avenue; and Marco Polo (with Rory Calhoun) at the West Rome Drive-In. For the weekend, you could choose from The Traitors (with Patrick Allen, whoever he was) at the DeSoto, Duel of the Titans (with Steve Reeves) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Dead to the World and Phaedra (neither of which had anyone who really mattered) at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Number One song for this week in 1963 was "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore. Other top ten hits included "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul (#3); "I Love You Because" by Al Martino (#3); "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys (#4); Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" by The Crystals (#5); "Two Faces Have I" by Lou Christie (#6); "You Can't Sit Down" by the Dovells (#7); "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March (#8); "Losing You" by Brenda Lee (#9); and "Sukiyaki" by Kyo Sakamoto (#10).

Bob Dylan's second album, The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, was released this week in 1963, as was Live at the Apollo by James Brown and Recorded Live: The Twelve-Year-Old Genius by Little Stevie Wonder. And of course, you could find them all at the Record Shop on Broad Street!

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