Sunday, June 02, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/20/63 to 5/26/63

West Rome prepared for its fifth graduating class to march across the stage at West Rome High School on June 8, 1963; 109 Chieftains were on the graduation list.

The Rome City Schools' Summer Enrichment Program was open to students in good standing at East and West Rome High School; the six week program, which would be equally divided between the two schools, offered students the opportunity to study courses not normally offered in a high school curriculum; students got no credit for the courses, which carried a nominal fee for student involvement. (Did anyone reading this take part in the city's summer enrichment programs? I took part in a summer enrichment program at Berry College in the summer of 1970, but that was a slightly different program that allowed high school students to take college courses for college credit.)

West Rome surged into an early lead in the 1963 Floyd County Junior Varsity Track and Field Meet, held at Berry College. Dickie Sapp placed first in the broad jump and Jerry Coalson first in the discus, while the Chieftain mile relay team set a new record, breaking the old one by four seconds. West Rome ultimately won the event with 97 total points, 61 1/2 points ahead of second-place Armuchee.

A survey involving northwest Georgia high school students showed that 58% of those planning to go to college would be interested in attending a state-supported junior college in the Rome area. General Electric technicians helped to prepare and implement the survey; they forwarded their findings to the Georgia Board of Regents as part of their supporting evidence for the addition of a junior college in Floyd County. Furthermore, a Floyd County delegation also presented the Board of Regents with pledges to vote on a $1.25 million bond referendum to construct and equip the junior college should it be approved. (And as we know, it paid off--the strong outpouring of community support was integral in the creation of Floyd Junior College a few years later.)

Duke Tire Company held its grand opening on May 23-25, 1963, offering such special as Mohawk tires for $15 each  and retreads in all sizes for $11 per tire. (Ah, the wonder of retreads. When Susan and I were surviving on a college student's budget in 1971-75, I kept my '64 Volkswagen Beetle rolling on retreads, and never paid much more than $15 per tire for them...)

Piggly Wiggly had round steak on sale for 79¢ a pound, Shurfresh biscuits for a nickel a can, and white corn for 7¢ an ear. Kroger had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, a case of Pepsi Cola for 79¢ plus deposit,  and vienna sausages for 19¢ a can. Big Apple had ham for 27¢ a pound, canned tomatoes for a dime each, and the ever-popular 4-pound tub of lard for 29¢ (yes, people cooked with lard much more frequently back in 1963!) Couch's offered mayonnaise for 39¢ a jar, catsup for 15¢ a bottle, and Cudahy's smoked ham for 39¢ a pound. A&P countered with rib roast for 69¢ a pound, Foremost ice cream for 79¢ a half-gallon, and Ann Page peanut butter for 33¢ a jar.

Rome's mid-week movie schedule included Papa's Delicate Condition (with Jackie Gleason) at the DeSoto, Battleground and Go for Broke at the First Avenue, and Damon & Pythias and Escape from East Berlin at the West Rome Drive-In. The weekend brought a double-feature of Play It Cool (with Bobby Vee) and The Great Van Robbery (such a low-concept film that they didn't even advertise the names of the cast members) at the DeSoto; The Slave (with Steve Reeves) at the First Avenue; and The Manchurian Candidate at the West Rome Drive-In. (Wait a minute--you mean the only movie that anyone might want to see was showing at the drive-in and not a downtown theater?…)

The number one song this week in 1963 was "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul. Other top ten hits for the week included "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March (#2); "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys (#3); "Foolish LIttle Girl" by the Shirelles (#4); "I Love You Because" by Al Martino (#5); "Losing You" by Brenda Lee (#6); "Two Faces Have I" by Lou Christie (#7); "Take These Chains from My Heart" by Ray Charles (#8); "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore (#9); and "Another Saturday Night" by Sam Cooke. (#10)

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