Saturday, September 07, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/9/1963 to 9/15/1963

The rapidly growing West Rome student population led to the addition of several faculty members at West Rome High and West Rome Junior High. West Rome High School saw the addition of Mrs. Naomi Mann (who taught English and journalism); Mr. Samuel Miller (who taught Spanish, consumer math, and algebra), and Mr. William Finley (who taught business and US history). West Rome Junior High faculty additions included our beloved Miss Katherine "Kitty" Alford (who taught English), Mrs. Mary Bruce (who taught reading), Mr. Eugene Mann (who taught social studies), Mrs. C.H. Matthews (who taught English), Mrs. Betty Higgins (who taught science and English--although many of us remember her solely as a science teacher by the time she moved to West Rome High School later in the 1960s), and Don Davis (who taught typing). West Rome' student population increased by almost a hundred students in 1963--a growth trend far beyond what the school board had anticipated!

Our Junior Tri-Hi-Y launched a fund raiser for the Wst Rome High health clinic in September 1963, raising almost $75 for supplies for the facility.

The West Rome Chieftain's Club announced that the West Rome Band had been chosen to play for the coronation ceremonies at the 1963 Coosa Valley Fair; over 100,000 attendees were expected for the fair, which was slated to open on September 16th.

West Rome took on the Chattooga County Indians on September 13th in a home game; in spite of the fact that the Chattooga team was one of the top-rated in the state, West Rome defeated them 7-6. The Chieftains' only touchdown came midway through the second quarter after a 62 yard run by Dickey Sapp took the ball deep into Chattooga territory, which set up a touchdown pass from Chris Warren to Scott Callan; Gary Law kicked the point-after.

Rome's department store sales were 9% higher in July 1963 than in July 1962, which translated to the second-highest growth rate in Georgia (only Macon topped us, postingan 11% growth)  Appliance stores showed a huge 27% growth over the prior year.  1963 was continuing to set all sort of fiscal records for Rome and Floyd County, reinforcing my memory that Rome was a great place to grow up in the 1960s!

For $1.45, diners could enjoy a veritable feast at the Shrimp Boat: that would buy you a seafood platter that includes fish, shrimp, deviled crab, scallops, hushpuppies, french fries, and cole slaw!

Murphy's was running a special on a "life size 16" x 20" portrait" for only $1.95; if you didn't want to pay two bucks to see yourself quite that large, you could get an 11" x 14" portrait for only $1.

Midway through their first season, the Rome Bisons (our short-lived professional football team) got a new coach, Tarzan White. More surprising than the mid-season coach replacement is the fact that parents actually named their son Tarzan...

Refrigerators were gradually increasing in size: Rome's Whirlpool Appliance Center was advertising the all-new 14 cubic foot frost-free refrigerator for only $279.00 (that would be the equivalent of $2100 today, adjusting for inflation). This refrigerator was large enough to meet the needs of even the largest family, according to the ad--and yet today, it's hard to find a standard-sized refrigerator in that small a size! 

Sealtest was advertising their "gay new carton designs" that were now available in Rome grocery stores, reminding us that word meanings do change over time...

A&P was offering a one-pound bag of Maxwell House coffee for 49¢, a case of Coca-Cola for 79¢ plus deposit, and chuck roast for 37¢ a pound. Kroger had baby beef steaks for 69¢ a pound (and I have to admit that there's something vaguely disturbing about "baby beef"), Campbell's tomato soup for a dime (I had no idea that such a regular part of my childhood diet was so cheap!), and beef liver for 39¢ a pound (combine that with the dime-a-pound onions and you had the beginnings of one of my family's favorite meals!). Piggly Wiggly had corn for a nickel an ear, pork loin for 59¢ a pound, and a quart of Duke's mayonnaise for 29¢. Big Apple had whole fryers for 15¢ a pound, a 16 ounce can of pink salmon for 49¢, and frozen french fries for 8¢ for a 12 ounce bag. Couch's had their own country sausage for 39¢ a pound (and if you ever had it, you probably remember it--richly seasoned and more finely ground than many other brands of sausage, it was so good that we occasionally had it for dinner with baked beans and a salad), Stokely's cream style corn for 15¢ a can, and Fig Newtons for 39¢ a box.

For the first half of the week, movigoers could choose between Brigitte Bardot's Please, Not Now at both the First Avenue Theater and the West Rome Drive-In, or Toys in the Attic (with Dean Martin and Yvette Mimieux) at the DeSoto. The weekend brought In The Cool of the Day (with Peter Finch, Angela Lansbury, and Jane Fonda) to the DeSoto, while the First Avenue brought in Hootenanny Hoot (with Johnny Cash, Sheb Wooley, George Hamilton IV, and others) and the West Rome Drive-In had the eminently forgettable Heidi & Peter (with no one worth listing) and Gunfight at Dodge City with Joel McCrea.

Those of us who read comic books saw the first modern-day appearance of Nick Fury in Fantastic Four #21, on sale this week in 1963. It would be a couple of more years before he became an agent of SHIELD, however… Meanwhile, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko revealed the origin of Dr. Strange in Strange Tales #115.

The number one song this week in 1963 was "Blue Velvet" by Bobby Vinton. Other top ten hits included "My Boyfriend's Back" by the Angels (#2); "If I Had a Hammer" by Trini Lopez (#3); "Heat Wave" by Martha & the Vandellas (#4); "Sally Go 'Round the Roses" by the Jaynetts (#5); "Then He Kissed Me" by the Crystals (#6); "Surfer Girl" by the Beach Boys (#7); "Mickey's Monkey" by Major Lance (#8); "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" by Allan Sherman (#9); and "Cry Baby" by Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters (#10). Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Beatles had the number one hit with "She Loves You," but it would be a little while longer before all of us in West Rome learned about the Fab Four…

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