Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/21/63 to 10/27/63

Rome's economic prospects continued to look up: General Electric announced that it was closing a plant in Massachusetts and moving the jobs to their Rome facility instead, which would lead to the creation of more than 200 full-time positions.

Buy-Wise opened its first store in Rome on October 24th, offering Romans another bargain shopping choice. The first store was located at 327 Broad Street; the West Rome location was in the planning stages, but was not slated to open for a while longer.

The third annual Rome Auto Show took place in Central Plaza's parking lot on Sunday, October 27th from 2pm to 6pm. Rome's dealers had all the new models on hand for potential customers to compare them side by side and take advantage of on-site specials.

The ill-fated idea that would seemingly never die: the city and county school systems continued to talk about a merger, putting more money into feasibility studies and evaluations. This was a proposal that popped up again and again over the years, but it never got further than the study phases. (Actually, it would make more sense today than it did then, with the city school system's declining enrollments--but it appears that it's no longer on anyone's radar.)

The steady population growth in Rome was certainly noticed by the lunchroom staff of the various schools: according to a Mrs. C.N. King, cafeteria coordinator for the school system, the schools were serving 3900+ lunches every day. She also that high school students sometimes bought two lunches a day, which boosted those numbers.  (I always liked school lunches, but I don't recall any lunch I liked so much--or was still so hungry after eating--that I felt the need to buy a second lunch!)

The Chieftains prepared for their toughest game of the season as they faced off against the Class AA champion Dalton Catamounts, who came to West Rome 6-0. The game generated so much excitement that Barron Stadium sold 5000+ tickets in advance of the game--and what a game it was! West Rome came into the game as underdogs, but they fought their way to a 14-0 victory over Dalton. It was West Rome's game from the very beginning, when Dickie Sapp made a 51-yard kickoff return. Gery Law scored the first touchdown and kicked the point-after; Dickie Sapp scored the second touchdown.

West Rome became one of seventeen pilot schools in Georgia teaching "new math" under the leadership of Miss Susie Underwood, who helped develop the state guide for the new match program. According to Miss Underwood, "The new math shifts from the old watch-then-do-what-I-do way of teaching to the find-out-for-yourself-if-this-works method." The goal was to prepare students for advanced concepts such as calculus by the 9th or 10th grade.

Dr. Chester Swor, a missionary worker in the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke at an assembly at West Rome High School. His motivational presentation encouraged students to follow their dreams while setting attainable, worthwhile goals for themselves now.

Drivers' Education instructor Don Unsworth presented certifications of program completion to 25 Chieftains who had completed his course (and presumably watched his gory films designed to scare us all into driving carefully).

Countering Murphy's 79¢ a plate turkey and dressing special, Redford's brought back their 50¢ baked ham dinner, which included corn, green beans, cole slaw, hot rolls,and butter, and iced tea.

Piggly Wiggly's weekly meat special was ground beef for 39¢ a pound; they also had 5 pounds of sugar for 39¢ and 10 pounds of potatoes for 29¢. Big Apple had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, blackeyed peas for a dime a can, and grapefruit for 8¢ each. A&P offered smoked hams for 35¢ a pound, apples for 15¢ a pound, and Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon. Kroger had whole friers for 27¢ a pound, Kroger coffee in vacuum-sealed cans for 49¢ a pound, and Super-Right chili for 23¢ a can. Couch's had Showboat pork & beans for a dime a can, cabbage for a nickel a head, and pork chops for 49¢ a pound.

The first half of the week was not a great one for moviegoers: the choices were The Caretakers (with Robert Stack & Joan Crawford) at the DeSoto and a double feature of Saturday Night & Sunday Morning and Room at the Top at the First Avenue. The weekend was scarcely better, with The Island of Love and Desert Warrior at the DeSoto, Kiss of the Vampire at the First Avenue, and The Girl Hunters at the West Rome Drive-In. Sounds like it was a great weekend to read a book!…

The number one song this week in 1963 was "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs. Other top ten hits included "Deep Purple" by Nino Temple & April Stevens (#2); "Washington Square" by the Village Stompers (#3); "Busted" by Ray Charles (#4); "Mean Woman Blues" by Roy Orbison (#5); "Donna the Prima Donna" by Dion Di Muci (#6); "I Can't Stay Mad at You" by Skeeter Davis (#7); "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes (#8); "It's All Right" by the Impressions (#9); and "Maria Elena" by Los Indies Tabajares (#10).

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