Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/28/13 to 11/3/13

Rome's dry weather (the city and the county hadn't had any measurable rainfall since September 29th) was creating a severe fire hazard all across the city and the surrounding county; a burn ban was put into place, and forest rangers were put on alert for potential fires. Meanwhile, an early season cold snap brought 28 degree temperatures to Rome on Wednesday, October 30th, brought in by a cold front that resulted in freezing temperatures as far south as northern Florida. The changing weather finally brought Rome its first measurable rain in over a month on October 31st, which reduced the fire threat just in time for Halloween.

The US Army Core of Engineers spoke about an ambitious plan to use a series of locks and dams to make Rome an inland port and the upper terminus of a waterway connecting to the Gulf of Mexico. Like so many ambitious plans in the 1960s, this one fell by the wayside--but oh, what might have been!...

It was a somewhat more sober weekend for Romans as law enforcement officers destroyed two thousand-gallon stills, two six hundred gallon stills, and one two hundre gallon still on Mount Alto. The "revenooers" were still quite active in 1963.

As Halloween approached, Rome Police Chief Nelson Camp reminded everyone that trick-or-treating was reserved for children only, and that teenagers would not be allowed to trick-or-treat. In fact, teenagers caught trick-or-treating would be taken home and their parents would be cited, the chief warned.

The Chieftains faced off against Cartersville on November 1st; after their amazing victory over the state champs on October 25th, everyone was picking West Rome for the win, but Coach Kennedy kept reminding people that the game could be a close one. "I keep reminding the boys about last year's 34-33 victory," Kennedy said. "I think the boys realize Cartersville is a really tough team... I know they are a tremendously improved ball club." Not improved enough, though: West Rome won the game 28-13, with Ronnie Kennedy throwing two touchdown passes and Chris Warren throwing one. The fourth touchdown was scored on a run by Van Gray.

The Rome Exchange Club presented Principal Dick McPhee with a "Freedom Shrine"during an assembly on Wednesday, October 30th. The shrine included "a collection of documents that together have formed the basis for our American way of life," including the Gettysburg Address, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and other historic replicas.

A seventh and eighth grade Student Council was organized this week in 1963, with Miss Kitty Alford acting as sponsor. The officers included Mary Gilbert, president; Pam Williams, vice-president; Robert Blaylock, secretary; and Ronnie Jones, treasurer. Homeroom Representatives includes Tony Grass, Gary Greer, Beth Toglia, Holly Wood, Debby Morris, Paula St. Clair, Lee Davenport, Vicki Horton, Carol Holloway, and Pam Williams.

The Junior Tri-Hi-Y held a fund-raising rummage sale on Saturday, November 2nd, while the West Rome Future Business Leaders of America Club traveled to Atlanta on the same day to attend the Georgia FBLA Convention.

West end Elementary held its Fall Festival on Saturday, November 2nd, from 5pm to 9pm. The faculty had arrange for a number of games and presentations to make the festival memorable, and food was served in the cafeteria for those who wanted to make an afternoon of it.

In the days before deregulation brought soaring prices and exorbitant pipeline fees, Atlanta Gas Light did it all--including selling those pole mounted gas lights that were so frequently seen alongside West Rome driveways. The gas company offered two different designs of gas lights for $49 installed--and they'd finance it for only $1 down and $1.95 added on to your gas bill each month. Nowadays the pipeline fees just to get the gas to your house almost equal the 1963 price of the gas lamp and installation.

I still remember those color-coded reading packets: this week in 1963, Elm Street Elementary hosted a program to explain the SRA reading program to parents of Li'l Chieftains. SRA was designed to improve reading speed and comprehension through the use of increasingly more complex reading selections; I always looked forward to SRA because I got to read all sorts of fun things, and I was encouraged to improve my reading speed so that I could read even more of them! Don't know why the program was discontinued--as far as I was concerned, it was a phenomenal success!

The Rome Holiday Inn got into the restaurant competition with their new "roast beef bar," which offered choice roast beef, potato of the day, tossed green salad, coffee, or tea for only $1.25 per person--and they guaranteed that it would be served in ten minutes or less! Or, for Romans with a limited lunch time, you could call ahead a half-hour before your lunchtime and they'd have any item on the menu prepared and waiting for you the minute you walked in the door. Apparently too little time and too much to do is a decades-old problem!...

Piggly Wiggly had fresh whole fryers for a quarter a pound, fresh eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and fresh whole pecans for 33¢ a pound (when did pecans get so expensive? Even adjusting for inflation, pecans are now almost three times as expensive as they were in 1963!). Kroger had ground baby beef for 35¢ a pound, applesauce for 12¢ a can, and grapes for a dime a pound. A&P offered russet potatoes for a nickel a pound, Golden Rise canned biscuits for 8¢ a can, and Bailey's Supreme Coffee for 49¢ per one-pound can. Couch's had Southern Maid all meat wieners for 39¢ a pound, marshmallows for 29¢ per one pound bag, and bulk trick or treat candy for a 12¢ a pound.

Another lackluster selection of movies awaited patrons of Rome's two theaters during the week: The DeSoto had Rampage (with Robert Mitchum & Elsa Martinelli), while the First Avenue was showing David & Lisa ("Recommended for Adults!"). For the last half of the week, The DeSoto brought in Wives & Lovers (with Janet Leigh & Van Johnson), while both the West Rome Drive-In and the First Avenue Theater took the non-seasonal route with Beach Party (with Annette Funicello & Frankie Avalon). Apparently showing the same movie at an indoor theater and a drive-in was more common than I realized!…

The number one song this week in 1963 was "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. Other top ten hits included "Deep Purple" by Nino Temple & April Stevens (#2); "Washington Square" by the Village Stompers (#3); "It's All Right" by the Impressions (#4); "Mean Woman Blues" by Roy Orbison (#5); "I'm Leaving It Up To You" by Dale & Grace (#6); "Maria Elena" by Los Indios Tabajaras (#7); "Busted" by Ray Charles (#8); "Bossa Nova Baby" by Elvis Presley (#9); and "I Can't Stay Mad at You" by Skeeter Davis (#10).

No comments: