Saturday, October 05, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/7/63 to 10/13/63

The first possible location for a new Rome post office was announced on October 7th--but it wasn't the location that we all know as the final choice. Instead, the Rome City Commission proposed that the post office be established at the former location of the old Rome High School on Third Avenue. The proposed deal would have made the building available to the postal service for 55 years (whch would mean that, had the agreement actually been finalized, the city would be negotiating new terms or the postal service would be looking for yet another location for the post office in the next few years).

West Roman O.V. Scoggins, 44, of Coosawattee Avenue, died as a result of a one-car accident on Highway 411, seven miles outside of Rome, on October 10th... one of far too many fatalities on a road that has proven to be one of the most dangerous in Floyd County.

West Rome High School teacher Mrs. Smiderski used debate as a way to teach history in the fall of 1963, dividing students into teams to debate such topics as "Resolved: That Rome was justified in destroying Carthage"; "Rseolved: That Julius Caesar was a better ruler than Augustus"; "Resolved: That the Athenian way of life was superior to the Roman way of life"; "Resolved: That the Greeks gave us more contributions than the Romans"; and "Resolved: That Athenian government was better than Roman government." Students said that this approach encouraged them to get more personally involved in resarching information about Greek and Roman history. and it helped them to improve their public speaking skills.

The West Rome Future Teachers of America inducted new members this week in 1963, including Diane Leake, Phyllis Kelso, Ann Finley, Ginny Burnett, Barbara Helie, and Beverly Vann.

The Future Business Leaders of America elected its officers: Beverly Pegg was chosen as president, Scherion Easterwood as vice-president, Joeanne Ellis as secretary, Alice Evans as treasurer, Donita Womack as reporter, Sandra Gravely as parliamentarian, and Jane Rogers as chaplain.

With work underway to extend Shorter Avenue as a four-lane road well beyond Burnett Ferry Road and past West Rome High School, the city awarded Ledbetter Brothers a contract to improve the existing segment of Shorter Avenue. The total cost to repair and resurface Shorter from Burnett Ferrry Road to the old railroad underpass came in at $84,998.50.

Rome's junior college efforts, which seemed to be shut down earlier in 1963 when Rome did not make the final cut, were resurrected when a member of the State Board of Regents said that continued growth in the northwest Georgia area would eventually require the construction of a junior college in tis area, and the Board of Regents was convinced that Rome would be the logical site for such a school.

The Rome Art League sponsored the Rome Fall Art Show on October 12th and 13th; the show was open to professional and amateurs of all ages, including students—and while most Romans had to pay a fee to submit works for display in the show, students were allowed to enter works for exhibition absolutely free of charge.

West Rome faced off against one of Georgia's top teams, the Cedartown Bulldogs, on October 11th. "Any team that can fumble the ball nine times, lose six of those, and still win the game has got to be a terrific team," Coach Paul Kennedy said in reference to the Bulldogs' victory over Chattooga on October 4th, adding, "Sooner or later, they're going to stop fumbling--and when they do, it's going to be rough!" Meanwhile, Cedartown coach Doc Ayers said that one of his biggest worries was West Rome's Dickie Sapp, whom he called "the hardest running 150-pounder in this area." In his weekly football prognostications for the Rome News-Tribune, my father (Don Biggers, who was sports editor of the RN-T) predicted that Cedartown would beat our Chieftains 19-7; alas, he proved to be correct, as West Rome ended up losing the game in a 20-0 rout, which put a damper on West rome's homecoming.  (In making the prediction, Dad wrote, "I live in a neighborhood of West Rome fans. My son, Cliff, is an avid West Rome supporter. Even my two-year-old daughter, Kim, shows sign of being influenced by 'Chieftainism.' I offer this evidence only in hopes you'll believe me when I say I gave extra thought to this week's West Rome-Cedartown game and to my selection of the probable winner. Sentiment tells me to pick West Rome; logic tells me to go with Cedartown."  I believe that this was the first time that Dad specifically mentioned Kim or me in his column, and it brings a smile to my face to unexpectedly run across this mention now.)

Rome's Southeastern Professional Football League team, the Bisons, extended a perfect record by losing their tenth game to the Atlanta Spartans on Sunday, October 13th. Just how bad was their playing? Well, their total yardage for the game was -27… and yes, that's a minus sign in front of the number…

The 1964 model year rollout continued as Rhinehart Motor Company announced the arrival of the new Studebaker Commander, Daytona Converstible, Hawk, and Avanti. Alas, these models were destined to sell so poorly that Studebaker would begin shutting down plants and discontinuing models after 1964, with the company exiting the American auto market a couple of years later.

Dempsey-Anderson Motor Company became Rome's new Rambler dealer, debuting the 1964 Rambler Classic, the Classic HT, and the Rambler American station wagon on Thursday, October 10th. Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Chrysler, Plymouth, Lincoln, Mercury, Volkswagen, Studebaker, Rambler--Rome was quite the automotive town back in 1963!

Grocery shoppers could pick up bananas for 9¢ a pound at Piggly Wiggly; other specials included a pound of bacon for 49¢ and Bama grape jam or apple jelly in 16 ounce jelly-jar glasses for 33¢. Kroger had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, Maxwell House coffee for 49¢ a pound, and Scott bathroom tissue for a dime a roll. A&P had sirloin steak for 69¢ a pound, Super-Right chili for 22¢ a can (and I don't remember that brand at all--do you?), and the ever-popular Hormel Spam for 39¢ a pound. Big Apple had large eggs for 49¢ a dozen, bologna for 29¢ a pound, and apples for 19¢ a pound. Couch's had Aristocrat ice milk for 39¢ a pound, large baking hens for 33¢ a pound, and Stokely's catsup for 15¢ a bottle.

Not the finest cinematic week in Rome history: the week began with For Love or Money at the DeSoto and L-Shaped Room at the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In was closed for the first half of the week. The weekend brought The Three Stooges Around the World in a Daze (and yes, I did go see that one, thank you very much!) to the DeSoto; Captain Sinbad (which I also saw) to the First Avenue; and Solomon and Sheba to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1963 was "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs. Other top ten hits included "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes (#2); "Blue Velvet" by Bobby Vinton (#3); "Busted" by Ray Charles (#4); "Cry Baby" by Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters (#5); "Sally Go 'Round the Roses" by the Jaynetts (#6); "Mean Woman Blues" by Roy Orbison (#7); "Donna the Prima Donna" by Dion Di Muci (#8); "Deep Purple" by Nino Temple & April Stevens (#9); and "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" by Peter, Paul, & Mary (#10).

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