Saturday, December 07, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/2/1963 to 12/8/1963

Rome's annual Santa Claus Parade took place on Tuesday, December 3rd, with more than 17,000 people showing up for the big Christmas kickoff event. The parade ran from First Avenue all the way up Broad Street to the City Auditorium, where Santa officiated the lighting of the Christmas Tree and the Christmas street decorations that brightened Broad Street during the Christmas Season. The West Rome junior and senior bands performed in the festivities.

West Rome's boys basketball team defeated LaFayette 49-31 on Friday, December 6th, then best Cave Spring 43-20 on Saturday, December 7th. The girls team also bested LaFayette with a score of 49-28, but they lost to Cave Spring 43-27, with West Rome's Linda Lippencott scoring 25 of the Chieftain's 27 points.

Thirty Chieftain girls participated in the Betty Crocker Search for the Homemaker of Tomorrow Test given at West Rome on Tuesday, December 3rd.

On December 3rd, sixty members of West Rome's Future Homemakers of America dressed dolls for the Salvation Army Auxiliary for distribution during Christmas.

The Rome News-Tribune ran an article about West Rome High School's rapidly growing "pine forest" in front of the school. The article pointed out that both parents sand students alike were initially critical of the pine trees when West Rome opened in 1958, but everyone had not only come to accept them, but had actually grown fond of them. "I delight in coming to school every morning and beholding the 'greenies,'"  senior class president Patricia Annette Tompkins said. "They add to our school's character and replace the grass which is trampled underfoot."

Local retailers reported a great beginning to the Christmas shopping season, with one merchant explaining, "This is one year that no one will have to go out of town to shop, because Rome now has available any merchandise of equal quality that might be found in any metropolitan city. We hope shoppers will keep this in mind, because Rome dollars kept at home create prosperity for all the community." And the great thing is, this statement was true in 1963: it really was possible for a Chieftain to live, work, and make all his purchases in Rome without ever having to go to Atlanta or elsewhere to shop! It's no wonder that mid-sized towns like Rome grew so steadily during the 1960s and early 1970s--and it makes you miss that sort of community self-sufficiency today…

Seems like there has always been a debate over taxes: fifty years ago, many were wondering why the school systems were complaining about a lack of funds while tax money spent on education in Georgia had increased 112% over the prior ten years, while student enrollment was up only 29%. Local school officials pointed out, however, that a lot of that money went to reorganization of the State Education Department, which was reconfigured from seven to five divisions (with several of those divisions moving into new facilities). As always, very little of those extra funds actually made it into the classroom…

Did you remember that utility companies used to sell appliances back in the days before deregulation? For their "Holiday Bonus Sale," Atlanta Gas Light Company was offering a Magic Chef gas range with four burners and a 22" gas oven with glass window for only $269.00--and you could have it for only $1 down and $9.10 a month added to your gas bill! Even better, the appliance companies didn't charge any interest--and as a holiday special, they were including a free turkey or ham to cook in your new oven.

Piggly Wiggly had Bob White hot dogs for 33¢ a pound, turnip greens for 10¢ a pound, and a carton of six Coca Cola (6 ounce or 10 ounce bottles--although I never could figure out why someone would buy a 6 ounce bottle when they could get almost twice as much for the same price!) for 19¢. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, apples for a dime a pound, and a 10-pound bag of russet potatoes for 35¢. A&P had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and Ann Page peanut butter for 33¢ for a 12 ounce jar. Big Apple had JFG coffee for 49¢ a pound, corn for 6¢ an ear, or the kid-favorite frozen fish sticks for 39¢ for a one-pound box. Couch's had streak-o-lean for 29¢ a pound, country sausage for 49¢ a pound, and Van Camp's chili for a quarter a can.

The week started with a cinematic choice of Palm Springs Weekend at the DeSoto Theater or Lawrence of Arabia at the First Avenue Theater. Lawrence hung around for the weekend at the First Avenue, while 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea came to the DeSoto for the weekend. West Rome Drive-In continued its weekends-only policy with a double feature of In the Cool of the Day (with Peter Finch & Jane Fonda) and The Password Is Courage (with Dirk Bogarde).

The number one song this week was "Dominique" by the Singing Nun, which held its number one chart position for the second week. Other top ten songs included "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen (#2); "Everybody" by Tommy Roe (#3); "I'm Leaving It Up to You" by Dale & Grace (#4); "You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry" by the Caravelles (#5); "Since I Fell for You" by Lenny Welch (#6); "Be True to Your School" by the Beach Boys (#7); "Drip Drop" by Dion DiMuci (#8); "There! I Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton (#9); and "Walking the Dog" by Rufus Thomas (#10).

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