Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/30/1963 to 1/5/1964

A half-century ago, those of us old enough to remember watched the turbulent year of 1963 come to an end as 1964 began. We had high hopes for the new year, and in many ways it was destined to live up to those hopes. Locally, 1964 began where 1963 left off: with low unemployment, a growing economy, improving educational standards, a rapidly developing local infrastructure, and new businesses adding Rome locations each and every month. It's no wonder that so many of us remember those years so fondly!

Chieftains (and other underage Romans) were better behaved in 1963: as the year came to an end, juvenile delinquency-related charges had dropped by 32% during the twelve, falling from 177 in 1962 to 120 in 1963. Burglary was the number one area of offense, with 27 cases, followed by 24 cases of petty larceny and 11 cases of shoplifting.

West Rome's boys basketball team defeated Cedartown 47-38 in the consolation game of the 10th Annual Northwest Georgia Invitational Basketball tournament on the night of December 30th (delayed from its original pre-Christmas date due to inclement weather), which earned them a third place spot overall in the tournament.

Romans said farewell to 1963 in a heavy snowfall that left Rome with almost 3" of the white stuff by the time the New Year rolled in. The snow turned to ice as it melted and refroze, leaving travel in Rome a bit treacherous all the way through the weekend. This was the second measurable snowfall during the holiday season--a rarity for Rome!

If only we could find rates like this today: Citizens Federal welcomed in 1964 with a 4.25% APR rate on its saving accounts, and the only requirement was an opening deposit of $25 or more! The ever-competitive Rome Bank & Trust countered with an offer of 4.33% with the same $25 initial deposit requirement.

Sears welcomed in the new year with a  special offer: a huge (by 1964 standards) 13.6 cubic foot frost-free refrigerator-freezer for only $288.00, in white or the then-trendy copper tone. And in a move that seems a bit premature, Sears also offered 14,000 BTU window-mount air conditioners for $199.88.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, canned corned beef for 49¢ per one-pound can, and canned biscuits for a nickel a can. Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, grade A large eggs for 49¢ a dozen, and Kroger saltines for 19¢ a box. A&P had stew beef for 59¢ a pound, Irish potatoes for 39¢ per ten-pound bag, and Sultana pork & beans for a dime a can. Big Apple had assorted flavors of Campbell's soup for 18¢ a can, ground beef for 39¢ a pound, and one-pound cans of fruit cocktail for a quarter each. Couch's had one-pound cans of QQ pink salmon for 49¢, Stokely's catsup for 19¢ for a 20-ounce bottle, and Shopper's Bacon for 49¢ a pound.

The week began with a pair of light-weight films: Who's Minding the Store? (with Jerry Lewis) at the DeSoto and Under the Yum-Yum Tree (with Jack Lemmon) at the First Avenue. The weekend brought Take Her, She's Mine (with James Stewart & Sandra Dee) to the DeSoto and the bio film Marilyn (narrated by Rock Hudson) to the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In offered a weekend double-feature of Information Received and The List of Adrian Messenger.

The number one song this week in 1963 was "There! I've Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton. Other top ten hits included "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen (#2); "Popsicles nd Icicles" by the Murmaids (#3); "Dominique" by the Singing Nun (#4); "Forget Him" by Bobby Rydell (#5); "Since I Fell For You" by Lenny Welch (#6); "Surfin' Bird" by the Trashmen (#7); "The Nitty Gritty" by Shirley Ellis (#8); "Talk Back Trembling Lips" by Johnny Tillotson (#9); and "Midnight Mary" by Joey Powers (#10).

And the growing interest in this British phenomenon known as "Beatlemania" inspired Jack Parr to spotlight some footage from a British Beatles concert on The Jack Paar Show on Friday night, January 3rd--the first time that many Americans first saw a Beatles performance!

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