Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/17/1964 to 8/23/1964

Rome was particularly quiet in mid-August 1964.  School was just a week away, and students were already being bombarded with the usual pre-school advice: start going to bed earlier so you'll be ready for the first day, bring pencils and pens and paper and notebooks to school on the first day to take notes, make sure you know the bus schedule if you're riding the bus, etc.

Rome was still looking for teachers to fill last-minute vacancies; West Rome High School had only one remaining faculty vacancy as of August 19th, and the superintendent was confident that the system would find a qualified teacher by the time classes started.

Rome's economic engine continued to rev up: the Rome-Floyd County Chamber of Commerce reported that almost two dozen businesses were engaged in new construction or major expansion in Rome, including General Electric, the Fairbanks Co., Kay Townes Antenna, Integrated Products, Anderson Manufacturing, Fox Manufacturing, Parrish Bakeries, Rome Frozen Foods, and Rome Casket Company.

And if that won't enough good news, Rome and Floyd County also posted an unemployment rate of only 3.7%, with an annual payroll of $49.6 million, a 12" increase over the year before.

Most of us take the US 411/US 27 interchange for granted—after all, it's been there almost as long as most of us can remember—but in 1964, it wasn't there in its current state, and Rome business leaders and politicians were getting pretty darn frustrated. On August 20th, they voted to request the State Highway Department issue a conditional work order to let Ledbetter Brothers begin site prep while the final details were being negotiated.

Floyd County got its first automatic voting machines this week in 1964, just in time for the upcoming November Presidential elections. The machines were on display at the courthouse so that interested parties could come by and check them out to learn how the newfangled devices actually tabulated your votes.

Piggly Wiggly had Delmonico steaks for 99¢ a pound, white corn for a nickel an ear, and a 24-bottle case of Coke or Tab for 99¢ (and so the price creep began... that's a dime per case higher than they were charging in 1962 and early 1963, the first years I covered in this weekly nostalgic interlude). A&P had Libby's potted meat for a dime a can, half or whole hams for 49¢ a pound, and bananas for a dime a pound. Kroger had cubed steak for 79¢ a pound, Swift's bologna for 29¢ a pound, and a two-pound jar of Blue Plate apple jelly for 29¢. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, lamb shoulder roast for 19¢ a pound, and Swift's premium bacon for 49¢ a pound. Couch's had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, pink salmon for 29¢ a can, and a three-pound can of Snowdrift shortening for 59¢.

If you wanted to catch a movie the first half of the week, your choices were McHale's Navy (with Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, and the rest of the TV series cast) at the DeSoto, Paris When It Sizzles (with William Holden and Audrey Hepburn) at the First Avenue, and The Running Man (not the Stephen King film, the movie with Laurence Harvey and Lee Remick) at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week change up brought Robinson Crusoe on Mars (with Paul Mantee) to the First Avenue, What a Way to Go! to the DeSoto, and Walt Disney's Merlin Jones to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#2); "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#3); "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles (#4); "C'Mon and Swim" by Bobby Freeman (#5); "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters (#6); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#7); "Walk—Don't Run '64" by the Ventures (#8); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#9); and "How Do You Do It?" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#10).

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