Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/28/1964 to 10/4/1964

All Rome City Schools, including West Rome, held meetings to explain the new city-wide grading system that was going into effect beginning with the 1964-65 school year. The old number grade system, with 93-100 equalling an A, etc., was replaced with an A-B-C-D-U-I system (U for unsatisfactory and I for incomplete due to unavoidable reasons). "No numbers will be used," a Rome City Schools spokesperson said. "A student will fail or pass not on a numerical average of 69 or 70, but in terms of the overall quality of his work." (I presume this refers to report card grades only, since I never remember a time when we didn't get numerical grades on tests and other in-class work. I'm also not sure how long this system stayed in place; does anyone remember a period of time when we got letter grades only?)

West Rome faced off against Calhoun on October 2nd in a crucial sub-region contest. Alas, Calhoun came from behind in the second half, scoring two touchdowns to defeat the Chieftains 14-3.

The West Rome Honor Society held its induction ceremony on September 30th, welcoming twelve new members to their ranks. The roster of inductees included Jan Ross, Dan Schweitzer, Esther Ransom, Carolle Sewell, Barbara Belswinger, Phyllis McGhee, Anna Payne, Nancy Childers, Jack Column, Pat Barns, Stan Dawson, and Muriel McAbee.

Junior class officer elections were held, with Pat Barns being elected as class president; Ronnie Parker, vice-president; Stan Dawson, secretary; and Ann Peery, treasurer.

The West Rome Library Club elected Sara Whitworth as club president; Cathy Atkins, vice-president; Marilyn Moon, secretary; Sanda Addington, treasurer, and Marilyn Allen, reporter.

Romans were very excited to learn the art of hooking this week in 1964. Rug hooking, that is... (What did you think they were teaching at the YMCA?) The class actually filled up so quickly that the YMCA was evaluating whether they should offer a second session.

The new TV season also brought a renewed push to get color televisions into more homes. RCA Victor had a 21" color console for only $599.95 with trade-in, while RCA offered a 21" tabletop color set for only $399.95 with trade. (When you factor in the inflation multiplier of 7.51, however, that would be be the equivalent of paying just over $4500 for a 21" console set or just under $3000 for a 21" tabletop TV--almost the same price we'd pay for a large-screen 4K UHD set today!)

Sears was a major player in the auto repair business in the 1960s, offering everything from tires and tuneups to complete engine replacements. With automobile dealers on the verge of unveiling new models in late 1964, Sears was urging customers to put some money into a remanufactured engine instead. A V-6 engine could be had for as little as $159, while a V-8 started at $179--and you could get the installation done by Sears the same day you bought the engine.

And speaking of cars, Rome Automobile Company began showing off the new 1965 Volkswagen Beetle this week in 1964, complete with 15% more window area, larger and more comfortable front seats, a back seat that folded almost flat (and the manufacturer touted that the large flat open area could be used as "a large luggage space or a playpen for children." Apparently we worried much less about car seats and buckled-in children fifty years ago!)

Piggly Wiggly had center-cut pork chops for 59¢ a pound, turn it greens for a dime a pound, and a 24-bottle case of Coca Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit. Kroger has bananas for a dime a pound, whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, and graham cracked for 33¢ a box. A&P had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and Bartlett pears for 12¢ a pound. Big Apple had winesap apples for a dime a pound, jiffy steak for 99¢ a pound, and a half-gallon of Sealtest ice milk for 39¢, Couch's had T-bone steak for 69¢ a pound, lab shoulder roast for 19¢ a pound, and lettuce for 15¢ a head.

The movie week began with Kisses for My President (with Fred MacMurray & Polly Bergen) at the DeSoto and Night Must Fall (with Albert Finney) at the First Avenue. The mid-week switch out switch-out brought I'd Rather Be Rich (with Sandra Dee & Robert Goulet) to the DeSoto, A Shot in the Dark (the second Pink Panther film, with Peter Sellers & Elke Summer) to the First Avenue, and an Alfred Hitchcock double feature of Vertigo and To Catch a Thief to the West Rome Drive-In (which was on its weekends-only schedule).

There's no need to fear!... Underdog was here as of October 3rd, when the cartoon made its NBC debut as a part of the Saturday morning lineup. Those of us who grew up in the 1960s may remember that he got his abilities after taking his Super Energy Pill; younger viewers who saw the series in syndication may have never heard of the Super Energy Pill, however, since all references to it were edited out of the cartoon beginning in the mid-1970s, presumably out of fear that it would be seen as some sort of a pro-drug statement.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#3); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#6); "It Hurts to Be In Love" by Gene Pitney (#7); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#8); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#9); and "A Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy (#10).

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