Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/28/1964 to 1/3/1965

The US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare gave Rome a very clear ultimatum this week in 1964: either end all forms of school segregation, or lose access to all forms of federal funding. The Rome City School System was slated to lose $74,400 in annual funding if segregation was not immediately discontinued, according to Superintendent Milton S. McDonald. The Board of Education was set to make this their first order of business at their January meeting.

West Rome's boys basketball team may have been eliminated from competition early in the Rome News-Tribune Winter tournament, but West Rome's girls advanced in the Fifth Annual Cave Spring Basketball Tournament, defeating East Rome 41-22. Alas, they had to settle for second place after they were defeated 24-20 by Cave Spring in the final round of the tournament.

Rome still had a train station with passenger service in late 1964, but no one was taking any of the four Southern Railway daily passenger trains at the end of the year due to a Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Engineers strike. Freight service continued on a limited basis, but passenger service was shut down, so riding the rails was not an option for a couple of days, until a federal judge ordered the striking workers back on the job on December 31st.

What we would give for interest rates like this today: The Rome Bank & Trust was offering 4.75% interest on a one-year savings certificate (the 1964 version of a certificate of deposit) this week in 1964.

Piggly Wiggly had cabbage for a dime a pound, sweet potatoes for 9¢ a pound, and fresh whole fryers for a quarter a pound. Kroger had the mandatory New Year's Day hog jowl for 15¢ a pound, smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, and blackeyed peas for 9¢ a pound. Big Apple had cabbage for 8¢ a pound, smoked hog jowl for 17¢ a pound, and pork roast for 29¢ a pound.  A&P had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, turnip greens for 15¢ a pound, and grapefruit for a dime each. Couch's had blackeyed peas for a dime a pound, stew beef for 35¢ a pound, and JFG coffee for 69¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with Topkapi (with Melina Mercouri & Peter Ustinov) at the DeSoto and Pajama Party (with Tommy Kirk & Annette Funicello) at the First Avenue. The midweek switchout brought The Disorderly Orderly (with Jerry Lewis) to the DeSoto, Goldfinger (with Sean Connery) to the First Avenue--what a way to end the year!), and a double feature of Send Me No Flowers (with Rock Hudson & Doris Day) and Move Over, Darling (with Doris Day & James Garner) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1964-65 was "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles. Other top ten hits included "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#2); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#3); "Love Potion Number Nine" by the Searchers (#4); "Downtown" by Petula Clark (#5); "Goin' Out of My Head" by Little Anthony & the Imperials (#6); "Amen" by the Impressions (#7); "The Jerk" by the Larks (#8); "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers (#9); and "The Wedding" by Julie Rogers (#10).

And that's how 1964 ended and 1965 began. We all said farewell to an auspicious year as we looked forward to more good things in 1965. For me and my classmates, 1965 would be the year that we moved from elementary school to West Rome Junior High--and for America, it would be a year unlike any other! But we had no idea what the next 12 months would hold...

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