Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/26/1964 to 11/1/1964

Southern Bell announced a major half-million-dollar improvement plan designed to upgrade telephone facilities in the Rome area. Strong growth in West Rome in particular was cited as one of the reasons that the expansion was needed; over half of the total expenditure was devoted to running new conduits along Shorter Avenue to serve the many businesses and residences being built there "We have to work far ahead to prepare for the continuing rapid growth in this area," Southern Bell Rome manager A.M. Bennett said.

West Rome's football team enjoyed a rare week off during the season, with no game scheduled for the weekend of Halloween.

The West Rome Junior High Library Club was created under the leadership of Edwin Dodd, president; Tommy Horton, vice-president; and Robert Smiderski, secretary/treasurer.

The National Honor Society kicked off their candy sale fundraiser with a selection of candy priced from 25¢ to $2.

The Future Teachers of America Club started a membership driving, hoping to recruit students in the 10th through the 12th grades who were interested in a teaching career.

Coosa Valley Tech proves so popular that the school was operating at 100% capacity and was having to turn away applicants--and that mean that it was the best-performing technical school in Georgia (some schools, such as the ones in Valdosta, Columbus, Augusta, and DeKalb were operating at less than half capacity). Jack, Nix, Georgia direct of vocational education, said that Coosa Valley had 187 full-time pupils (2 more than its originally planned 185 capacity) and 442 part-time (again, 2 more than its planned capacity).

Georgia Power Company was pushing their "flameless electric dryers" this week in 1964; for only $3.09 a month added to their electric bill, customers could have a new Westinghouse or Maytag dryer delivered to their home--and while the payments ran for 5 years (making the total cost of the dryer $185.40), Georgia Power pointed out that this was the list price of the dryer, that no interest was being added to the dryer, and that Georgia Power offered a full five-year warranty on the dryer if you purchased it from them. "If we can't fix it first time, we give you a new one!" they emphasized. How many appliance dealers today offer no-interest 5 year financing and a full repair-or-replacement 5 year warranty? It's no wonder that so many homes switched to electric appliances in the 1960s!

Piggly Wiggly had ground chuck for 69¢ a pound, a four-pound bag of Jonathan apples for 33¢, and a pound of Brach's Pic-a-Mix candy for 45¢. Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, yellow squash for 15¢ a pound, and a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola or Tab for 79¢ plus deposit.Big Apple had spare ribs for 39¢ a pound, Hormel bacon for 57¢ a pound, and a five-pound bag of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and 4 rolls of Northern bathroom tissue for 39¢.  Couch's had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, banana for a dime a pound, and a one-pound can of JFG coffee for 79¢.

The first half of the week offered moviegoers a choice of Where Has Love Gone (with Susan Hayward & Bette Davis) at the DeSoto Theater and Fate Is the Hunter (with Glenn Ford and Rod Taylor) at the First Avenue. For the last half to the week, the choices included Rio Conchos (with Stuart Whitman and Richard Bone) at the DeSoto and a double feature of Horror at Party Beach and The Curse of the Living Corpse at the First Avenue (hey, it was Halloween week, after all!). On the weekend, the West Rome Drive-In was showing a double feature of Hey Geisha and Hell Is For Heroes, reminding us once again that very few people ever went to the drive-in to see the movie.

The Supremes held the number position this week in 1964 with "Baby Love." Other songs in the top ten included "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#2); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#3); "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las (#4); "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#5); "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#6); "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay & the Americans (#7); "The Door Is Still Open to My Heart" by Dean Martin (#8); "Chug-a-Lug" by Roger Miller (#9); and "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#10).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/19/1964 to 10/25/1964

Former President Herbert Hoover passed away on October 20th. Nowadays, we think of the Hoover era as a  part of distant American history, but he had been out of office for only 32 years in 1964--less time that has passed since the end of the Jimmy Carter presidency. Somehow, the gap between the Depression era US and the 1960s seems enormous, however, while the gap between the late 1970s to today seems much less (at least for those of us who lived it, I guess).

Dickie Sapp was once again chosen as the Rome News-Tribune's back of the week in recognition of his outstanding performance in the prior Friday's game against Cedartown, in which Sapp not only scored the second and deciding touchdown, but also gained 91 net yards (more than half of West Rome's rushing total) and intercepted a pass that stopped Cedartown from tying the game.

Coach Kennedy told the Rome News-Tribune that West Rome was scheduled to face its toughest foe of the year on October 23rd when the Rossville Bulldogs made the trip down to Barron Stadium to face the Chiefs on a Saturday night in a game that also marked West Rome's homecoming. "They probably have the best passing attack of any team we play," Coach Kennedy said. "We've got to eliminate a few more of our mistakes, and we certainly have to improve on our pass defense if we hope to stop them." Alas, Coach Kennedy's evaluation of the team turned out be correct, as West Rome fell to Rossville 32-14.

Esther Ransom was crowned as Homecoming Queen; other members of the homecoming court included Sondra Adams, Sara Coffey, Jane Hairston, Carole Sewell, and Judy Wessinger.

A disagreement over zoning of Shorter Avenue between Hughes and Sycamore Streets led to the Rome City Commission spending almost four hours listening to arguments from both sides. The proposed zoning change would have designated the segment of Shorter Avenue as R-2 (which would allow for the construction of motels, hotels, offices, and nursing homes), while a counter-proposal would have rezoned it as C-1, which would allow for commercial development for stores and other businesses; prior to the change, it was zoned for evidential use only. The board finally decided to go for the C-1 classification, opening more of the Shorter Avenue corridor for business, shopping, and restaurant development.

Coosa Valley Tech was proving so successful that the school began a study of expansion options this week in 1964. Plans called for the addition of a 15,000 square foot building to house additional classrooms for drafting, radio/tv repair, welding, data processing, and textile production.

Freezing temperatures came early to West Rome, with the thermometer dropping to 28 degrees on Wednesday morning, October 20th, marking the first freezing temperature of the autumn.

The Milwaukee Braves began a legal fight to clear the way for their move to Atlanta this week in 1964, hoping to overturn a restraining order designed to block them from asking for League permission to make the move. Henry Aaron spoke out against the move, saying "I just won't step out on the field" in Atlanta; apparently he changed his mind as time passed.

Piggly Wiggly had Lady Alice ice milk for 29¢ a half-gallon, Sunset Gold potato chips for 49¢ for a twin-pack (2 8 ounce bags), and pig liver for 19¢ a pound (and that's one meat I've never tried, thank you very much--we ate a lot of beef liver and chicken livers, but no pig liver). Kroger had fresh whole fryers for 29¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and 11 ounces of perch, haddock, or flounder for 49¢. Big Apple had center cut ham slices for 79¢ a pound, a 12 ounce bag of tater tots for a quarter, and 25 pounds of White Lily flour for $1.99 (did anyone really use 25 pound bags of flour?). A&P had whole young ducklings for 39¢ a pound (another meat we never ate), Virginia apples for a dime a pound, and a box of Post Toasties cereal for 21¢. Couch's had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and Del Monte catsup for 19¢ for a 24-ounce bottle.

The cinematic week began with The World of Henry Orient (with Peter Sellers) arriving for a short two-day run at the DeSoto and Quo Vadis continuing at the First Avenue. The weekend brought Where Has Love Gone? (with Susan Hayward & Bette Davis) to the DeSoto; Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (with Sophia Loren & Marcello Mastroianni) to the First Avenue, and a weekend double feature of That Kind of Woman (with Sophia Loren & Tab Hunter) and Thunder in the Sun (with Susan Hayward & Jeff Chandler) to the open-on-weekends-only-for-the-fall West Rome Drive-In.

The Supremes took the top chart position tis week in 1964 with "Baby Love." Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#3); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#4); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#5); "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#6); "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#7); "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#8); "Little Honda" by the Hondells (#9); and "Chug-a-Lug" by Roger Miler (#10).

And on Sunday, October 25th, the next wave of the British Invasion began when the Rolling Stones made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, performing two songs from their 12 X 5 album: "Around and Around" in the first half of the show and "Time Is On My Side" as the closing act. The day after the performance, Sullivan said that he'll never invite them to return... but he obviously changed his mind, since they returned in the spring of 1965 and many times thereafter.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/12/1964 to 10/18/1964

The West Rome Chieftain Club sponsored Back to School Night beginning at 7:30 Monday evening, October 12th, to acquaint parents with the faculty, curriculum, and school activities. Students could breathe easy, though--individual grades and behavior were not on the schedule for discussion this night!

West Rome began experiments with a "cycle" program that offered seventh graders a chance to take nine week courses in art (taught by Mrs. Melvin Hill), music (taught by Miss Kitty Alford), drama (taught by Mrs. Sandra Allan), or guidance (taught by Mrs. Betty Deadwyler). The purpose of the mini-course program was to orient students toward high school while assisting them in discovering their interests and abilities.

For the first time in West Rome history, the Chiefs defeated the Cedartown Bulldogs 14-7, ending a lengthy losing streak for West Rome. The tide turned late in the third quarter when quarterback Ronnie Kennedy's pass to end Gerry Law led to the first touchdown. Soon after that, Dickie Sapp ran the ball into the end zone for a second touchdown, locking in the win.

Savage TV and Electronics rolled out the new line of Zenith color televisions this week in 1964. The line included a 21" color console TV for $529.95, a Zenith 23" black-and-white console TV for $339.95, and a Zenith 23" table model television for $229.95. For the music aficionado, they had the new Zenith hi-fi console stereo system, a 12-watt-per-channel system with turntable and AM/FM radio, for only $368.00.

To combat McDonald's, Hardee's introduced  their new big burger, the Hardee Huskee. For 35¢, you got a "giant charco-broiled hamburger" with cheese (and by "giant," they meant 3 ounces of meat), a sesame seed bun, shredded lettuce, and a special Hardee-Huskee sauce (probably the usual blend of catsup, mayonnaise, and thousand island dressing...).

Kroger had chuck roast for 49¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and salmon for 49¢ a tall can. Big Apple had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and Campbell's tomato soup for a dime a can. A&P had boneless stew meat for 59¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and a one-pound box of Zesta saltines for 29¢. Couch's had smoked hams for 33¢ a pound, 8 ounces of White House applesauce for a dime, and Jay-Bird vienna sausages for a dime a can. Piggly Wiggly had Delmonico steaks for 99¢ a pound, collards for 19¢ a buch, and Coca Cola or Tab for 19¢ plus deposit per six-bottle carton.

And for the reader who asked what "plus deposit" means, here's the explanation: since bottlers preferred to sterilize and re-use the glass bottles rather than making new ones, they charged a deposit of 2¢ or 3¢ per bottle; the deposit was returned when you brought the empty bottles back to the store. If you didn't want to pay deposit, you could just bring in six empty bottles with you when you picked up your carton of drinks. Many of us who were kids at the time would make extra cash by looking for empty bottles in trash cans, along roadsides, etc., and gathering them up for the deposit. I recall making almost a dollar in two days doing this, in fact--it was good for the environment and good for my budget!

If you wanted to catch a movie during the first half of the week, your choices were pretty limited: Of Human Bondage (with Kim Novak & Laurence Harvey) at the DeSoto or Honeymoon Hotel (with Robert Goulet, Nancy Kwan, Robert Morse, & Jill St. John) at the First Avenue. The midweek change up included The Bridge On the River Kwai (with William Holden & Alec Guinness) at the DeSoto and Quo Vadis (with Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, & Peter Ustinov) at the First Avenue. The weekend brought a double feature of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (with James Stewart & John Wayne) and Savage Innocents (with Anthony Quinn) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1964, for the second week in a row, was "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann. Other top ten hits included "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#2); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#3); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#4); "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#5); "Baby Love" by the Supremes (#6); "A Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy (#7); "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#8); "When I Grow Up to Be a Man" by the Beach Boys (#9); and "Have I the Right?" by the Honeycombs (#10).

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 10/5/1964 to 10/11/1964

Hurricane Hilda dumped more than four inches of rain on Rome on Sunday night and Monday morning, leading to a number of accidents resulting in almost two dozen injuries. The situation was made worse by strong winds that topped out at forty miles per hour. Even though the creek behind Conn Street was dredged earlier in the summer, it was unable to handle the heavy rain in such a short period of time, and once again homes along Conn Street, Paris Drive, and Williamson Street had to deal with flooded yards and closed roads.

Judge J.D. Maddox, president of the Rome/Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, said that he had met with the Georgia Board of Regents and was confident that, if Rome approved a bond issue for road improvements, a Floyd County junior college would be approved in 1965. As we know, his confidence was justified—Rome did pass that bond issue, and Floyd Junior College was approved.

The Chieftains travelled to Kingsport, Tennessee, to take on one of the toughest teams in all of Tennessee—a team that racked up an 89-0 win in its previous week's game!  While West Rome performed much better in their game, they still lost to Kingsport 20-6.

Someone stole almost 1500 pounds of dynamite from a storage building off Horseleg Creek Road on Monday, October 5th. Within 48 hours, Bill Hart and other Rome detectives had tracked 250 pounds of the dynamite to a Cartersville location. Police continued to look for the remainder of the explosives.

Two West Rome boys (their names withheld because they were minors) were arrested after engaging in a high-speed race down Shorter Avenue to Division Street on Sunday evening, October 11th. The vehicles were clocked at more than 115 miles per hour; one was caught fairly quickly, but the other vehicle with two youths in it attempted to flee the scene. The boys were caught after police shot out the tires on the car.

This was the week when Standard Oil stations in Rome and across the country began the transition to Chevron gasoline... a name change that would eventually see the stations also renamed from Standard Oil to Chevron. To celebrate the name change, Rome's Standard Oil stations offered gasoline for 29.9¢ per gallon.

As Rome and Floyd County continued to grow, Floyd Hospital took initial steps for yet another addition—this one adding sixty beds to the 250-bed hospital.

The push was on for color television, but Rome's electronics dealers weren't willing to give up on black-and-white quite yet. B&L Appliance & TV Center ran a World Series special: a 23" Westinghouse contemporary console black-and-white TV for $259.95 or an 23" Westinghouse Early American black-and-white console for $339.95—and the price on both televisions would be reduced by a dollar for every run scored in the third game of the World Series. Sears countered with their own Silvertone 23" console black-and-white TV for $198 during World Series week, or a 21" color console for $398.

Americans had a chance to watch the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Oympics on October 10th, thanks to the newly launched Syncom 3 geosynchronous broadcast satellite. This was the first time in history that Olympic ceremonies were broadcast live around the world.

Piggly Wiggly had center cut pork chops for 59¢ a pound, Swift's premium wieners for 39¢ a pound, and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 39¢ for a one-quart jar. Kroger had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, Rath bacon for 63¢ a pound, and red grapes for 13¢ a pound. Big Apple had red delicious apples for 12¢ a pound, T-bone steaks for 79¢ a pound, and chicken livers for a quarter a pound. A&P had beef liver for 29¢ a pound, large eggs for 43¢ a dozen, and canned biscuits for 9¢ a can. Couch's had pork roast for 39¢ a pound,  Duncan Hines cake mix for 33¢ a box, and yellow onions for a nickel a pound.

The cinematic week began with I'd Rather Be Right (with Sandra Dee, Robert Goulet, and Andy Williams) at the DeSoto and A Shot in the Dark (with Peter Sellers and Elke Summer) at the First Avenue.  The mid-week movie change-up brought The Secret Invasion (with Stewart Granger & Mickey Rooney) to the First Avenue, Of Human Bondage (with Kim Novak & Laurence Harvey) to the DeSoto, and Too Late Blues (with Bobby Darin & Stella Stevens) at the West Rome Drive-In (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only, since the drive-in was closed from Sunday through Wednesday nights).

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann. Other top ten hits included "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas; "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#3); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#4); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#5); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#6); "A Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy (#7); "It Hurts to Be In Love" by Gene Pitney (#8); "When I Grow Up to Be a Man" by the Beach Boys (#9); and "Let It Be Me" by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (#10).