Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/1/1965 to 2/7/1965

Winter just wouldn't let go of Rome: once again, snow and ice hit the area on February 1st and 2nd. By Tuesday morning, the temperature had fallen to 10 degrees. Temperatures remained well below normal through the end of the week.

Rehearsals began for the 1965 ChieftainActs this week; the event was scheduled for March 12th and 13th. The theme of this year's show, which was produced by Hoyt Blaylock with assistance from Bob McEwan and Miss Kitty Alford, was "ChieftainActs Memoirs."

While both West Rome and East Rome were eliminated from the Region 3-AA title race by this time in 1965, that didn't stop them from playing their hearts out when the cross-town rivals faced each other on February 5th. West Rome's boys won 43-39 in the hard-fought game, while the girls won 27-14 to complete the Friday night sweep. The next night, the Chieftains added another victory to their record when they defeated Cass 67-54, while the girls team won 34-24.

A special assembly program was held on February 4th to recognize West Rome's wrestlers for their Northwest Georgia wrestling championship win. After the presentation, an anti-dropout film called "The Hurrying Kind" was shown to the assembled student body.

Nothing says love like a Krystal hamburger, apparently: Krystal offered a Valentine's Day Special beginning on February 5th, offering 5 Krystal hamburgers for a quarter. 

The much-discussed transfer of Rome's airline service from Eastern Airlines to Southern Airways was put on hold again, as Southern expressed some concerns about the profitability of the routes. The plans called for two flights a day from Rome to Atlanta and two flights a day from Atlanta back to Rome. There was even talk about implementing Rome flights to Memphis and New Orleans--plans that never came to pass, unfortunately. Could you image actually having a useful regional passenger airport in Rome?...

The Rome Breakfast Optimist Club presented West Rome principal Dick McPhee with a $100 check to help fund his "Youth Wants to Know" program in the Rome city Schools. The program was designed "to answer questions on courting, dating, marriage, alcoholism, smoking, integrity, and honesty." Seven ministers and four doctors had agreed to donate their time to the program.

Keeping 'em in stitches: The Chattanooga Sewing Center opened at 516 Shorter Avenue this week in 1965 (apparently geographical accuracy wasn't involved in the naming process). Specials involved a full-sized Singer slant-needle automatic sewing machine for $62 and portables for as low as $19.99.

Piggly Wiggly had Swift's bacon for 39¢ a pound, collards for 19¢ a bunch, and iceberg lettuce for 15¢ a pound. Kroger had smoked hams for 39¢ a  pound, red delicious apples for a nickel each, and a case of Coca Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit. A&P had cubed steak for 79¢ a pound, Ann Page tomato soup for a dime a can, and oranges for 4¢ each. Big Apple had beef liver for 19¢ a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and ten pounds of White Lily Flour for 99¢. Couch's had stew beef for 25¢ a pound, Maxwell House instant coffee for $1.49 a jar, and 5 pounds of grapefruit for 39¢.

The cinematic week began with The Pleasure Seekers at the DeSoto and The Outrage (with Paul Newman & Laurence Harvey) at the First Avenue--not exactly the sort of films that anyone was rushing to see.  The midweek switch out brought Goodbye Charlie (with Tony Curtis & Debbie Reynolds) to the DeSoto, while The Outrage was held over at the First Avenue. Goodbye Charlie also graced the West Rome Drive-In screen over the weekend (I had no idea that Tony Curtis was considered such a box office draw!).

The Righteous Brothers took the number one slot this week in 1965 with "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Other top ten hits included "Downtown by Petula Clark (#2); "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#3); "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis (#4); "My Girl" by the Temptations (#5); "Hold What You've Got" by Joe Tex (#6); "All Day and All of the Night" by the Kinks (#7); "Shake" by Sam Cooke (#8); "The Jolly Green Giant" by the Kingsmen (#9); and "I Go to Pieces" by Peter & Gordon (#10).

And this was the week that Peter Jennings began his run as anchor of the ABC Nightly News.

Marvel released one of my all-time favorite single-issue comic book stories this week in 1965: Daredevil #7, featuring Daredevil versus the Sub-Mariner as presented by Stan Lee and Wally Wood. Wood's time at Marvel was far too brief, but it gave us one of the best "hopelessly outclassed hero won't give up" comic book stories ever told.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/25/1965 to 1/31/1965

What a waste of perfectly good snow; Rome had another snow and ice storm in January 1965--but this one arrived early on Saturday morning, which meant that there was no opportunity for a "get out of school free" snow day. At least we could go outside and enjoy the one to three inches of snow that fell on top of a tenth of an inch of freezing rain--and with temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees, the white stuff didn't melt quickly! US 27 north of Rome was the most dangerous road in the Rome area, although weather-related accidents were reported on Redmond Circle, Shorter Avenue, and Burnett Ferry Road.

While the availability of some federal funds was up in the air due to the Rome City School System's slow response to federal desegregation orders, other federal funds were definitely on their way to Rome. Assistant Superintendent JB Maddox confirmed that Rome was set to receive $229,320 in federal funds for pre-school programs and high-school work training programs.

Fifty years ago, the fight to bring I-75 closer to Rome was underway, with the Highways Committee of the Rome-Floyd County Chamber of Commerce pushing for a route to the West of Cartersville... a route that would have taken the interstate through a portion of land owned by the Rollins family. Alas, one family's wishes circumvented what would have been best for northwest Georgia...

Senior Superlatives were announced this week in 1965. Jackie Lupo & Chris Lawler were selected Best Scholars; Carol Chapman & Derell Brookshire, Most Talented; Jane Martin & Chuck Hart, Wittiest; Eddie Hamilton & Jane Hairston, Best Looking; Jane McCollum & Gerry Law, Most Athletic; Caron Harper & Ronnie Allen, Best Dressed; Lynn Moore & Jerry Penny, Most Typical American Girl & Boy; Jayne Smallwood & Jerry Coalson, Most Congenial; Teresa Wood & Jackie Smith, Best Personality; and Dickie Sapp & Judy Wessinger, Most Popular. The big winners were Dickie Sapp & Judy Whitaker, who were tapped as Mister and Miss West Rome High School.

At the senior class meeting on Thursday, January 28th, Gretchen Lininger & Gordon Walden were chosen to prepare the class prophecies for the 1965 Watanyah. Terry Shaw & Marsha Peugh were tapped to prepare the Last Will & Testament.

West Rome's wrestlers put an end to Rossville's domination of area wrestling: the Chiefs finished with 102 points in the Third Annual Northwest Georgia Wrestling Tournament, well ahead of second-place Rossville's 86 points. East Rome was even further back with 77 points, which must have been particularly painful since the tournament was held in East Rome's gym...

The Chieftains posted their seventh victory of the season on Friday, January 29th, as they defeated Calhoun 64-46. Gerry Law scored 19 points, Stan Dawson scored 17, Eddie Hamilton scored 12, and Rusty Oxford scored 10. It was a more disappointing evening for the girls basketball team, unfortunately, as they lost to Calhoun 32-26.

Rome shoppers were in for a treat this week in 1965: Rome Jubilee Days meant that almost every store in Rome was running specials. Kesslers had dresses for $3 and $5; Goodyear had whitewall tires for $11 each; Belks had top-quality bath towels for $1.10; Esserman's had men's sport coats for $19; Millers had men's and women's winter coats for $9.98 to $19.99; Rhodes had a French provincial dining room set for $99; Wheeler's had suits for 40% and 50% off; and Murphy's had a wide selection of fabrics for 25¢ to 37¢ a yard. And that's just a small sampling of the bargains that made the last weekend in January the big weekend for shopping in Rome.

Piggly Wiggly had Delmonico steaks for 99¢ a pound, Maxwell House Coffee for 69¢ a pound, and cabbage for a nickel a head. Kroger had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half gallon, and lettuce for a dime a head. Big Apple had  sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystal sugar for 39¢, and tomatoes for 12¢ a pound. A&P had chicken livers for 19¢ a pound (oh, how I loved chicken livers for dinner when I was a kid--one of my favorite foods!), five pounds of White Lily flour for 49¢. and pork & beans for a dime a can. Couch's had fresh whole fryers for a quarter a pound; banana for 7.5¢ a pound (yes, that's seven and a half cents!), and saltines for 19¢ a box.

Rome moviegoers could choose from Invitation to a Gunfighter (with Yul Brynner) at the First Avenue and Father Goose at the DeSoto. The midweek movie switch-out brought The Pleasure Seekers (with Ann Margret & Tony Franciosa) to the DeSoto and For Those Who Think Young (with James Darren, Pamela Tiffin, & Paul Lynde) to the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In's weekends-only screening was a double feature of No Time For Sergeants (with Andy Griffith) and Gold of the Seven Saints (with Clint Walker & Roger Moore).

The number one song this week in 1965 was the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.'" Other top ten hits included "Downtown" by Petula Clark (#2); "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis (#3); "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#4); "Hold What You've Got" by Joe Tex (#5); "Love Potion Number Nine" by the Searchers (#6); "All Day and All of the Night" by the Kinks (#7); "My Girl" by the Temptations (#8); "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" by Marvin Gaye (#9); and "Shake" by Sam Cooke (#10).

The Zombies made their American album debut this week in 1965, riding strong on the fall '64 success of "She's Not There." (Listening to that song and this album, you might find it hard to believe that these songs were all recorded in '64 and released in '65, since they all sound ahead of their time.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/181965 to 1/24/1965

Rome began the week in the deep freeze, with temperatures in the single digits early Monday morning, climbing to a high in the low 30s Monday night and a low in the low teens. This meant that the weekend's ice and snow was slow to let go of its hold on secondary roads, although all main roads were passable. Surprisingly, Rome City Schools were open for school nevertheless--much to the chagrin of many students who were certain they were going to get a snow day, I'm sure! (And you can rest assured that I was one of them!)

West Rome's boys basketball team defeated LaFayette 60-34 on Friday, January 22nd, while the girls lost in an ultra-low-scoring 17-12 game. Stan Dawson was the number one scorer for the Chiefs with 16 points.

The Rome City School system was still evaluating their response to a federal integration edict. The state board of education was urging local systems to comply with the order, which said that unless schools integrated their systems they would not receive federal aid for lunches and other programs.

Sinclair Oil's advertising campaign in the 1960s was built around that quaint notion that our oil reserves were the result of dead dinosaurs decomposing, so it seemed logical that one of the tchotchkes that Sinclair would offer as a bonus item was  a free dinosaur bank. This bronto bank could be had with the purchase of a tankful of new Sinclair gasoline with nickel. As much as I loved dinosaurs, I somehow got through my childhood without this bank... my guess is the cost of this new gasoline with added nickel was sufficiently high that Dad decided I could keep using the ceramic owl piggy bank that my mother had made for me a couple of years earlier...

And speaking of ceramics, apparently West Rome had its own ceramics studio that I never knew about: Marian's Ceramics at 130 Williamson Street in West Rome held an open house on Saturday and Sunday. They also held classes offering tips on staining and painting ceramics. Even though I didn't live that far away from Williamson Street--maybe a half-mile at the most--I never heard of Marian's Ceramics, and I don't think my mother knew about it, either. That was odd, because she was heavily involved in ceramics at this time (I still have the Blue Boy and Pink Girl ceramics sculptures she finished in 1964 or 1965, in fact).

Kroger had pork roast for 37¢ a pound, Ballard biscuits for 6¢ a can, and Maxwell House coffee for 59¢ a pound. Piggly Wiggly had baking hens for 39¢ a pound, Libby's chili for 29¢ a can, and a quart of JFG mayonnaise for 31¢. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and grapefruit for 8¢ each. Big Apple had pork steak for 39¢ a pound, lettuce for a dime a head, and Del Monte tuna for 29¢ a can. Couch's had a Oscar Mayer sliced bacon for 59¢ a pound, picnic hams for 33¢ a pound, and a 12-ounce jar of Blue Plate peach preserves for 19¢/

The cinematic week began with Father Goose (with Cary Grant & Leslie Caron) at the DeSoto and Joy House (with Jane Fonda & Alain Delon) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch up brought Invitation to a Gunfighter (with Yul Brynner) to the First Avenue, while Father Goose hung around for a bit longer at the DeSoto. The West Rome Drive-in had a B-movie extravaganza over the weekend, with Yellowstone Kelly and The Bad Seed (the latter of which was recommended "for adults only," which always seemed like an odd cinematic choice for a drive-in whose screen was clearly visible from Shorter Avenue).

While they weren't a hit in my house, someone obviously enjoyed The King Family. Their August 1964 special was so successful that they earned their own series, The King Family Show, which debuted on ABC on January 23rd, 1965.

Petula Clark took over the number one slot this week in 1965 with "Downtown." Other top ten hits included "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers (#2); "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis (#3); "Love Potion Number Nine" by the Searchers (#4); "Hold What You've Got" by Joe Tex (#5) "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" by Marvin Gaye (#6); "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#7); "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#8); "Keep Searchin'" by Del Shannon (#9); and "All Day and All of the Night" by the Kinks (#10).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/11/1965 to 1/17/1965

The Chieftains took on Pepperell on the basketball court on Friday, January 15th, winning the game handily 52-32, led by Gerry Law's 16 points. The girls also defeated Pepperell, posting a 32-21 victory, led by Jane McCollum's 22 points. Thankfully, the Chiefs were able to get the game in before the bad weather began. What bad weather? Keep reading...

Rome was caught by surprise when a cold front triggered an unexpected snowfall and freezing rain on January 15th and 16th. Almost two dozen accidents were reported, included one multi-car ice-related collision on Shorter Avenue near Burnett Ferry Road. Temperatures fell to 9 degrees on Saturday morning and 11 degrees on Sunday morning, slowing any melting.

Seniors voted on senior superlatives this week, although the winners wouldn't be announced until later in the year.

The Elm Street Elementary PTA presented a special program entitled "Truth or Consequences" on the evening of Thursday, January 14th, during which Rome psychiatrist Dr. Ralph J. Davis discussed child guidance.

Wonder how many of our parents took us to Murphy's this week in 1965 for the $1.00 11" x 14" portrait special? I know that my parents took my sister to Murphy's to take advantage of the bargain price, and I suspect that many other Chieftains who have 11" x 14" childhood portraits in their parents' home may find Murphy's name stamped on the back...

Back in the days before mobile phones, one of the best ways to talk to people all over the country—and even the world—was with ham radio. This week in 1965, the YMCA offered a class in ham radio basics for interested teens and adults. Ralph Ayers, an electrical engineer at GE, taught the eight-week course; at the end of the course, all who passed would receive a novice license from the FCC.

Remember last week's mention of the prisoner who stayed and helped a guard who suffered a heart attack? Well, good deeds do get rewarded: Judge JD Maddox released the prisoner who helped to aid the 61-year-old guard, and convinced the other prisoners to take the stricken guard to get medical help.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Coca-Cola or Tab for 89¢ per case plus deposit, and apples for 12¢ a pound. Kroger has pork chops for 49¢ a pound, tangerines for 19¢ a pound, and Maxwell House Coffee for 69¢ a pound. Big Apple had Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half gallon, Oscar Mayer hot dogs for 49¢ a pound, and American Beauty tomato soup for a dime a can. A&P had beef liver for 29¢ a pound, iceberg lettuce for 15¢ a head, and a 16-ounce bottle of Ann Page pancake syrup for 39¢. Couch's had rib steak for 79¢ a pound, 16 ounces of Bama apple jelly for 29¢, and vine ripened tomatoes (back at a time when that actually meant something) for 19¢  pound.

The cinematic week in Rome began with Walt Disney's So Dear My Heart at the DeSoto and the James Bond film Goldfinger at the First Avenue. The midweek switch up brought The Americanization of Emily (with James Garner &  Julie Andrews) to the DeSoto and The First Men in the Moon (with a cast no one would really care about) to the First Avenue... and apparently the Lams were convinced that this SF film was going to be a big, because they also scheduled it at the West Rome Drive-In over the weekend.  

Once again, the Beatles held on to number one this week in 1965 with "I Feel Fine." Other top ten hits included "Downtown" by Petula Clark (#2); "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers (#3); "Love Potion Number Nine" by the Searchers (#4); "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#5); "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis (#6); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#7); "The Jerk" by the Larks (#8); "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye (#9); and "Keep Searchin'" by Del Shannon (#10).

The Beatles held on to number one on the album charts with Beatles '65. Meanwhile, another British invasion group, The Who, released their first album, I Can't Explain, this week in 1965.

Sad news for those of us who loved to watch The Outer Limits on ABC: the final episode of the series, "The Probe," aired on January 16th.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/4/1965 to 1/10/1965

Here's a local story that sounds like the plot to a TV movie: six prisoners in a Floyd County Public Works Camp detail had a chance to escape when their 61-year-old guard suffered a heart attack. Rather than leave him and make a run for it, however, the six prisoners carried him back to their transport bus, then went to a nearby farmhouse to call for an ambulance—and then one of the prisoners accompanied him to the hospital to let the doctors know what had happened and to make sure that the guard was okay. Warden CM Caldwell said that "not a man gave a thought, apparently to escaping.... I am planning to write a letter to the Pardons and Paroles Board asking consideration for, and commending, the prisoners who did this kind and good deed without a thought of escaping."

The Chiefs took on the Berry Falcons in a home game on Friday, January 7th--but it didn't turn out the way West Rome had hoped it would. Instead, Berry posted a 48-41 win, with Gerry Law scoring 27 of West Rome's 41 points.

School was barely back in session after the Christmas break, but the West Rome seniors were already holding their first meeting to discuss graduation plans. The senior class meeting took place in the West Rome auditorium on Thursday, January 6th--the first of several meetings planned for the first few months of '65.

T.S. Eliot, the author whose poem "The Wasteland" almost all of us read (or were supposed to read) in English literature, died on January 4th, 1965.

Piggly Wiggly began the new year with chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, potatoes for 6¢ a pound, and jello for a dime a box. Kroger had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, bacon for 39¢ a pound, and eggs for 35¢ a dozen. A&P had peaches for a quarter a pound, ice milk for 49¢ a half-gallon, and leg o' lamb for 59¢ a pound. Big Apple had pink salmon for 49¢ a can, a ten-pound bag of flour for 99¢, and ocean perch fillet for 29¢ a pound. couch's had smoked cured picnic ham for 29¢ a pound, Northern bathroom tissue for 9¢ a roll, and Showboat pork & beans for 9¢ a can.

The cinematic week began with The Disorderly Orderly (with Jerry Lewis) at the DeSoto and Goldfinger (with Sean Connery) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Walt Disney's So Dear to My Heart to the DeSoto, while Goldfinger was held over for another week (apparently James Bond mania was in full swing!). The West Rome Drive-In's weekend schedule included a forgettable double feature of Moonshine Mountain and God's Little Acre.

The Beatles held on to the number one position this week in 1965 with "I Feel Fine" (and their album Beatles '65 had a lock on first place in the album charts as well). Other top ten hits included "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#2); "Love Potion Number Nine" by the Searchers (#3); "Downtown" by Petula Clark (#4); "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers (#5); "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton (#6); "The Jerk" by the Larks (#7); "Goin' Out of My Head" by Little Anthony & the Imperials (#8); "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" by Marvin Gaye (#9); and "Keep Searchin'" by Del Shannon (#10).

For those of us who loved comics, one of the best books of all time was published this week in 1965: The Great Comic Book Heroes, a retrospective and appreciation by Pulitzer-winner Jules Feiffer. The articles were fascinating, of course, but the real allure of this book was the heaping helping of long-unseen Golden Age comic book stories featuring Batman, Superman, Captain America, the Spirit, Hawkman, and many, many more. This hefty hardcover was beyond my early-1965 budget... but the book went on my Christmas list right away, and before the year was out, I'd have my very own copy!