Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/22/1965 to 3/28/1965

West Rome wrapped up three weeks of spring practice with the Green and White intra-squad game, which was held at Barron Stadium on March 26th. Robert Green coached the Green Team, appropriately enough, while Nick Hyder was in charge of the White team, with Coach Kennedy watching the whole thing from the press box. For a while, it appeared that the game might be rained out, but the Chieftains slogged across the muddy track and onto the wet field to play the game, with the Greens winning  7-3.

Barbara Helie was chosen as West Rome's 1965 senior class poet; her class poem would be part of the 1965 Class Night program.

Ann Peery, Jane McCollum, Lynn Moore, and Stan Dawson were chosen to represent West Rome on the Floyd County All Star Basketball Team.

I didn't remember that classes had a class flower or a class song, but they did—and in 1965, the senior class chose the red rose as their class flower and "I'll Be Seeing You" as their class song.

The Student Council announced that the 1964 Western Pioneer Day was so popular that it was becoming an annual event, with the second Western Pioneer Day set for Friday, April 23rd. Students and teachers were encouraged to begin assembling their cowboy or Indian costumes now, since anyone out of costume could potentially be arrested and "jailed" and would have to pay a 10¢ fine to get out. A special assembly program was also in the works, featuring parodies of such popular Western TV shows as Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

And speaking of assembly programs, Charles Gregory entertained West Rome Students on March 24th with a program called "Strange Music." during the assembly, Gregory performed music using such unusual instruments as a vacuum cleaner, a rubber glove, a theremin, a bicycle pump, a balloon, a saw, a mallet, and bagpipes. Did it have great educational value? Not particularly. But did it add a memorable and entertaining break to the school week? You bet!

Back in 1965, everyone had to pay ad valorum taxes and buy car tags before April 1st--and that meant that the big rush was on in the last full week before the deadline. While almost 19,000 tags had been paid for by the beginning of the week, Tag Agent Lee Looney estimated that another 7,000 to 8,000 tags would be paid for in the final days as the deadline approached.

All the numbers were finally tallied, and the Federal Reserve reported that Rome's department stores saw a 6% gain during January 1965 over the same month in 1964, while purchasers were also carrying a lower charge account balance and were paying off those balances more quickly than in the past. Furniture stores saw an 8% gain, while grocery stores saw a 5% gain. All these numbers pointed to a continuation of the strong economic growth that had emerged since the 1963 tax cuts went into effect.

West Point and Pepperell voted to merge their two textile firms this week in 1965, creating the new West Point Pepperell company. Spokesmen assured concerned employees that this merger would not result in any job cuts in the Rome facility--and in fact, it might very well lead to new jobs.

Color television prices were dropping in 1965, with Sears offering a 21" color tabletop TV for $366.00 (that's a little over $2750,00 in today's dollars, adjusting for inflation), while a 23" black and white console dropped in price to $146.00 (the equivalent of $1097 in 2015 dollars). We apparently loved our television, considering how much we paid for it! By comparison, a 5-piece maple living room suite could be had for $177 and a four-piece maple bedroom suite could be had for only $144. (Yes, you could furnish a room for less than the cost of a television!)

Piggly Wiggly had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, Nabisco saltines for 19¢ a box, and fresh strawberries for 33¢ a pint. Kroger had pork roast for 23¢ a pound, Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and a 16-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup for 19¢. Big Apple had beef liver for 17¢ a pound, Starkist tuna for 30¢ a can, and and five pounds of Pillsbury flour for 53¢. A&P had Long Island ducks for 43¢ a pound (I had no idea that Rome grocery stores offered duck in the meat section in 1965!), Oscar Mayer bacon for 55¢ a pound, and fresh broccoli for 29¢ a bunch. Couch's had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, Chase & Sanborn coffee for 69¢ a pound, and a 32-ounce can of Poss's Brunswick stew for 49¢.

The cinematic week began with Strange Bedfellows (with Rock Hudson & Gina Lollobrigida) at the DeSoto and Baby the Rain Must Fall (with Steve McQueen & Lee Remick) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Bus Riley's Back in Town (with Ann-Margret & Michael Parks) to the DeSoto and None But the Brave (with Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, & Tommy Sands) to the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In hosted a three-film weekend Horror-rama that included Black Sunday, The Pit & the Pendulum, and House of Usher--and you could see all three for only a quarter per person!

The Supremes had the number one song this week in 1965 with "Stop! In the Name of Love." Other top ten hits included "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat' by Herman's Hermits (#2); "I'm Telling You Now" by Freddie & the Dreamers (#3); "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All-Stars (#4); "The Birds and the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#5); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#6); "Eight Days a Week" by the Beatles (#7); "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey (#8); "Nowhere to Run" by Martha & the Vandellas (#9); and "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" by Vic Dana (#10).

This was a particularly memorable week for album releases in 1965. LPs premiering this week included Bringing It All Back Home by Bob Dylan; The Early Beatles by the Beatles (the first Capitol release of the music previously available on Veejay); The Temptations Sing Smokey, a cover album by the Temptations; Begin Here by the Zombies; The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads by the all-too-short-lived Otis Redding; The Pretty Things by... oh, you can figure it out; and Soul Dressing by Booker T & the MG's.

1 comment:

paul howley said...

What did you mean by "A special seemly program"?