Friday, August 21, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/23/1965 to 8/29/1965

The West Rome Marching Band was having to deal with extreme heat and high humidity during its band practices, leading the Rome News-Tribune to speculate that band practice might actually be tougher than football drills in terms of the toll it took on the participating students. The article went on to explain that Rome never had a marching band prior to the fall of 1938, when Rome High band director AW Derrick organized Rome's first marching band for the 1938 football season. Band director Clyde Roberson said that the band began marching practice on August 16th; prior to that date, they had played inside for two weeks. All 110 members of the band were on the field from 9am until noon every weekday. The good news? They weren't practicing in full uniforms—because the new uniforms that had been ordered for the 1965 football season hadn't come in yet (they weren't due to arrive until mid-September).

Registration took place without incident on August 26th, marking the end to summer vacation. The only glitch that occurred was caused by unexpectedly high freshman and sophomore registrants; West Rome had more than two dozen new Chieftains show up, pushing registration times back slightly as the counselors scrambled to find classes for the new arrivals. Students had August 27th off to buy school supplies and otherwise prepare for the start of the school year bright and early on Monday, August 30th.

School wasn't even scheduled to start until August 30th, but West Rome had their first football game of the season on August 27th, taking on Coosa at Barron Stadium. The game ended with a rare 0-0 standoff, as both teams' outstanding defense stopped their opponents from scoring (even though West Rome came close when Richard Camp's 29-yard field goal attempt with 36 seconds left in the game was partially blocked by a Coosa defender).

The Chieftain cheerleaders made page three of the Rome News-Tribune, with a photo showing Janet Amspoker, Cheryl Lanier, Elaine Freeman, Sylvia Brumbelow, Susan Sprayberry, Susan Wade, Charline Lamb, Debbie Shannon, and Dixie Moore showing off their school spirit as they prepared for the first game of the year.

The federal government just couldn't make up their bureaucratic minds regarding Rome and Floyd County's desegregation plans... but in this case, the change came about because they hadn't been careful enough in scrutinizing the county's earlier plan. After telling the two school systems that their plans were approved a week earlier, the government changed their minds and said that the plans were not "fully accepted" after all. The federal government mandated a change whereby any black students living outside of the city limits (but within Floyd County) could attend a Rome City School during the 1965-1966 school year without paying any out-of-system tuition; instead, Floyd County would reimburse the city for the proportionate costs of those students. The reason for this change? The federal government had overlooked the fact that Floyd County had never had any school facilities for black students (except for one small school in Cave Spring); instead, they had always transported those students to Rome's schools. The federal plan approved a week earlier had specified that those students would now attend county schools—but there were insufficient county classrooms for those students. This change allowed the county one year to prepare extra classroom facilities for these students in the next school year. (It's hard to believe that, until 1966-1967, the county offered absolutely no educational opportunities for black students in any of its schools, but that's the case: they contracted with Rome City Schools instead. It's hard to imagine how much time those students had to spend on school buses getting back and forth to school every day.)

Rome received bad news regarding I-75: representatives of Bartow County's government and Chamber of Commerce asked the US Bureau of Roads to choose the eastern path for I-75 (that's the path that was ultimately built, lying to the east of US 41). Rome had pushed for a western path instead, taking the interstate to the west of 41, where it would intersect with US 411 between Rome and Cartersville.

Piggly Wiggly had turkeys for 43¢ a pound, Fox frozen pizza for 79¢, and red delicious apples for 12¢ a pound. Kroger had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, Diet-Rite cola for 19¢ a carton (plus deposit), and Sealtest ice milk for 35¢ a half-gallon. Big Apple had prime rib roast for 79¢ a pound, Round the Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound, and the ever-popular Van Camp vienna sausages for 20¢ a can. A&P had Cap'n John's perch fillets for 39¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 29¢ each, and Poss's Brunswick Stew for 49¢.  Couch's had pork chops for 59¢ a pound, JFG mayonnaise for 25¢ a pint, and fresh okra for 15¢ a pound.

The cinematic weekend began with Shenandoah (with James Stewart) at the DeSoto, Ensign Pulver (with Robert Walker & Burl Ives) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Joy House (with Jane Fonda) and The Yellow Rolls Royce (with Rex Harrison) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch out brought A Very Special Favor (with Rock Hudson & Leslie Caron) to the DeSoto,  H. Rider Haggard's She (with Ursula Andress as She Who Must Be Obeyed) to the First Avenue, and Von Ryan's Express (with Frank Sinatra) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The Beatles returned to the top slot this week in 1967 with "Help." Other top ten hits included "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan (#2); "California Girls" by the Beach Boys (#3); "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers (#4); "It's the Same Old Song" by the Four Tops (#5); "I Got You, Babe" by Sonny & Cher (#6); "You Were on My Mind" by We Five (#7); "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown (#8); "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (#9); and "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" by Mel Carter (#10).

Those of us who read comics had no idea how important Green Lantern #40 would become insofar as DC Comics history was concerned: this is the issue that introduced the villainous Krona, whose actions gave birth to the DC Multiverse. Of course, the multiverse would become a vital part of DC continuity in years to come, elevating Krona to a position of prominence that creators John Broome, Gil Kane, and Sid Greene most likely never envisioned.

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