March of 1966 reminded us that winter was not yet over: the week was cold, with temperatures falling all the way to 18 degrees on Tuesday, March 8th. The cold came without accompanying precipitation, though, so life continued on as normal on the west side of town, and high climbed back to a more seasonal 57 by the end of the week.
The era of segregated schools was finally coming to an end: Rome City Superintendent Milton S. McDonald and Floyd County Superintendent Harold Lindsey said that, after meeting with a federal education official, they were informed that schools would have to be fully integrated by the beginning of the 1967 school year, and the system whereby Floyd County contracted to send all black students to Rome City Schools would have to come to an end. The faculties of the city and county schools would also have to be integrated. It’s hard to believe now that such a system still existed in Rome in 1966, but apparently Floyd County had no system at all to educate black students, preferring instead to transport them to schools in the Rome system instead. The fact that it’s now a part of history is good… but the fact that it was still in existence in 1966 is a shame…
Georgia Secretary of State Ben Fortson came to West Rome High School for a special assembly program held on the morning of March 10th. Sponsored by the YMCA, the “Youth Wants to Know” program features presentations by local and state leaders on various themes; Mr. Fortson spoke on the theme of “Honesty and Integrity.”
Rome was still a manufacturing community in 1966, and manufacturing was going so strong that Trend Mills announced plans to add a 100,000 square foot addition to the Rome facility on Redmond Road. Plans called for the addition of another 120 jobs as a result of the building, boosting an already-strong economy.
Did you know that Floyd County was still “dry” in 1966? It was fifty years ago that a petition drive began to put the sale of alcoholic beverages within the county to a vote.The push stressed the fact that legal alcohol would be controlled alcohol, while the moonshine and bootleg liquor being sold in Floyd County at the time was uncontrolled, unregulated, and untaxed. As one might expect, the churches of the area immediately spoke out against the proposal… but all of us who lived in West Rome know that their opposition ultimately made no difference.
Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 45¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and Swift’s corned beef hash for 39¢ a can. Big Apple had hen turkeys for 45¢ a pound, a five pound of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and a two-pound bag of Ore-Ida frozen french fries for a quarter. Kroger had smoked hams for 49¢ a pound, medium eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and Morton frozen dinners for 33¢ each. A&P had ground beef for 45¢ a pound, strawberries for 35¢ a pound, and Surf detergent for 28¢ a box. Couch’s had ground steak for 69¢ a pound, baking potatoes for a nickel a pound, and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 33¢ a quart.
The cinematic week began with the Man from UNCLE film The Spy With My Face (with Robert Vaughn & David McCallum) at the DeSoto Theater and The Great Race (with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, & Natalie Wood) at the First Avenue. The midweek switchout brought Made in Paris (with Ann-Margret) to the DeSoto, while The Great Race hung around for another week at the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In’s weekend film was The TNT Show, a musical performance feature that included rock acts, country performers, and more.
Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler’s grip on the number one slot continued as “The Ballad of the Green Berets” held that position for yet another week. Other top ten hits included “Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones (#2); “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra (#3); “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles (#4); “Elusive Butterfly” by Bob Lind (#5); “Listen People” by Herman’s Hermits (#6); “California Dreaming’” by the Mamas & the Papas (#7); “Homeward Bound” by Simon & Garfunkel (#8); “I Fought the Law” by the Bobby Fuller Four (#9); and “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#10).
Gold Key specialized in comics based on television shows, so it should be no surprise that The Wild Wild West #1 showed up on the comic book racks this week in 1966. Meanwhile, over at Marvel, Daredevil faced off against Spider-Man in Daredevil #16 (I always though of it as returning the favor, since they first crossed paths back in 1964 in Amazing Spider-Man #16), and Giant-Man (formerly Ant-Man) changed his monicker to Goliath in the pages of Avengers #28.