Friday, May 06, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/9/1966 to 5/15/1966

The push for a junior college in Floyd County picked up steam once again when a group of Northwest Georgia officials met wit h the State Board of Regents on May 10th. According to those who attended the meeting, the Board of Regents was open to the idea and seemed very impressed with the preliminary planning that the group had done. Of course, much of that planning was done a few years earlier when the group of officials first proposed building a school in Floyd County…

West Rome took the Region 3-AA track and field championship, the climax to a perfect track season. Artie Lovell set two records (15.2 seconds for the 120-yard high hurdles and 41’ 2.5”  n the triple jump) and won three first places in the Saturday afternoon track meet.
Academic Achievement Awards were presented to 43 outstanding Chieftains during a a Tuesday assembly conducted by Chieftains Club president Kirk Felker and Principal Dick McPhee. The students receiving awards included (Twelfth Grade) Jean Jackson, Pat Barna, Linda Camp, Jane Cox, Stan Dawson, Yvonne Hosch, Tom McMahon, Wayne Walker, & Danny Mackey; (Eleventh Grade) Mary Anne Witte, Diane Massey, Greg Quinton, Belinda Ritter, Oscar Horne, & Danny Cook; (Tenth Grade) Elaine Darsey, Patricia Finley, April Garrison, Anita Smith, Marie Edwards, Baxter Joy, Judy Oxford, Steve Warren, Sandy Witherington, & John Berry; (Ninth Grade) Debbye Morris, Sheila Reynolds, Robert Blaylock, Beverly Hall, & Beth Watson; (Eighth Grade) Susan Gardner, Paula Lane, Cynthia Morgan, Belinda Rodgers, Janet Webb, & Charles DiPrima; (Seventh Grade) Phyllis Cox, David Gardner, Rosalind McKibben, Greg Carter, Cliff Biggers, Peggy Jones, & Ricky Fairfield. (I remember this because my parents were so proud of the fact that I had won an Academic Achievement Award in my first year of junior high; I suspected that the school must have told them ahead of time, since Mom had already planned to make my favorite meal, Irish stew, to commemorate the event. I have always associated Mom's Irish stew with special occasions because of that, and I still remember that it was the last meal that I shared with her and Dad before emphysema took her from us; she was too ill to make it, but she supervised as Dad made it to her exacting standards, and it was so delicious that Mom said it was "almost as good" as hers. Dad justifiably took that as high praise...)

More than 300 students participated in a Thursday evening band concert conducted and directed by Clyde Roberson. Students from fourth War, Elementary Street, West End, West Rome Junior High, and West Rome High School took part in the concert; proceeds went to buy new band uniforms.

The next evening, The East Rome Chorus and the West Rome Chorus presented a joint concert at the East Rome High School auditorium. The West Rome Chorus performed selections from The Nutcracker Suite, Czechoslovakian folk song, and a medley from the musical The Fantasticks. (The Nutcracker Suite in May? I guess it doesn’t have to be limited to the Christmas season!…)

West Rome students who were interested in learning first aid or in working in the school clinic had the chance to take part in a first air class offered at the school beginning on Tuesday, May 10th. Students would be excused from class to take part in the session (wonder if that motivated anyone to sign up?).

Representative John W. Davis said that he had decided to support a plan to raise the minimum wage from $1.25 an hour to $1.40 beginning in 1967 and to $1.65 beginning in 1968. The bill exempted farmworkers and employees of any small business that did less than $250,000 of business per year.

Romans had one fewer dining choice this week in 1966: DiPrima’s Steak House was closed for the week for remodeling.  (I only ate at DiPrima’s a few times, although my parents would occasionally go there to celebrate an anniversary or a special occasion; I always thought of it as a “special occasion” kind of restaurant as a result. It’s also noteworthy that, back in the 1960s, it seemed like almost every town had its very own upscale steak house.)

We forget how very real the threat of nuclear war seemed back in the 1960s, but it was a legitimate concern, as the Rome-Floyd Civil Defense Unit reminded everyone with its announcement that it was beginning a government study of individual homes in the area to determine their safety in the case of nuclear attack. Rome wasn’t a primary strike target, but we were close enough to Dobbins and to Atlanta to be impacted by a nuclear attack on those targets. The Civil Defense Unit was analyzing structural integrity, air filtration, and radiological protection… and as you might expect, most Rome homes did not pass muster on the latter two. The Civil Defense Unit was also updating plans to use area Civil Defense Shelters—including one located in the West Rome Auditorium. The Civil Defense Unit was training more than a hundred Romans to serve as stewards and stewardesses (their terminology) for the shelters in the event they had to be used; these people would take charge of the shelter, handle food and water distribution, etc.  Reportedly, emergency supplies of food and water were stored beneath the stage area at both West Rome High and East Rome High, with both designated as emergency shelters. I remember reading articles like this back in 1966 and worrying about how real the threat was and what would happen to my family and friends if a nuclear attack occurred. Let’s hope that children today never have to worry about any of that…

Piggly Wiggly had chicken breasts for 49¢ a pound, Maxwell House Coffee for 69¢ a pound, and cabbage for a nickel a head. &P had Oscar Mayer bologna for 49¢ a package, ground beef for 45¢ a pound, and Cheerios for 33¢ a box. Kroger has salmon for 49¢ a pound, 20 pounds of Idaho potatoes for 99¢, and five pounds of Gold Medal flour for 49¢. Big Apple had pot roast for 79¢ a pound, Happy Valley ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and bananas for a dime a pound. Couch’s had lamb roast for 49¢ a pound, Bama blackberry jelly (in an 18-ounce jar that could be used as a drinking glass once it was empty) for 39¢, and Old Favorite ice milk for 33¢ a half-gallon.

The cinematic week began with The Flight of the Phoenix (a year-old film starring James Stewart) at the First Avenue and Madame X (with Lana Turner and John Forsyth) at the West Rome Drive-In. (Why the indoor theater was running a year-old film while the drive-in was running a brand-new film, I’ll never understand. I also don’t understand why, during the time the DeSoto was closed for renovation, the other indoor theater not only failed to pick up the slack, but seemed instead to slack off on the quality of its film choices.) The midweek switch out brought A Shot in the Dark (a 1964 film with Peter Sellers & Elke Sommer) to the First Avenue and Cat Ballou ( 1965 film with Jane Fonda & Lee Marvin) to the West Rome Drive-In. (Yes, more “theatrical reruns”…)

The Mamas & the Papas took first place with “Monday Monday” this week in 1966. Other top ten hits included “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan (#2); “Good Lovin’” by the Young Rascals (#3); “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge (#4); “A Groovy Kind of Love” by the Mindbenders (#5); “Kicks” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#6); “How Does That Grab You Darlin’” by Nancy Sinatra (#7); “Message to Michael” by Dionne Warwick (#8); “Sloop John B” by the Beach Boys (#9); and  “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart” by the Supremes (#10).

Herb Alpert’ & the Tijuana Brass released their sixth album, What Now My Love, this week in 1966; this was also the week that the Small Faces (with Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, among others) released their eponymous debut album.  This was also the week that the Rolling Stones released “Paint It, Black,” which would go on to become the first hit single to include a sitar (while the Beatles had used a sitar in “Norwegian Wood back in 1965, the song was not released as a single).

The final original episode of The Munsters aired on May 12th, bringing an end to television’s all-too-brief fascination with monster-themed TV shows (the final Addams Family episode had aired a month earlier). Boy, it was good while it lasted!…

Spider-Man faced off against the Green Goblin in the first chapter of a two-part story that began in Amazing Spider-Man #39 this week in 1966. This was a landmark issue for two reasons:not only would this story reveal the identity of the Green Goblin, but it would also mark the beginning of artist John Romita’s lengthy run on the series, replacing Steve Ditko (who had left Marvel earlier in the year and whose final work for Marvel was published in April 1966). I loved Ditko and  had trouble adjusting to Romita, who initially struck me as too bland and generic. The problem was, anyone who followed the distinctively quirky Ditko would seem bland and generic by comparison! I went on to become a big Romita fan, but it took a little while…

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