Friday, June 10, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 6/13/1966 to 6/19/1966

The duck poisoner struck again, a week after poisoning ducks at the Civic Center Pond. This time, almost two dozen ducks were found dead at the big lake in Garden Lakes on Monday, June 13th; local veterinarian Connie Batson confirmed that the ducks had been poisoned, and some of the poison (which had been dusted on pieces of bread) was even found scattered along the banks of the lake. Needless to say, everyone in the area was eager to find whomever was responsible for such an evil act, with some residents promising to set up lake patrols in the area to protect the remaining ducks.

Did you know that West Rome had its very own women’s Home Economics Club? It’s true! With school out for the summer, the Home Economics Club was urging members to bring their daughters to the meeting—and to ensure that the programming was so exciting that no one could stay away, the June meeting would feature a special lesson on flower arranging!

The financial market was so strong that National City bank increased the rate for its certificates of deposit to 5% for a one-year CD; Rome Bank & Trust responded by raising their rates to 5.1%, as did Home Federal. Even savings accounts were paying 1.25% interest at this time--more than a CD earns today!

Rome Antenna Company had their very own Rome’s Finest antenna for only $88.00 installed—and they promised that this antenna was specially designed to pull in “picture-perfect channel reception” from both Rome and Chattanooga. For only $25 more, they would install a powered rotor so that you didn’t have to keep sending someone out to turn the antenna while someone else in the house yelled “Just a little more! Just a little more! That’s too much!”

If you wanted to grill, you had a lot of choices! Murphy’s had a charcoal grill with a 24” bowl and an electric rotisserie motor for $8.88. Sears had a charcoal grill with a 26” bowl, a rotisserie motor, and a hinged cover for $9.88. But if you wanted to go big, Atlanta Gas Light had a gas grill large enough to cook 24 hamburgers at once (bet their hamburgers were smaller than mine!) for only $63.00—and that included installation!

Kentucky Fried Chicken had plenty of choices for the summer: a liver or a gizzard dinner with mashed potatoes and a roll for 59¢, a fried fish dinner with 2 flounder fillets, fries, biscuits, and tartar sauce for 89¢, or a shrimp dinner with 8 jumbo shrimp, fries, biscuits, and tartar sauce for $1.09—and you could add a side order of Brunswick stew to any of those dinners for 35¢ or a small salad for 25¢. (And I didn’t remember that Kentucky Fried Chicken ever served fish, shrimp, Brunswick stew, or salads until I started doing this weekly retrospective, so apparently their marketing wasn’t as far-reaching as they had hoped it would be…) Not to be outdone, Redfords brought back their fish dinners with cole slaw, fries, baked beans, rolls, and coffee or iced tea for only 69¢, while the Shrimp Boat offered a fish dinner with fries, hush puppies, and slaw for only 79¢ or a shrimp dinner with fries, hush puppies,  or cole slaw for 99¢. And of course, McDonald’s was right their in the fish melee with their very own Filet o’ Fish sandwich on sale for only a quarter.

Piggly Wiggly had chicken breasts for 59¢ a pound, locally grown squash for 15¢ a pound, and cantaloupes for a quarter each. Kroger had pork loin roast for 59¢ a pound, 14-ounce bottles of Stokely catsup for 20¢. and a 12-ounce twin pack of Country Oven potato chips for 39¢. A&P had Swiss steaks for 65¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 65¢ a pound, and a one-pound jar of Ann Page peanut butter for (you guessed it!) 65¢. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound (to go with one of those grills you just bought, of course!), American Beauty pork & beans for a dime a can, and Irvindale ice cream or sherbet for 49¢ a half-gallon. Couch’s had chuck roast for 33¢ a pound, locally grown vine ripe tomatoes for 15¢ a pound, and a quart of JFG mayonnaise for 49¢.

If you were looking for a sporty ride with absolutely no get up and go, what more could you ask for than a Volkswagen Karman Ghia coupe? Well, you could have one, complete with radio, a heater, and whitewall tires, for only $1895 this week in 1965. Prefer a VW sedan instead? Well, you could save $300 off that Karman Ghia price! (Having owned a 1964 Volkswagen that I drove until 1976, going through two motors and putting just over 247,000 miles on it, I can see the appeal of the underpowered air-cooled VW. It may have barely puttered along, but it was remarkably easy to fix and it just kept going!)

waiian StylThe cinematic week began with Paradise Hawaiian Style (with Elvis Presley) at the DeSoto Theater & the West Rome Drive-In and The Group (with Candice Bergen) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Bambi to the DeSoto Theater (so apparently there were no major new movies released that week) and Fireball 500 (with Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello) to both the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In.

The Beatles took number one this week in 1966 with “Paperback Writer.” Other top ten hits included “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra (#2); “Paint It, Black” by the Rolling Stones (#3); “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#4); “I Am a Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel (#5); “Red Rubber Ball” by the Cyrkle (#6); “Barefootin’” by Robert Parker (#7); “Cook Jerk” by the Capitals (#8); “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield (#9); and “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” by the Chiffons (#10).

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