This was the last full week of summer vacation for West Rome students, since school was scheduled to start on August 25th. Every clothing store in Rome was pushing back-to-school clothes, while Owen’s Hardware was promoting jerseys in school colors for only $2.99. Buy-Wise had a pack of 200 sheets of loose-leaf notebook paper for a dime; Murphy’s had spiral notebooks for a nickel each; and Wyatt’s had fountain pens with a bottle of ink in your choice of blue, black, or emerald green for 99¢. (Yeah, I know that most of us were using pencils or ballpoint pens in 1966, but I always had a thing for fountain pens, particularly with green ink. I think I learned to appreciate fountain pens because of Mrs. Cook at Elm Street Elementary, who taught me how to write left-handed with a fountain pen without dragging the edge of my hand through the ink and smearing everything. Of course, her solution involved contorting my hand so that I was basically recreating a right-hand slant with my left hand… but it did work, and it kept my papers relatively smudge-free! As for green ink--well, I could say I liked it because green was a West Rome color, but I've loved the color green my whole life. Years later, when I became a teacher, I would grade papers using green ink rather than red ink; students seemed to find that much less intimidating.)
The Floyd Juvenile Court Advisory Subcommittee held a public hearing regarding proposals to curtail the availability of obscene and pornographic material in the Rome area. The committee brought with them a selection of pornographic magazines and books that had been purchased in the Rome area, including (of course) Playboy Magazine. Plans called for an organized boycott and a push to prosecute those who sold Playboy and other adult material to people under the age of 18.
Remember the railroad overpass near the Marine Armory at the end of Shorter Avenue? Well, if Southern Railway had their way, you’d apparently still be looking at it every time you drove from West Rome to downtown! This week in 1966, plans were unveiled to remove the overpass in order to widen Shorter Avenue and remove the traffic bottleneck. However, Southern Railway wanted written guarantees from Rome and Floyd County that, if they decided later on that they wanted the bridge back, the city and county would fully fund construction of an all-new overpass at the same location. Naturally, the city and the county were not so keen on this, since it sounded to them like Southern Railway was looking for a way to upgrade the existing railroad overpass on someone else’s dime.
The school year hadn’t even started yet, but the West Rome Drumbeat staff was already on the job, meeting on Wednesday at Mrs. Higgins’ house on Robin Street for an organization and planning workshop in preparation for the new year. (Anyone who ever worked on the school newspaper with Mrs. Higgins will remember how much she loved the school and the newspaper, so it’s no surprise she’d give up a day of her own time to host a meeting at her house to work with her new staff.)
Piggly Wiggly had whole fryers for 29¢ a pound, Hydrox Cookies for 35¢ a package, and a five-pound bag of Colonial Sugar for 39¢. Kroger had chuck steak for 49¢ a pound, Spotlight coffee for 55¢ a pound, and Country Club ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon. Big Apple had pork chops for 79¢ a pound, Tater Tots for 19¢ a bag, and pears for 19¢ a pound. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, blueberries for 33¢ a pint, and White House powdered milk for $1.55 for a 20-quart package. (I remember powdered milk; Mom would buy it every now and then, but no matter how much extra powder we added to a gallon of water, it still tasted like the water that someone had used to rinse out a glass after drinking milk from the glass.) Couch’s had ground beef for 43¢ a pound, Kool-Aid for a nickel a pack, and white corn for 6¢ an ear.
The cinematic week began with Torn Curtain (with Paul Newman & Julie Andrews) at both the DeSoto Theater and the West Rome Drive-In, and Duel at Diablo (with James Garner & Sidney Poitier) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf (with Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton) to the DeSoto Theater, Namu the Killer Whale (with Robert Lansing, who was not playing the whale) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of 7th Dawn (with William Holden) and The World of Henry Orient (with Peter Sellers) at the West Rome Drive-In.
The Association took the number one slot this week in 1966 with “Cherish.” Other top ten hits included “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes (#2); “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan (#3); “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles (#4); “Bus Stop” by the Hollies (#5); “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” by the Temptations (#6); “Black is Black” by Los Bravos (#7); “96 Tears” by Question Mark & the Mysterians (#8); “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys (#9); and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops (#10).
Jefferson Airplane released their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, this eek in 1966. If the album sounds a bit different from the Jefferson Airplane you’re familiar with, there’s a reason: Signe Toly Anderson was the lead vocalist on the first album, and Grace Slick wouldn’t join the group until their second LP.