Friday, April 07, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/10/1967 to 4/16/1967

Rome’s obsession with UFOs continued to make the news this week in 1967. West Rome residents reported strange sightings in the sky shortly after midnight on Monday morning, April 10th, and again on Monday night. In both cases, the objects were described as disc-shaped and maneuvering strangely. A man who had stopped at Johnny Reb’s in West Rome fist reported seeing three strange disc-shaped objects moving above Shorter Avenue. A second man, who was in the US Weather Service of the US Air Force, had binoculars and was able to observe the objects more closely; he described the objects as “round, slightly orange in color, with a light above the main disc.” Another resident driving in West Rome saw something hovering about ten feet above the ground in a a field approximately 400 yards off the road. He said the object then flew rapidly upwards and headed south until it was out of sight. Still other residents near Burnett Ferry Road also reported seeing two orange-red discs that released a shower of sparks before disappearing. Shortly afterwards, another object appeared from a different area of the sky and began travelling towards Burnett Ferry Road. Fifteen residents in Garden Lakes also reported seeing the objects. Every report stressed the incredible speed with which the objects moved, as well as their ability to abruptly change direction. Two days later, the police reported that the UFOs were actually plastic bags elevated by hot air from burning candles—and they felt pretty sure of this, since just such a bag sent aloft by some kids burned almost nine acres near Mount Alto. However, those who observed the UFOs earlier in the week rejected this explanation,  insisting that the UFOs moved far too fast to be explained away as plastic dry cleaning bags inflated with hot air.

West Rome defeated Model and Trion, 88-55-27, in a three-way track meet held at West Rome High School on Monday afternoon. This was the Chieftains’ first track victory of the season.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose... While the track team was improving, the baseball team went off base this week in 1966. The Chiefs lost their first  game of the season to Darlington on Wednesday, April 12th. The Tigers were ahead 11-0 at the end of the fifth inning before the Chiefs began hitting the ball; the final score was 11-6. Things got even worse on Friday when West Rome fell to East Rome 4-1; if there’s any team that the Chiefs hated to lose to, it was their cross-town rivals...

A state survey of school buildings and facilities said that Rome’s school system was plagued with undersized elementary schools that were “too small to offer the level of instructions that boys and girls should receive in order to more adequately meet and solve the problems they will face in this ever-changing and complex society.” They recommended closing many neighborhood elementary schools, several of which served fewer than 200 students, and consolidate into larger elementary schools with 500 student populations. They also recommended adding classroom at several existing school that were overcrowded—and Elm Street Elementary was one such school.

The School Board also listened to parent concerns about school starting too early; in response, they adopted a 1967-1968 school year calendar that had students reporting for their first day of class on August 28th. The last day of school was slated for June 3rd, with a day off for Labor Day, two days off for Thanksgiving, nine school days off for Christmas, and three days off for Good Friday/Easter… and that was it for holidays! No Memorial Day, no week-long spring break—nothing else!

“The new phone books are here, the new phone books are here!” 1967 Rome directories were delivered this week in 1967; the cover featured a rendering of the new Ledbetter Highway Three-Level Interchange in East Rome (yes, a highway bridge was the cover feature of the phone book!). 32,000 directories were delivered in the Rome area, and they included almost 1200 new phone numbers. (And yes, hew phone books were such a big deal that the Rome News-Tribune devoted major story space to their release!)

Apparently Kentucky Fried Chicken was pushing anything but chicken this week in 1967: their specials includes a fried flounder dinner with french fries and a biscuit for 89¢, a fried shrimp dinner with 8 jumbo shrimp and biscuit for $1.19, and a quart of Brunswick stew for 79¢.

Piggly Wiggly had hams for 59¢ a pound, corn for 8¢ an ear, and Poss’s pork & beans for 20¢ a can.  Kroger had bananas for a dime a pound, pork chops for 39¢ a pound, and Kraft mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart. Big Apple had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, Stokely catsup for 19¢ a bottle, and lettuce for a dime a head. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Swift's chili for 39¢ a can, and strawberries for 29¢ a pint. Couch’s had pork chops for 43¢ a pound,Couch’s had stew beef for 30¢ a pound, Aristocrat ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and cantaloupes for 35¢ each.

The cinematic week began with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (with Robert Morse) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In and Georgy Girl (with James Mason & Lynn Redgrave) at the First Avenue. The midweek switchout brought In Like Flint (James Coburn’s spy-sequel to Our Man Flint) to the DeSoto and the West Rome Drive-In, while Georgy Girl hung around for another week at the First Avenue.

Daughter and dad did well this week in 1967: Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra had the number one song this week with “Somethin’ Stupid” (a catchy little tune, but a somewhat weird choice for father and daughter duets, don’t you think? After all, it includes such lyrics as “And if we go someplace to dance, I know that there’s a chance you won’t be leaving with me,” “And then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin’ stupid like ‘I love you,’” and “But then I think I’ll wait until the evening gets late and I’m alone with you.” Sort of a creepy for parent and child, isn't it?) Other top ten hits included “Happy Together” by the Turtles (#2); “This Is My Song” by Petula Clark (#3); “Bernadette” by the Four Tops (#4); “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” by the Monkees (#5); “Western Union” by the Five Americans (#6); “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James & the Shondells (#7); “Dedicated to the One I Love” by The Mamas & The Papas (#8); “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin (#9); and “Jimmy Mack” by Martha & the Vandellas (#10).

Peter Parker gave up his Spider-Man identity in the Stan Lee-John Romita tale “Spider-Man No More” in Amazing Spider-Man #50, a book that featured one of the most iconic covers of Romita’s career.

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