Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/29/1967 to 6/4/1967

This was the final week of the 1966-1967 school year—and it was a full week for most students, since Rome City Schools didn’t observe Memorial Day as a holiday in the 1960s. The only exception were seniors, who finished up their final exams on Wednesday, May 31st, so that teachers could get exams graded and report cards finished in preparation for graduation. Seniors prepared for the baccalaureate service, which was held in the West Rome Gym, while the graduation ceremonies moved to the City Auditorium to provide extra room for attendees. For those students who needed an extra course or two, summer school was slated to begin on June 12th, which meant that those unlucky students had a one-week “summer vacation."

Now here’s a custom that should have continued: the Rome and Floyd County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Newcomers to Rome and Floyd County Rooster Boosters Breakfast at 7:45 on May 30th at the Aloha Restaurant. National City Bank hosted the breakfast, which was open to all newcomers to the area—parents and children as well—and absolutely free of charge. The breakfast consisted of country ham, red-eye gravy, eggs, grits, coffee, biscuits, water, and milk for kids. Cap Hicks and Milton S. McDonald spoke at the event, and various businesses had representatives on hand to introduce themselves to folks who were new to Rome.

Heavy thunderstorms came to Rome on Monday evening, May 29th, dumping hail on West Rome. The other side of town got it a lot worse, though: two homes in Lindale burned to the ground after begin struck by lightning, and Klopman Mills sustained lightning damage as well.

Floyd County Tax Commissioner Sarah Keown announced that 35,050 vehicle tags were issued in Floyd County (back in the 1960s, all car tags and taxes had to be paid by May 1st, rather than being spread out through the year), bringing in $528,674 in tax revenues and tag fees. 

Mrs. Ann Spears took leading academic honors as she graduated summa cum laude from Berry College on Saturday, June 3rd. So what does graduating from Berry College have to do with West Rome High School? Well, Mrs. Spears went on to become an outstanding English teacher at West Rome after her graduation before taking an administrative position in the Rome City Schools office. (Many of us were lucky enough to have class from Mrs. Spears during her Chieftain years, and I know that her skills as a teacher factored into my decision to teach English once I graduated from Berry.)

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, eggs for 29¢ a dozen, and Coca-Cola/Tab/Sprite for 99¢ a case plus deposit. Big Apple had baking hens for a quarter a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and Bailey’s Supreme coffee for 58¢ a pound. A&P had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 33¢ each, and German chocolate cakes for 65¢ each. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Chicken of the Sea tuna for a quarter a can, and strawberries for 32¢ a pint. Couch’s had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Nabisco vanilla wafers for 39¢ a box, and tomatoes for 19¢ a pound. 

The cinematic week began with For A Few Dollars More (starring Clint Eastwood) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, and Casino Royale (starring Peter Sellers & David Niven) at the First Avenue Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Eight on the Lam (starring Bob Hope & Phyllis Diller) to the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, and A Man for All Seasons (with Paul Scofield) at the First Avenue, 

Everyone respected Aretha Franklin after her song “Respect” took the number one slot this week in 1967. Other top ten hits included “Groovin’” by the Young  Rascals (#2); “I Got Rhythm” by the Happenings (#3); “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)” by Englebert Humperdinck (#4); “Creeque Alley” by The Mamas & The Papas (#5); “Him Or Me—What’s It Gonna Be?” by Paul Revere & The Raiders (#6); “The Happening” by the Supremes (#7); “Sweet Soul Music” by Arthur Conley (#8); “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane (#9); and “All I Need” by the Temptations (#10). 

David Bowie released his self-titled first album this week in 1967, but it  was all but overlooked in the musical supernova that was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Considered by many to be The Beatles’ finest album (although I’d bestow that honor on Abbey Road), it changed rock music—and the Beatles—suddenly, the studio was an instrument in itself as rock took on more complexity and more sophistication.  (I have to confess that I was one of those who didn't "get it" the first time I heard the album; it was so different from anything the Beatles had done before that it struck me as pretentious and a bit self-indulgent. I grew to love the album, but it was not an instant hit for me--I guess my 13-year-old tastes weren't quite ready for it...)

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