Friday, March 30, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/1/1968 to 4/7/1968

Romans, like the rest of the world, were shocked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 3rd. Local and state leaders pleaded for restraint and peace in the aftermath of the assassination. Even Calvin Craig, the grand dragon of the United Klans of America, condemned the assassination, calling “the worst thing that could have happened to the nation,” adding “I hope that the black citizens and the white citizens of the United States will retain the peace and homrony of their community and this nation"—a surprising moment of tolerance and reason from a group not known for either. Rome police indicated that, while there were a few public gatherings, all of them were solemn and peaceful. Civic and religious leaders in the community deserved a lot of credit for the peaceful response to the assassination.

West Rome had to deal with another rush-hour traffic jam (with an emphasis on jam) when a tractor trailer rig ignored the clearance signs at the Short Avenue underpass and tried to force his way through. He explained that he had made it through as he was heading into West Rome earlier that day—when he had a full load of freight in his trailer), so he figured he could make it through when he was heading back to Atlanta in the afternoon. However, he forgot about the fact that his unloaded trailer would ride a few inches higher—and ended up stuck for an hour or so until the authorities could let the air out of his tires so that he could pass through.

The Chieftains track team racked up 82 points in a three-way track meet on Wednesday, April 3rd, beating both Calhoun (with 62 points) and Pepperell (with 25 points). Xavier Smith set a school high jump  record with 6 foot 1 inch jump, and Johnny Rimes set a triple jump school record with 42 feet 8 inches. 

Former Chieftain Janet Amspoker was the news this week when she made the Dean’s LIst at Georgia Southern College during her freshman year. 

Two Rome men were held for the theft of a couple of hundred pounds of frozen meat from Rome Provision Company. The two men entered the business through a side door and began loading up their car; the police apprehended them on site before they could leave (and no, they did not have a stake out on the business) ; no information as to whether they had a beef with the owner of the business or not, 

Not to be outdone by Sears’ record sale the week prior, Big K announced the biggest album sale in the store’s history, with all single albums on sale for $1.97 each. Even better, the sale went on for the entire month of April. 

Piggly Wiggly had round steak for 79¢ a pound, lemons for a nickel each, and  JFG coffee for 69¢ a pound. Big Apple had ground beef for 39¢ a pound,Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ a can, and strawberries for a quarter a pint. A&P had baking hens for 35¢ a pound, cabbage for 7¢ a pound, and Ann Page blueberry pancake syrup for 39¢ a bottle. Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, canned biscuits for 6¢ a can, and Ovaltine for 69¢ a jar. Couch’s had pork steak for 59¢ a pound, Borden’s pimento cheese for 39¢ a pound, and American Beauty tomato soup for a dime a can. 

The cinematic week began with Will Penny (starring Charlton Heston) at the DeSoto Theatre, To Sir With Love (starring Sidney Poitier) at the First Avenue, and Arabesque (starring Gregory Peck & Sophia Loren) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Don’t Just Stand There (starring Robert Wagner & Mary Tyler Moore) to the DeSoto, The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman & Ann Bancroft) to the First Avenue, and Wait Until Dark (starring Audrey Hepburn) at the West Rome Drive-In. 

Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” held on at number one for another week. The other top hits included “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#2); “Valleri” by the Monkees (#3); “La-La Means I Love You” by the Delfonics (#4); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “Cry Like a Baby” by the Box Tops (#6); “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles (#7); “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde” by Georgie Fame (#8); “Love Is Blue (L’Amour Est Bleu)” by Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra (#9); and “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro (#10). 

Simon & Garfunkel’s album Bookends was released this week in 1968. The album would go on to generate five singles: “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” “At the Zoo,” “Fakin’ It,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “America.”

The Andy Griffith Show aired its final episode this week in 1968; Grififth wanted to go out while the show was ontop, and he did—the final season was the number one-rated show for the 1967-1968 season. While The Andy Griffith Show ended, Mayberry continued for a while longer in Mayberry RFD, the Ken Berry series that featured many members of the Andy Griffith Show’s supporting cast. Andy would return in the fall of 1968 for the first few episodes of Mayberry RFD, which kicked off its run with the marriage of Andy and Helen--but shortly after the wedding, Andy and Helen moved to Raleigh, which offered a discreet way for Andy Grififth to say goodbye to Mayberry (although he would return a couple of decades later for a reunion special). 

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