Friday, May 04, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/6/1968 to 5/12/1968

The May term Floyd County grand jury issued a strong criticism of the inequitable enforcement of liquor sales laws in the area. The grand jury said that not only was there not a uniform enforcement of bootleg liquor sales, but that city and county officials often failed to enforce laws regarding sales of liquor by private clubs within the county. “By failing to enforce the law properly, we are contributing to a breakdown of law and order,” the grand jury wrote.  

Judge Jerry Minge, who was criticized for conflict of interest during the Watson Street residents’ noise and safety complaints in 1967, announced that he did not plan to run fora judgeship again in the next election. (My guess is that no one living on Watson Street or in the immediate surrounding area was saddened by this news.)

Rome real estate agent Dwyatt Dempsey was indicted for arson in relation to a fire at the King’s Inn Restaurant on Shorter Avenue on March 11th. Dempsey was arrested at the scene with three empty five-gallon gasoline cans in his car; his shoes and pants reeked of gasoline, and there was evidence that gasoline had been set afire at multiple locations in the store. 

Former Roman Norma Brannon was chosen as Mrs. Georgia on Friday night; the runner-up, Mrs. James E. Duffy, was a current Roman who represented the city in the competition. (I was particularly pleased with the news, since Norma Brannon was my mother’s sister and my aunt. She was a gracious, charming, and kind woman who was a vital part of my youth, and I couldn’t have imagined a woman more deserving of the honor--other than my own Mom, of course!)

Charles Burnes of West Rome was charged with assault with intent to commit murder for stabbing a man and then engaging in a shootout with him at a used car lot in North Rome. The shootout involved two handguns and a shotgun; while more than a dozen shots were fired, only a single pellet from the shotgun actually hit either man. The victim was not charged, since he only fired in self-defense when fired upon.

The Elm Street PTA presented a musical program entitled “Elm Street School On the Go” on Thursday, May 9th at 7:30 pm at the West Rome High School auditorium. The program featured performances by both students and faculty members.

West Rome’s baseball team trounced Chattooga 13-4 on Monday, May 6th. Charles Williams was the winning pitcher for the region game that saw the Chieftains take the lead in the first inning and never gave up that lead for the remainder of the game.

The West Rome track team defeated Lafayette and Dalton 7i1-57-42 in a three-way track meet on Tuesday, May 8th. Johnny Rimes took first place in the triple jump, and the relay team won their race, clinching the victory.

Alas, West Rome’s track team was not able to pull off a victory in the season’s final meet, losing to East Rome 168-162--and that gave the Gladiators a lock on the region 6-AA championship.

West Rome French teacher Mrs. JV Cobb, announced plans to take a group of students--including Chieftains Beverly Hall and Jeannie Thompson--to France for the summer to spend five weeks in France’s chateau country, studying at the Centre D’Etudes Francaises ‘Ambroise. The school offered intensive study programs for select upper-level French students, with all classes conducted entirely in French. 

Southern Bell began promoting direct-dial long distance with daily advertising this week in 1968. The ads stressed that you could make your own long distance calls by dialing 1, the area code, and the phone number, thereby saving up to 40% over person-to-person long-distance calls. With direct-dial station-to-station calls, Romans could phone Atlanta during the day for only 45¢ a minute and only 25¢ a minute after 8:00 pm. (Yes, that equals more than $3 a minute for daytime rates and almost $2 a minute for evening rates in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation.)

Burglars were back in action in Rome this week in 1968. Monday night, burglars broke into Cline’s Service Station on North Broad Street and raided the vending machines, taking an undetermined amount of cash. The same night, a wel pump was stolen from a residence on Huffacre Road and a rifle was stolen from a house on the Rockmart Highway. Thursday night, burglars broke into East Rome High School and ransacked the vending machines, making off with a whopping $12.00.

Piggly Wiggly had round steak for 99¢ a pound, strawberries for 49¢ a quart, and Morton’s salt for 9¢ a box. Kroger had baking hens for 33¢ a pound, Kroger bread for 18¢ a loaf, and bananas for 13¢ a pound. Big Apple had Oscar Mayer bacon for 67¢ a pound, tomatoes for 15¢ a pound, and Chase and Sanborn coffee for 55¢ a pound. A&P had corned beef for 65¢ a pound, iceberg lettuce for 19¢ a head, and Hydrox cookies for 39¢ a pack. Couch’s had Cudahy Bar-S bologna for 29¢ a half-pound, Aristocrat ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and large eggs for 35¢ a dozen. 

The cinematic week began with The Secret War of Harry Frigg (starring Paul Newman) at the DeSoto Theatre, Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book at the First Avenue, and Psychout (starring Susan Strasberg) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought The Scalphunters (starring Burt Lancaster) at the DeSoto, In the Heat of the Night (starring Sidney Poitier & Rod Steiger) at the First Avenue, and Kiss Me, Stupid (starring Dean Martin & Kim Novak) at the West Rome Drive-In. 

Bobby Goldsboro’s maudlin “Honey” held on to number one this week in 1968. Other top ten songs included “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell & the Drells (#2); “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#3); “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” by Hugo Montenegro, His Orchestra, and Chorus (#4); “Cry Like a Baby” by the Box Tops (#5); “A Beautiful Morning” by the Rascals (#6); “Cowboys to Girls” by the Intruders (#7); “The Unicorn” by the Irish Rovers (#8); “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel (#9); and “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles (#10). 

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