Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/22/1968 to 4/28/1968

Daylight saving time went into effect for the second year in a row on Sunday morning, April 28th, much to the dismay of most Romans. A local survey showed that 72% of Romans were opposed to daylight saving time; the survey also showed that 28% of those who were opposed also had no idea that daylight saving time had actually gone into effect!

Mike Johnson and Xavier Smith picked up three first places each in Monday’s track meet against Berry Academy, which was enough to secure West Rome’s 85-51 win. Johnson not only took first place in the 100-yard dash and the 220-yard dash, but he also took first in the shot put—and that wasn’t an event he normally participated in, but he was filling in for an absent teammate! Smith took first in the high jump, the high hurdles, and the low hurdles. Johnny Rimes took two first places, in the triple jump and the 440-yard dash. 

Two days later, the West Rome track team racked up another win in a three-way meet against Dalton and Cherokee. Mike Johnson and Johnny Rimes were the only double winners for the Chieftains; Johnson won in the 100-yard dash and the 220-yard dash; Rimes won in the broad jump and the triple jump. 

West Rome lost against crosstown rivals East Rome in a region baseball game on April 23rd in a 3-0 game. The team performed much better in Saturday’s region game against Wills, which the Chiefs won 4-1. Gerald Tucker pitched the winning game, giving West Rome a 5-4 record, with a  4-2 record in region play. 

Berry College hosted an Up With People concert on April 22nd. The concert, organized by a non-profit group called Moral Re-Armament, used popular music as a tool to stress positivism. “We believe in the four moral standards of love, purity, unselfishness, and honesty,” Larry Moudy, a member of the group, said. “We try to apply the four standards to our daily lives. We are trying to create a society that not only believes in these standards but actually put them to work.”

Russell Field airport officials were taken by surprise when the federal government approved a grant of $16,500 for improvements, rather than the $288,000 that the airport officials had requested. “We are very disappointed,” federal programs coordinator Richard L. McCullough said. “There is a pressing need for improvements at Russell Field. I think they only granted us what they thought was the most pressing need at the airport. This amount is only a drop in the bucket.” McCullough pointed out that the entire amount that had been requested was necessary to implement improvements that had previously been recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Big Apple had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, corn for 7¢ an ear, and Irvindale ice cream or sherbet for 49¢ a pound. A&P had pork loin for 59¢ a pound, Parkay margarine for 25¢ a pound, or iceberg lettuce for 19¢ a pound. Piggly Wiggly had beef roast for 39¢ a pound, cucumbers for a dime each, and strawberries for 39¢ a pint. Kroger had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, a 16-ounce jar of Peter Pan peanut butter for 49¢, and Morton frozen pot pies for 14¢ each. Couch’s had lamb roast for 49¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 33¢ each, and the ever-popular Couch’s custom-ground country sausage for 49¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with Walt Disney’s Blackbeard’s Ghost (starring Peter Ustinov) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman & Ann Bancroft) at the First Avenue, and Eight on the Lam (starring Bob Hope) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Stay Away Joe (starring Elvis Presley) to the DeSoto and Sergeant Ryker (starring Lee Marvin)  to the West Rome Drive-In, while The Graduate was retained at the First Avenue.

Bobby Goldsboro held on to the number one slot for another week with the sentimental ballad “Honey.” Other top ten songs included “Cry Like a Baby” by the Box Tops (#2); “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#3); “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles (#4); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “I Got the Feelin’” by James Brown and the Famous Flames (#6); “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (#7); “Dance to the Music” by Sly & the Family Stone (#8); “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell & the Drells (#9); and “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde” by Georgie Fame (#10). 


The Monkees released their fifth album, The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees, this week in 1968; while it made it to #3, it was the first Monkees album not to make it to the number one slot. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/14/1968 to 4/21/1968

The Board of Regents finally gave into local pressure to build a junior college in the Rome-Floyd County area, agreeing to let Rome and Floyd County voters make the final decision. Since local funds would be required to assist in construction, the voters would have to approve the $1.25 million expenditure. Rome saw the approval as a victory, since survey showed significant local support for the school. 

After several months of burglaries that involved using tools to break into the back door or the roof of a business, thieves took things to the next level on April 15th when they broke into the JAG store on Hwy 27 North by driving a truck through the side door of the business, causing considerable damage to the door and to the surrounding wall. The thieves made off with a significant quantity of clothing, which they apparently loaded into the truck before driving away.

The Chieftains garnered ten first place wins on Monday in a three-way track meet against Armuchee and Cedartown, leading to a 111-45-12 victory for West Rome. Roger Weaver won two first places as a sprinter, and also ran a leg on West Rome’s relay team. Xavier Smith was also a double winner, taking first in high jump and high hurdles. The Chiefs did less well in their Wednesday match against Lafayette, however, losing 69-67. Mike Johnson hurt has back in the hundred-yard dash and had to be scratched from the 220; had he been able to run, he was expected to pick up the win, which would have made the Chieftains victorious. 

West Rome’s baseball team had an inauspicious week, losing 5-0 to Calhoun. Billy Bray and Richard Wood were the only Chieftain players to get a hit in the game, with each getting a single.

The next evening, thieves cut off phone service to Summerville when they stole hundreds of feet of copper phone line near Taylors Ridge. The phone company estimated that the thieves made off without about $25 worth of copper, but caused about $10,000 worth of damage in doing so. 

Coosa Valley Book Shop, a favorite of mine since I first discovered their cache of Edgar Rice Burroughs books in 1965, completed the move from their old Tribune Street location to East Third this week in 1968. I loved the store because they were so much more than an average used bookstore; Mrs. Beal, the driving force behind the store, had an amazing array of 18th and 19th century hardcover volumes in stock as well as the usual array of more recent used paperbacks and a large assortment of used comics for half-price. The move more than doubled the store’s square footage, which meant that they were the largest bookstore in Rome. It also meant that, for a brief while, the square block on Broad Street between East Third and East Fourth was Rome’s bookstore haven, with Liberty Newsstand, Reader’s Den, and Coosa Valley Books all within a few hundred feet of one another.

Kroger had round steak for 89¢ a pound, strawberries for 33¢ a pint, and a five-pound bag of sugar for 35¢. A&P had grond beef for 45¢ a pound, Dinty Moore beef stew for 55¢ a can, and oranges for a dime each. Piggly Wiggly had picnic ham for 33¢ a pound, corn for 6¢ an ear, and Bama jelly for a quarter a jar. Big Apple had chicken breasts for 47¢ a pound, Luzianne coffee for 49¢ a pound, and carrots for a dime a bunch. Couch’s had lamb roast for 49¢ a pound, Nabisco saltines for 37¢ a box, and locally-sourced medium eggs for 33¢ a dozen. 

The Donut Shack expanded to three locations in Rome: on Shorter Avenue across from the Burger King, on Martha Berry Highway near the underpass, and on North Broad Street. (Owner Liilian Crane spent a few years working at Conn’s, home of the best donuts in Rome, prior to launching her own donut shops.)

The cinematic week began with Walt Disney’s Blackbeard’s Ghost (starring Peter Ustinov) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman & Ann Bancroft) at the First Avenue, and Texas Across the River (starring Dean Martin) at the West Rome Drive-In. Blackbeard’s Ghost and The Graduate hung around for another week, while the West Rome Drive-In brought in Five Million Years to Earth (starring James Donald & Andrew Kerr). 

Bobby Goldsboro took the number one slot this week in 1968 with “Honey.” Other top ten hits included “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#2); “Cry Like a Baby” by the Box Tops (#3); “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles (#4); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (#6); “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde” by Georgie Fame (#7); “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone (#8); “I Got the Feelin’” by James Brown & the Famous Flames (#9); and “Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)” by Manfred Mann (#10). 


The three-season run of I Spy, the show starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby as spies who used professional tennis as their cover, came to an end on April 15th. The show was well written and had a first-rate cast, but it never managed to appeal to the spy audience who loved James Bond films and The Man from UNCLE.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/8/1968 to 4/14/1968

West Rome students had a very short school week—one day long, in fact. (The week was less short for athletes, since both the baseball team and the track team had games/meets scheduled during the week--the idea of giving all students and coaches a holiday was apparently unheard of in the 1960s.) Students were out on Tuesday while teachers went to in-service training, and Easter holidays (they didn’t call them spring holidays back then!) started on Wednesday. Which leads me to wonder if it’s really worth having a one-day school week, since a lot of students undoubtedly failed to make it so that they could have a nine-day holiday…

The West Rome Honor Society presented senior Maria Perez with a $700 scholarship at the Honors Day program held on Monday, April 8th. Maria planned to use the money to help cover expenses at Berry College, where she planned to study after graduating from West Rome. The funds for the scholarship were raised by Honor Society members through bake sales, a dance, and sponsorships raised from Rome businesses.

The Rome City Board of Education budgeted $40,000 for summer Headstart programs, summer school scholarships, and summer vocational programs. Harold Brock was chosen to oversee the elementary school program and Mrs. J.N. Finley was chosen to head the vocational programs. 

A plane that took off from Russell Field on a flight to Charlotte never made it. As a result, the Eastern Aerospace Search and Rescue Center launched a four state search that included Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and part of Tennessee (just in case the plane got off course). Alas, the plane was found just north of Ellijay, where it failed to clear a ridge and crashed into the mountainside; three passengers and the pilot were killed in the crash. The Search and Rescue Center said that flights from Rome were particularly challenging because of the number of mountains along every major flight route to other cities.

The Chieftains won 11-6 over Wills in a region game on Tuesday, April 9th. The win was particularly important, since this was a region game against a team that was the 6-AA champion a year before. Danny Fricks hit a 330-foot grand slam homer in the seventh inning.

The week didn’t end quite as well for the baseball team, however, as the Chiefs lost to Chattooga 6-4 in another region 6-AA game. West Rome had a 2-0 lead going into the third inning, but a series of costly errors allowed Chattooga to pull ahead 3-2. Chattooga scored three more runs in the fourth inning and the Chiefs were never abe to close the gap.

West Rome didn’t fare as well in their track meet against South Cobb either, losing 72-64. The Chieftains posted seven of sixteen first-place finishes in the meet. 

Piggly Wiggly had pork roast for 79¢ a pound, eggs for 29¢ a dozen, and strawberries for 33¢ a pint. A&P had 4 pound Armour canned hams for $2.99, Eight O’Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound and Cool Whip for 29¢ a tub. Kroger had roasting hens for 39¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 39¢ each, and Sealtest ice cream for 79¢ a half-gallon. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of oranges for 59¢, and Angel Flake coconut for 39¢ a bag. Couch’s had hickory smoked hams for 49¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and red potatoes for 6¢ a pound. 

The cinematic week began with Don’t Just Stand There (starring Robert Wagner and Mary Tyler Moore) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In, and The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman and Ann Bancroft) at the First Avenue. The midweek switchout brought Walt Disney’s Blackbeard’s Ghost (starring Peter Ustinov) to the DeSoto and Did You Hear the One About the Travelling Saleslady? (starring Phyllis Diller) at the West Rome Drive-In, while The Graduate was held back another week at the First Avenue.


Bobby Goldsboro took the number one slot this week in 1968 with the syrupy and somewhat maudlin “Honey.” Other top ten hits included “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#2); “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (#3); “Cry Like a Baby” by the Box Tops (#4); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles (#6); “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” by Georgie Fame (#7); “La - La Means I Love You” by the Delfonics (#8); “Valleri” by the Monkees (#9); and “Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)” by Manfred Mann (#10). 

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). 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/25/1968 to 3/31/1968

The Rome City School System managed to eke out a “standard” rating from the State Board of Education. However, Most of Rome’s 19 schools actually earned an “unclassified” rating, which means that the visiting committees were unable to make sufficient conclusions about those school to determine if they were truly standard or not. The primary problems were inadequate facilities (too few classrooms, inadequate equipment, etc). West Rome High and West End Elementary both earned standard ratings; West Rome Junior High and Elm Street Elementary were both rated as unclassified. The only other school that earned a standard rating was Anna K. Davie Elementary; every other school in the Rome system, including East Rome High School, was unclassified. The state board had the authority to withhold funds from the unclassified schools if they did not improve by the next evaluation.

Janice Crider, Dianna Hose, and Jenny Fowler won third place in the girls vocal trio at the Region 6AA literary meet held at Berry College. 

Rome’s burglars remained busy: in the early hours of Monday morning, March 25th, burglars broke into the Johnson School gymnasium, where locker rooms were ransacked; Culp’s Upholstery Shop in Shorter Avenue, where tools and some cash were taken; and B&K Block Company, where $75 in cash and some tools were taken.

WROM won awards for excellence in editorial commentary and for sports coverage at the 23rd Annual Georgia Press Broadcasters Association awards ceremony held in Atlanta on March 25th. 

Home Federal Savings and Loan was paying 5.25% interest on 36-month certificates of deposit this week in 1968—an interest rate unheard of today, and a rate that was .25% higher than most other banks in the area. 

Sears kicked off its once-a-year album sale this week in 1966, with all single albums on sale for $2.44 each, and singles on sale for 77¢ each. Of course, $2.44 sounds incredibly cheap, but once you adjust for inflation, that’s the equivalent of $17.46 in today’s dollars (that’s a $7.15 multiplier, for those who like to do your own math). 

Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Starkist tuna for 30¢ a can, and cantaloupes for 50¢ each. Piggly Wiggly had Hydrox cookies (the real chocolate sandwich cookie, which predated Oreos) for 31¢ a package, whole fryers for 27¢ a pound, and carrots for a dime a bunch. A&P had rib steaks for 89¢ a pound, strawberries for 33¢ a pint, and store-baked peach pies for 33¢ each. Big Apple had sliced liver for 19¢ a pound, Showboat pork & beans for 15¢ a can, and a large box of Fab for 25¢. Couch’s had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, Blue Plate barbecue sauce for 37¢ a bottle, and turnip greens for 15¢ a pound. 

The cinematic week began with Wait Until Dark (starring Audrey Hepburn) at the DeSoto Theatre, Sol Madrid (starring David McCallum) at the First Avenue, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (starring Clint Eastwood) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Will Penny (starring Charlton Heston) to the DeSoto, To Sir With Love (starring Sidney Poitier) to the First Avenue, and Reflections in a Golden Eye (starring Elizabeth Taylor) to the West Rome Drive-In.

Otis Redding posthumous hit “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” held on to the number one slot for another week. Other top ten hits included “Love Is Blue (L’Amour est Bleu)” by Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra (#2); “Valleri” by the Monkees (#3); “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Co. (#4); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “La-La Means I Love You” by the Delfonics (#6); “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#7); “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde” by Georgia Fame (#8); “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles (#9); and “(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls” by Dionne Warwick (#10). 

“Hey Hey We’ve Been Cancelled.” The final episode of The Monkees aired this week in 1968, although the group would continue to record several more albums.


The first issue of Beware the Creeper, a DC series produced by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko (with the help of scripter Dennis O’Neil), was released this week in 1968. Ditko had played a pivotal role in launching the Marvel Age of Comics; while he had continued to work for Charlton Comics during much of the time he was working at Marvel, this would mark his first Silver Age work for DC. Alas, the series would prove to be less successful than DC hoped, leading to its cancellation after only six issues.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/18/1968 to 3/24/1968

Rome got a dusting of snow on Friday night, March 22nd and early Saturday morning, March 23rd, with accumulations of up to a half an inch reported. Of course, snow on the weekend meant that no one got any extra time off from school... but at least it still looked good!

Rome’s spate of burglaries continued with two Monday morning break-ins: one at Rome Seed and Feed, where burglars broke in the back door and opened the safe but apparently took nothing at all; and the other at Floyd County Lanes, where burglars also broke in the back door and made off with $200 from a cashbox. On Tuesday night, burglars broke into the Southern Railway Depot, but the only thing they could find to steal were three rolls of postage stamps.

Rome and Floyd County, determined to establish a uniform closing hour for all beer establishments in Floyd County, changed the rules to allow beer sales until 1:30 am on weekdays. Previously, the rules had specified a 12:30 am closing time for the county, while the city already had a 1:30 am closing time. This change put the city and the county on the same page as far as beer sales were concerned. Of course, high school students had no interest in such things...

Piggly Wiggly had smoked ham for 49¢ a pound, corn for 6¢ an ear, and Oscar Mayer bologna for 39¢ a pound. Big Apple had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, grapefruit for a dime each, and  Irvindale ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. A&P had fresh whole fryers for 27¢ a pound, Florida oranges for 15¢ a pound, and StarKist tuna for 27¢ a can.  Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, large eggs for 38¢ a dozen, and Maxwell House coffee for 49¢ a pound. Couch’s had chicken breast for 49¢ a pound, Van Camp’s chili for 33¢ a can, and bananas for a dime a pound.

The cinematic week began with Wait Until Dark (starring Audrey Hepburn) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Jokers (starring Michael Crawford) at the First Avenue, and The Ambushers (starring Dean Martin) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Sol Madrid (starring David McCallum) to the First Avenue and The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly (starring Clint Eastwood) at the West Rome Drive-In, while the DeSoto stayed in the Dark (Wait Until Dark, that is) for another week. 

Otis Redding took the number one slot this week in 1968 with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Other top ten hits included “Love Is Blue (L’Amour Est Bleu)” by Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra (#2); “(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls” by Dionne Warwick (#3); “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Co. (#4); “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by The First Edition with Kenny Rogers (#5); “La-La Means I Love You” by the Delfonics (#6); “Valleri” by the Monkees (#7); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#8); “I Thank You” by Sam & Dave (#2); and “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde”by Georgia Fame (#10). (And that's a surprisingly high number of songs with parenthetical segments in their titles, isn't it?...)


The Electric Flag released their first album, A Long Time Comin’, this week in 1968. In spite of the album’s overwhelmingly positive critical reception, sales were weaker than band frontman Mike Bloomfield expected; he was particularly disappointed that the hastily prepared Boomfield-Kooper-Stills Super Session album (which also featured Bloomfield), which was recorded in less than two days, actually charted higher than the Electric Flag album. Joni Mitchell also released her first album, Song to a Seagull (also known as Joni Mitchell) this week in 1968; produced by her good friend David Crosby; while the album generated no hit songs, it did establish Mitchell as a rising star in the folk rock movement.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/11/1968 to 3/17/1968

West Rome’s girls’ basketball team made it to the Georgia Class AA playoffs, in spite of a challenging season. The girls only managed to win 10 of 22 games, but there were enough region wins to get them into the Region 6-AA playoffs, which they won, and that took them to the Georgia AA meet. Crosstown rivals East Rome also made it to the Class AA meet, where they were favored over West Rome. Alas, the championship was not destined to be theirs, as they did not advance beyond the first round.

West Rome principal Dick McPhee was elected president of the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals at the Georgia Education Association Convention held on Friday, March 15th. 

Girl Scouts began their annual cookie sales on March 15th, 1968; cookie offerings included Chocolate Mint Wafer (which we now know as the Thin Mint), Peanut Butter Sandwich, Butter Shortie, and assorted sandwich cookies. Cookies sold for 50¢ a box, and the sales period lasted until March 31st. 

The King’s Inn Restaurant on Shorter Avenue suffered considerable damage after a fire swept through the building in the early morning hours of March 11th—and before the day was out, Rome realtor (and owner of the building) Dwyatt Dempsey was under arrest for setting the fire. Three five-gallon gasoline cans were found in his car, and officers saw him leaving the building as the fire began. Police said that Dempsey would not tell them why he had started the fire, but they suspected it may have been insurance related.

Daniel Thomas King, the gunman responsible for the March 9th armed robbery at the Thrift Store on Broad Street, was apprehended in Virginia on March 11th. King’s two female accomplices, who were arrested in Rome within hours of the robbery, offered police information about his travel plans that led to his arrest. 

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, Maxwell House coffee for 49¢ a pound, and eggs for 39¢ a dozen. A&P had picnic hams for 39¢ a pound, apples fo a quarter a pound, and a 16 ounce jar of Pickle Patch sliced hamburger dills for 31¢. Big Apple had chicken breast for 47¢ a pound, Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a pound, and Welch’s grape jelly for 39¢ a jar. Kroger had pork roast for 39¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of Dixie Crystal sugar for 37¢, and carrots for 15¢ a bunch. Couch’s had 3 pounds of stew beef for 89¢, cabbage for a nickel a pound, and Van Camp’s pork & beans for 17¢ a can. 

The cinematic week began with Walt Disney’s Happiest Milliionaire (starring Fred MacMurray) at the DeSoto Theatre, High Wild & Free (starring Gordon Eastman) at the First Avenue, and Hell’s Chosen Few (starring Jody Daniels) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Wait Until Dark (starring Audrey Hepburn) to the DeSoto, Reflection in a Golden Eye (starring Elizabeth Taylor) to the First Avenue, and The Ambushers (starring Dean Martin) at the West Rome Drive-In.


Two beloved television series ended their runs this week in 1968: The Lucy Show (Lucille Ball's second comedy series) aired its last episode on March 11th and Batman’s last episode followed three days later.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/4/1968 to 3/10/1968

Chieftains Tony Grass and Meg Grant became city commissioners for a day as  part of Rome-Floyd County Civic Youth Day (sponsored by the Rome-Floyd County Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y), where students shadows and—for a brief time—replaced various city and county officials. 

West Rome’s first week of spring football practice under new coach Nick Hyder took place this week in 1968. Hyder said that he had 15 lettermen returning to the 1968-1969 Chieftains team. Roger Weaver, Mike Johnson, and David Watkins were selected by team members to serve as tri-captains for the upcoming season.

The Thrift Store on Broad Street was robbed at gunpoint on Saturday, March 9th, right in the middle of the shopping day. The gun-wielding robber, Daniel T. King of Dublin, Virginia, was on the loose, but his two accomplices (Carole Maynard Akers, 27, and her sister-in-law Marilyn Rigney Akers, 21, also from Dublin) were caught less than two hours after the robbery and provided police with the identity of the robber.

Rome City Schools announced that they would keep their “school freedom of choice” plan for the next school year. The plan, which was first implemented int he 1968-1969 school year, allowed every student to choose the school that he or she would like to attend; no choices would be denied for reasons other than overcrowding. Students’ families remained responsible for transportation to the chosen school if it wasn’t the school in whose geographic district the student resided.

A&P made their big move to Gala Shopping Center this week in 1968. some of the grand re-opening specials included chuck steak for 49¢ a pound, Sealtest ice milk for 29¢ a half-gallon, and Campbell’s tomato soup for 15¢ a can. Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ a can, and lettuce for 16¢ a head. Kroger had five pounds of sugar for 39¢, whole smoked hams for 49¢ a pound, and Bama apple jelly for 25¢ a jar.. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 89¢ pound,   pears for 15¢ a pound, and Land o’ Lakes butter for 69¢ a pound. Couch’s had Hormel bacon for 69¢ a pound, Bama jelly for a quarter a jar (and you could use the jar for a drinking glass once all the jelly was gone), and Maxwell House coffee for 69¢ a pound. 

The cinematic week began with The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly (starring Clint Eastwood) at the DeSoto Theatre, Bonnie & Clyde (starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty) at the First Avenue, and Up the Down Staircase (starring Sandy Dennis) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Walt Disney’s Happiest Millionaire (starring Fred MacMurray) to the DeSoto Theatre; High, Wild, & Free (starring Gordom Freeman) to the First Avenue; and Hell’s Chosen Few (starring Jody Daniels) teo the West Rome Drive-In.  

Once again, Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra took the number one slot with “Love Is Blue (L’amour Est Bleu).” Other top ten hits included “Theme From) Valley of the Dolls” by Dionne Warwick (#2); “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (#3); “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company (#4); “I Wish It Would Rain” by the Temptations (#5); “Just Dropped In (To See Waht Condition My Condition Was In” by the First Edition (#6); “Spooky” by the Classics IV (#7); “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (#8); “La - La - Means I Love  You” by the Delfonics (#9); and “Everything That Touches You” by the Association (#10). 


The final episode of Lost in Space aired on Wednesday, March 6th; after three years, the Robinsons and Dr Smith were destined to remain lost in space forever, apparently!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/26/1968 to 3/3/1968

Rome City Schools failed its initial state accreditation inspection—a relative rarity for a system the size of Rome. The problem, according to the inspectors, was with the facilities (elementary schools in particular), which were undersized, poorly maintained, and in substandard condition. The visiting committee that handled the inspection also found that most schools had inadequate counseling staff, and that more than half the schools had inadequate physical education programs and facilities. Thankfully, West Rome was not named in either of those areas, although our competitors on the east side of town were. “we knew we had a few minor weaknesses we knew we could correct,” superintendent MS McDonald said. “The study did not point out any major weaknesses except in space and sites. These must be corrected by the community by providing funds for the replacement of obsolete, overcrowded facilities and by providing for projected building plans. If Rome really wants to have top quality schools, the the must community must make a serious effort to reorganize school facilities, particularly on the elementary level.” (I was lucky enough to spend the first three years of elementary school at Garden Lakes Elementary, a relatively new and well-maintained county school. I spent the fourth grade at Elm Street, and can attest that everything the visiting committee said was true: it was too small, poorly maintained, and shoehorned into an absurdly small site. My fifth grade year was spent at the building that we later knew as West Rome Junior High, and my sixth grade year was at West End Elemetary—a new, more spacious, and well maintained site. So I know first-hand the discrepancies and inadequacies the committee criticized, as did many of us who grew up in West Rome in the 1960s.)

David Baxter Joy was named West Rome High School’s STAR Student; he selected Mrs. Elliott Evans as his STAR teacher. 

The Atlanta Chiefs came to Barron Stadium on Friday, March 2nd, in an effort to build interest in soccer, which got very little respect from US sports fans in the 1970s. Tickets were available for $2 each, with all proceeds going to the Rome Cerebral Palsy School.

Rome experienced a surprise five inch snowfall on Wednesday night, February 28th, into the morning hours of Thursday, February 29th. Schools were closed, as were most businesses, although the State Patrol said that all major roads were passable by mid-day. Power problems were reported all over the Rome area, but most power outages were restored within two hours. The Redmond Road-Shorter Avenue-Alabama Road intersection (right in front of West Rome) was a particular problem spot, with three snow-related accidents reported during the day. 75 telephone poles were brought down by snow and ice, knocking 750 lines out of commission for most of the day Thursday and part of Friday.  The snow hung around for two days, with schools closed both Thursday and Friday as a result. 

Rome and Floyd County reached an agreement to maintain a “no man’s land” road in West Rome. North Division Street, between the underpass and Redmond Road, was the subject of a dispute, since one side of the road was in the city limits and the other side was in the county. As a result, neither was willing to spend any money repairing potholes or repaving the road, making it one of the worst paved stretches of road in the area. After years of arguing, the city and the county agreed to split the cost of maintenance—a decision that was applauded by all who had to travel that stretch of road.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin tip roast for 99¢ a pound, sauerkraut for 15¢ a can, and Lady Alice ice milk for a record low price of 29¢ a half-gallon. Kroger had fresh whole fryers for 29¢ a pound, Starkist tuna for 30¢ a can, and Libby fruit cocktail for 23¢ a can. Big Apple had Butterball turkeys for 35¢ a pound, pizza rolls for 59¢ a box, and Pillsbury canned biscuits for a nickel a can. A&P had pork roast for 69¢ a pound, tomatoes for 29¢ a pound, and Duncan Hines cake mix for a quarter a box. Couch’s had leg o’ lamb for 89¢ a pound, Van Camp’s chili for 33¢ a can, and bananas for a dime a pound. 

The cinematic week began with The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (starring Clint Eastwood) at the DeSoto Theatre, Bonnie & Clyde (starring Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Born Losers (starring Tom Laughlin as the half-Indian Green Beret Vietnam vet Billy Jack) and the marijuana shocksploitation film Mary Jane (starring Fabian) at the West Rome Drive-In. Both The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly  and Bonnie & Clyde hung around for the last half of the week, while the West Rome Drive-in brought in The Biggest Bundle of Them All (starring Raquel Welch and Robert Wagner).

Paul Mauriat’s Orchestra held on to the number one slot for a second week with “Love Is Blue (L’Amous Est Bleu).” Other top ten hits included “(Theme from) The Valley of the Dolls” by Dionne Warwick (#2); “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (#3); “I Wish It Would Rain” by the Temptations (#4); “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Co. (#5); “ Spooky” by the Classics IV (#6); “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by the First Edition--the first top ten hit for Kenny Rogers, who was the lead vocalist for the First Edition (#7); “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (#8); “Bottle of Wine” by the Fireballs (#9); and “Everything That Touches You” by the Association (#10). 


The musical news this week in 1968 was mixed. Frankie Lymon, lead singer of the doo-wop group Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, died from a heroine overdose on February 27th, while Johnny Cash and June Carter tied the knot in Franklin, Kentucky on March 1st. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/19/1968 to 2/25/1968

Rome’s burglars were back in action in the early morning hours of February 19th, breaking into four businesses, including Floyd County Lanes on North Elm Street, Mobley Furniture Store, North Rome Methodist Church, and Gresham Auto Parts. In every case, burglars broke into vending machines and ransacked offices looking for cash. The total amount of cash stolen exceeded $350; damage to the various locations pushed losses above the $2000 mark.

Two days later, a mysterious fire caused extensive damage to the Coosa Valley Furniture Company at 632 Shorter Avenue. Investigators found three milk bottles filled with a flammable liquid at the place where the fire began, leading them to conclude that the fire was arson. Police and fire authorities said that they had no immediate suspects, but investigations would continue. 

West Rome’s girls basketball team defeated Cedartown 41-37 in the first game of the region 6-AA tournament on Tuesday night, but the Chieftains' joy was short-lived, as the the boys lost their game 54-39 against East Rome on the same night, knocking them out of the single-elimination tournament.  Debbie Poarch was the high scorer for the girls, while Mike Day was the high scorer for the boys with 12 pints. 

A surprise cold snap brought lows of 14 degrees to Rome on Thursday morning, with Thursday afternoon highs never making it above freezing. Thankfully, there was no snow in Rome to accompany tdhe very cold weather, but areas in Central Georgia weren’t so lucky. Rome got its blast of frozen precipitation two days later as the front moved back north, bringing a mixture of sleet and snow Friday night and Saturday morning. Lows fell into the 20s over the weekend, with highs barely topping the freezing mark. 

The cinematic week began with Cool Hand Luke (starring Paul Newman) at the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In and Billion Dollar Brain (starring Michael Caine) at the First Avenue Theatre. The midweek switchout brought The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (starring Clint Eastwood) to the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In and Bonnie & Clyde (starring Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway) to the First Avenue. 

Piggly Wiggly had chicken breasts for 49¢ a pound, ten-pound bags of potatoes for 39¢, and three pounds of Swift’s shortening for 64¢. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 87¢ a pound, Campbell’s tomato soup for 13£ a can, and 2 pounds of Kraft’s Velveeta cheese for 95¢. A&P had shank portion hams for 29¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound, and Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ a can. Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Kroger white bread for 18¢ a loaf, and bananas for a dime a pound. Couch’s had T-bone steak for $1.08 a pound, Morton’s pot pies for 18¢ each, and large brown eggs for 39¢ a dozen. 

“Love Is Blue (L’Amous Est Bleu) by Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra took the number one position this week in 1968. Other top ten hits included “(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls” by Dionne Warwick (#2); “Spooky” by the Classics IV (#3); “I Wish It Would Rain” by the Temptations (#4); “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (#5); “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company (#6); “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers (#7); “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (#8); “Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by the Lettermen (#9); and “Nobody But Me” by the Human Beinz (#10). 

Fleetwood Mac released their first album this week in 1966, but it was a blues-based album very different from the 1970s vocal-driven sound that most associate with the group. The week also saw the release fo The Beat Goes On by Vanilla Fudge, the group’s most ambitious album; and the Mason Williams Phonograph Record, which featured the mega-hit song “Classical Gas.”


Fred Rogers put on his red sweater on NET Television (the precursor to PBS) for the first time on February 19th for the premiere of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood