Virginia Avenue (Warwick Boulevard)
and Essex Street
Newport News, VA 23607
07/10/06 07/10/06



1937 Friday, November 14, 2003

Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/22/03
Thanks, Dave!

Images by Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/14/03
Thanks, Dave!

I remember the Armory most clearly as the place where we as elementary school students
were taken to receive our polio inoculations when the Salk vaccine was first developed (after 04/12/55). 
We were bused in from everywhere and lined up throughout the spacious room. 
The staff assured us that the new "gun" technique was painless (and certainly better than polio!). 
But if that was so, why could we see kids at the front of the lines so obviously not enjoying themselves?!?
Thereafter we tried to appear as brave as possible to avoid the ridicule of our peers, and somehow endured to the end.

- Carol Buckley Harty of NC - 10/22/03

After taxing my brain to a tremendous degree, I remember attending
several wonderful dances at the Armory during my high school years.
What a great time that was!

- Carol Buckley Harty of NC - 10/23/03

After reading the memories about the clubs around the high school, I was wondering if anyone remembers going
to dances at the Armory across from the Fire Station on Warwick Boulevard? I remember an advertisement for the
Original Hot Nuts Band playing there. Of course I couldn't go to a place like that. Many years later, while working as a
Head Nurse at Riverside, their annual Christmas Party featured---The Original Hot Nuts Band.
They weren't so bad after all.

- Linda Lane Lane ('64) of VA - 02/28/05
GIGGLES!  Thanks, Linda!

In reply to  Linda Lane Lane ('64) of VA questioning whether anyone remembers dances at the Armory:
I attended my first "sock hop" there as an 8th or 9th grader ('53 or '54). You couldn't wear shoes because
of their basketball court, which as I recall was one of the courts used for games by the youth leagues.
I won the prize for most outrageous socks one year -- they were a pair of gargoyles (maybe that should be
argyles?) with a really gross combination of fluorescent lime green, pink and Air Force Orange. It's almost
nauseating even now to think about them. But, what the heck -- they won the prize!!
Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 03/04/05
That's hysterical, Ronnie - thanks!   I'm trying to picture your mama's face when you were purchasing
these lovely creations in the first place - WILD GIGGLES!

I know I attended several dances at the Armory, but only one stands out in my mind. Steve Smith ('66 - of VA) had somehow
set me up a date with Bing ________ sometime in the Spring of 1964. Bing went to another school, possibly Warwick, and
was a year or two ahead of me; I can't remember exactly what year he graduated. My mother, bless her heart, took an instant
dislike to him the minute he arrived to pick me up for the dance. That paled in significance to the rage she entered when I came
home, however. It seems that Bing thought it would be bad for his image to be seen with a girl wearing glasses, so he asked me
to remove them for the evening. Incredibly, I DID!

Considering the fact that I have 20/800+ vision, and my next course of action would be a large German shepherd to guide me
around, it was an unusual request, to say the least. My willingness to comply with it speaks volumes about my lack of self-esteem.
To her dying day, all you'd have to do to watch Mama go completely ballistic was to say the word, "Bing". If you were referring
to "Crosby" or "cherries", it was all the same. I think it was one of the main reasons she was even more anxious than I to see that
I was fitted with contact lenses that Fall.

Fortunately, my mama never again encountered Bing ________. I do believe she would have done him bodily injury.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 03/04/05

Dear Carol,

I just read with interest your comments concerning Bing ________.  I would
like for you to know that I am married to Bing, and there is not a sweeter,
kinder, more considerate person living.  I think that if he knew that he had
hurt you in any way, that he would be mortified.  I would have really
appreciated it if, in your flaming of him, you had chosen to use B. ________
or Bing ________ instead of his full name.  I think that using his full name,
shows complete disregard for the feelings of other people, not just Bing,
but also for me, his wife.  At least, you have him to thank for getting your
contact lenses!  :)

Susan________ of VA - 03/28/06

Well, that, and the fact that I was asked to be in my cousin's Christmastide wedding....

But you're quite right, of course.  When I realized what an incredible faux pas I had made last year, I asked
a team of ten or so of my subscribers whose opinion I value what steps I should take to rectify the situation. 
The consensus was that the damage was already done, and anything further I could do would only serve
to exacerbate the situation.

But perhaps after a year's time, this might help after all.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 03/28/06

I was active in Troop 17 BSA which met on Thursday nights at Ivy Memorial Baptist Church on Maple Avenue.

The Peninsula Council BSA held a winter camporee in the Armory one year. One of the skills which was demonstrated and
practiced by the Boy Scouts was "fire by friction." Basically you made a piece of 2 x 4 with a small hole cut in the flat side.
Also required was a piece of broom handle, the glass top to a coffee peculator pot (originally designed so that you could see
the coffee perking on your stove), and a small bow made up of a curved limb and a long leather boot string.

 The idea was to place the rounded end of the section of broom handle into the little carved out section of the 2 x 4. The you put
one wrap of the boot lace of your small bow around the section of broom handle. Then you placed your peculator glass top on the
upped end of your section of broom handle. When everything was in place you moved the bow back and forth and the section
of broom handle spun around. With the correct speed and constant movement the block of 2 x 4 and the end of the broom handle
got hot and with a little hemp from scrap rope, you could get the hemp to catch on fire when you blew on it as you held it
in the hot hole in the 2 x 4. About 99.8% of the scouts were successful.
There was on guy who tried and tried and tried until one of the scoutmasters smelled varnish burning. Picking up the 2 x 4,
the scoutmaster discovered a hole in the hardwood floor of the armory. If you look the floor over today you could probably
find that inch or so in diameter hole in the floor.
I don't know what scouts use today to start fires but I'm sure someone has come up with an easier and more efficient way
to start a fire without a match or lighter.

- Ralph Wicke ('50) of PA - 06/17/09

YOWZERS! Thanks, Ralph!  Sadly, the Armory building was demolished along with much of the rest of what we knew as downtown
Newport News sometime in the last 40 years or so, so we'll not be able to check that floor

At the Hop

Bah-bah-bah-bah, bah-bah-bah-bah
Bah-bah-bah-bah. bah-bah-bah-bah, at the hop!

Well, you can rock it you can roll it
You can stop and you can stroll it at the hop
When the record starts spinnin'
You *chalypso* when you chicken at the hop
Do the dance sensation that is sweepin' the nation at the hop

Ah, let's go to the hop
Let's go to the hop, (oh baby)
Let's go to the hop, (oh baby)
Let's go to the hop
Come on, let's go to the hop

Well, you can swing it you can groove it
You can really start to move it at the hop
Where the jockey is the smoothest
And the music is the coolest at the hop
All the cats and chicks can get their kicks at the hop
Let's go!

Let's go to the hop
Let's go to the hop, (oh baby)
Let's go to the hop, (oh baby)
Let's go to the hop
Come on, let's go to the hop
Let's go!

(This page was created on 10/22/03.)

"At the Hop" midi courtesy of,
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/23/03
Thanks, Dave!

"At the Hop" lyrics courtesy of,
also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/23/03
Thanks again, Dave!

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