Mr. Larry Wendell Armstrong

Currently residing in Annapolis, MD

Newport News High School, Class of 1953, Student Body President
Randolph Macon College, B.A.

English, History, French, Golf Team Coach,
Co-Sponsor of the Senior Class of 1963

  1953 Anchor, p. 26 1953 Anchor, p. 110 Friday, September 29, 1961 Issue
of the Beacon
  Courtesy of Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 01/13/05
Thanks, Tom!
Courtesy of Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 01/13/05
Thanks, Tom!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA - 01/31/08
WOWZERS! Thanks, Dave!
1962 Anchor, p. 24 1962 Anchor, p. 70 1962 Anchor, p. 121 1963 Anchor, p. 45
  LEFT TO RIGHT: Mr. Larry Armstrong ('53), Sponsor; Billy Hallett ('65); Lee Sutton ('64); Steve Corum ('62); Larry Spigel ('62); Robert Fulcher ('64); John Carleton ('62); David Parrish ('62); George Rowe ('64); Billy Feather ('64); Steve Klein ('64); Kit Thomas ('64); Ronnie Sanders ('65); and Phil Hammond ('64).  
11/12/04 11/13/04; labeled 08/18/10 11/12/04
1963 Anchor, p. 129

Most of my memories of my F-Period French 1-2 class during my freshman year ('61-'62) do not bear repeating.
It was a very diverse group, from eighth to eleventh graders. I know that Billy Feather ('64), Jeannie Collier ('65), Albert Dorner ('66),
Ginny Sue Goolsby ('63), and Danielle Garrick ('63) were in that class.  I’m pretty sure that Rose Woodard ('65)
was in there as well, and possibly Sammy Fox ('66) and Susie Overton ('63) back when we called her Estelle.
I was completely in awe of Dani because as projected valedictorian of the Class of ’63,
I figured she was the most brilliant person I’d ever met, and I felt particularly stupid in that class.
One day she overwhelmed me by telling me that she envied me – me!!! –
because I had the most beautiful hair she’d ever seen – a compliment I still remember more than 40 years later.
Billy Feather ('64) and I sat up front, right at Mr. Armstrong’s feet.  That second picture shown above was taken in our class.
Billy Feather’s mission in life was to make me blush, which is still a very readily accomplished goal, lo,
these many years later, so you can imagine how easy it was when I was only 14.

I remember Mr. Armstrong exhorting us to “pense en Francais”, which I managed to accomplish twice in my life – once
while I was sleeping and dreamed an entire dream “en Francais”, and once at Old Dominion, after I began taking German –
a fine time for that skill to kick in, I must say.. I remember reading Dumas and being stunned that I could comprehend an
entire novel written in a language other than my own, but that was probably in Mrs. Clark’s 3-4 class the next year.

I remember Mr. Armstrong’s usual retort to every problem was, “C’est domage” (which it was),
and I remember learning our first French sentence – “J’entre dans la salle de classe”. 
I remember one of our earliest assignments was to write a paper which we had to read aloud to the class, describing ourselves -
completely “en Francais”. That was such an agonizing, mortifying experience for somebody as shy as I was (yea, verily!),
that it not only caused me to lose sleep then, but to have nightmares which persisted for over twenty years.

I remember learning a French Christmas carol which I had never heard up until that time – “Il Est Nee, La Divine Enfant”,
but there again, that was probably the following year.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 11/12/04

J'entre dans la salle de classe.
Je regard autour de moi.
Je dis bonjour au mon professeur et mes eleves. (?)
Je prend ma place.
and then something about a crayon and papier and le livre!

- Albert Dorner ('66) of VA - 11/12/04
WOW!  What a phenomenal memory after more than forty years!  Thanks, Albert!

Hi, Carol:
Thanks for creating the page for former teacher, Mr. Larry W. Armstrong. Larry was probably considered the original "Adonis" by working as a Life Guard and Swimming Instructor at the World War II Memorial Municipal Swimming Pool. My sister Nancy Van Orden ('61) of FL and Judi Hawley Whitestone ('61) of VA still talk about how handsome Larry was back in 1953 when he was their swimming instructor. He was a real gentleman and a fine athlete for the TYPHOON.
Always, Adonis

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 11/15/04
Thanks, Joe!  I remember when Mr. Armstrong walked on stage during assemblies,
there was a very audible swoon from the girls all over the auditorium.

Do I have a Larry Armstrong story for you... It happened before we moved to the islands and that has been 14 years ago. John and I were staying on our sailboat in Annapolis when we decided to get a bite at McGarvey's restaurant. As we were seated and I looked across the restaurant and noticed a familiar face behind the bar. I could not believe was Larry Armstrong! I knew he wouldn't remember me, but I knew he would remember my Dad so I went over to say hello to him. He was still a "hunk" may I say! I was right, he didn't recognize me, but when I told him I was Ernie Shaffer's daughter you should have seen the look on his face! He was still he asked me not to tell anyone working in the bar/restaurant that he was a high school English teacher way back when....I made the promise. It seems Larry was the head bartender and we saw him many times after that first encounter. On our recent visits we did not see him.

- Brownie Shaffer Haracivet ('62) of the Virgin Islands - 11/19/04
WOWZERS!  Thanks, Brownie!

I, too, had Mr. Armstrong for French when I was an eighth grader in the class with Albert Dorner ('66), Sammy Fox ('66), et al. My memories go back a bit further, however. I had Mr. Armstrong as my swimming instructor when I was in the fourth grade. At the time I was very near-sighted, but didn't realize it. Since I couldn't see the water very well, I refused to jump in water over my head and Mr. Armstrong failed me! (I have since learned to swim - not like a fish, but enough to enjoy the sport).

I have another connection to Mr. Armstrong. As a young boy, he lived on Oak Avenue. When his family moved out of that house, my family moved in and I lived there for 10 years. Only when we were discussing our histories in French class did this connection become apparent. I also felt a "little" special because I had a good idea about his younger years - at least the house he lived in and the neighborhood he frequented!

He has always been one of my favorite teachers and I think of him whenever I hear French being spoken - especially if it is not spoken well!

- Shirley Eanes Matthews ('66) of VA - 02/11/05
 Thanks, Shirley! It's good to hear from you! That was a fun class, wasn't it?!?

Re: Larry Armstrong. Had no idea that Larry was a teacher at NNHS. He came and went after I was no longer a student there. Now this is a guy to really look up to, which I had to do because I must have been 7 or 8 years old when I first met him. He taught me how to swim at the WWII Memorial Pool. I was not a slow learner but pretended to be because he was the most handsome man I had ever seen, except for my Daddy! Two years of lessons and then the diving board. Daredevil me pretended to be just the opposite, that way he spent more time with me. Didn't know what a crush was then, but realized later that was what it had to be. Sorry for being such a pest, Larry.

- Sepi Dinwiddie Prichard ('58) of NC - 07/16/07
Thanks, Dimples!

Hi, Carol:

Well, after reading the
See You in September newsletter and the comments by Sepi Dinwiddie Prichard ('58) of NC about Larry Armstrong ('53 - of MD), one can readily see that my sister Nancy Madagan Van Orden ('61) of FL and Judi Hawley Whitestone ('61) of VA were not the only ones struck by the handsome form of their Life Guard and Swimming Instructor at the Municipal Pool in Newport News.

Marvin Turley was the Head Life Guard back then, and Larry Armstrong and Ronnie Jenkins were the two life guards and swimming instructors at the pool. Ronnie recently won a 70 mile bicycle race here in Florida, so you can tell that he has not slacked off in his physical training since retiring as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Larry Armstrong is now a restaurateur in Annapolis, Maryland.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 07/17/07
Thanks, Joe!

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