Third Page
at Work
at Play at
Torrance High School
Torrance, California

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Thumbnail: Ronnie Busch, Charlie Babbitt, Richard Gatley lying next to a "Clean Up" trash can

Here you have your Ronnie Busch, your Charlie Babbitt, and your Richard Gatley, semi-posed for the camera. I am vague with regard to the occasion, but I'll bet it was the election that caused congregation at The Shack as depicted in another photo.

Other than their obvious good looks, their charm, and their intelligence, what do you think these young gentlemen had in common? Key Club, also known as "Tartar Knights."

My memory of this location is that the photographer is a few yards northeast of The Shack, facing northeast. A line through the photographer's shoulders would point: left to the place Bob Moon was standing for the photo on the previous page—a dozen yards and five years away; right to the middle of the east-west wing of the main school building.

Straight ahead and through a corner of the science building is the site where the photographer stood to take the Science Building Doors photo.

I believe the Leaping Figure-to-Doors distance is somewhat greater than the Trashcan-to-Leaping Figure distance. I don't know if those distances exist today, or if they have changed.

Killer Elite was made into a movie starring James Caan

Thumbnail: YOBS, Alan Brown, BIll Murphy, Richard Gatley sunning at Torrance Beach         

And here are, left to right, YOBS, Alan Brown, Bill Murphy, and Richard Gatley. We are at Torrance Beach, just north of the Hollywood Riviera Country Club. I don't know if there still is a Torrance Beach, but my memory of the era is that paved access and parking were installed sometime between 1954 and 1956. If I remember correctly, on this day we came to the beach in a car driven by Bill Murphy. It was a Chrysler woodie convertible, maroon, the one with the hemi-head engine.

What did these four have in common? Hm. Three of the four enlisted in the Air Force. I don't remember much else. It must have been Mike Houston with the camera. He's a fourth.

Oh, yeah: their obvious good looks, their charm, and their intelligence. That's the ticket.

Now, then. My Torrance Beach story. For much of Senior year and the following summer, Mary Sue Easley and I were boyfriend-girlfriend. One of our favorite things was the beach, day or night, hot or cold, with or without company, but together. On one of the many trips to Torrance Beach (she lived just up the hill and catty-corner to Rosemary deKamp), the thin gold chain around her neck broke and fell in the water. And so did my senior ring. Uh oh. She felt bad, worse than I did, certainly.

Some months later I got a call from the jeweler who did the ordering, engraving, and collecting for the senior ring project. Someone had found a ring, and I was the only "FMS" in the class of '54. What luck!

Well, imagine some time passes, a year or so, however long is necessary to reach Summer, 1956. Nature had taken its course, Mary Sue and I drifted apart and I was boy-girling with Linda Lou Spahn. One of our favorite things was the beach, day or night, hot or cold, with or without company, but together. On the one occasion I can recall that we went to Torrance beach, we were doing a little slap and tickle on the sand, when she noticed the slim gold chain around her neck was gone. And with it, my senior ring. She felt bad, worse than I did, certainly.

Within weeks I had enlisted. Eventually Linda and I drifted apart. I had a whole lot of life and living happen to me, some part of which you can read about here on this site.

Fast forward. Fast and long forward, to 1994. It's the THS class of '54 fortieth reunion. Fortieth! Wow. See some of it here: 40th reunion. Great fun, sweet and pleasant, except that it was The Hottest August Day On Record (104°) and the event was under a non-insulated roof.

More time passes. Not much more, but some. Only five years. June, 1999. I get a nice letter from Joan Leech (Paour). Someone from Redondo Beach with a metal detector has found a THS class ring, year '54, initials "FMS". Can you believe it? You ever want to compare unlikelies with anyone, here is a great benchmark.

I win, even though I haven't actually retrieved the ring yet. I might never, or maybe I should, just so I could put it on a chain around Margarita's neck, and take her to Torrance Beach, y'know?

Well, here's the update: Daily Breeze — April 30, 2004

Click for a legible version        Click for a more legible version
Click the blue text for a legible verson;
second pic is the same story but bigger type

Torrance High School's 50th reunion was held at the Torrance Hilton, on May 1, 2004. Joan Leech Paour presented me with the ring — on a very hefty chain. Haven't been to Torrance Beach yet ...

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