Ben Boegh

I moved to the Palos Verdes Apartments in 1949. They were just being built. My family lived in one of the first units. We didn’t move into a house until my junior year at THS. So I always very close to the beach. I was at the beach nearly every day. Stubby lived in the apartments also. So, we were on the beach together frequently.

We had some great times. We decided we wanted to learn to skin-dive. I had fins, and Stubby has a snorkel mask. So we teamed up. We each used one fin and we shared the mask. Together we got to be pretty good swimmers and divers. We even caught some fish and we brought home some abalone. Abalone was a special delicacy, even in those days.

I spent a lot of time with another family that lived in the apartments- the Leigh family. They had recently arrived in the U.S. from England. They had two boys about my age- Tony, who was my age, and his older brother Mike- two years older than me. We did a lot of things together- building “forts,” collecting snakes and lizards (much to my mother’s disapproval), and generally doing things that boys do.

There wasn’t much to do at the apartments, so the beach, hills, and fields were where we spent most of our time. Do you remember where the Palos Verdes Beach Club was, near Torrance Beach? Nearby was a creek that ran down to the ocean, along the side of the playground of an elementary school. Tony, Stubby and I decided it would be fun to build a dam, to create a frog pond. We worked hard on it and built it up very well. Then came a big winter rainstorm. The floodwaters shot down that creek and tore apart our dam. It gathered so much momentum that it also washed away a section of the school grounds. Wow! We were guilty of a lot of damage. We laid low for a while after that. No one paid attention to what kids were doing in those days. We had a lot of freedom.

My friends and I could come up with some entertaining schemes. Do you remember the size of those winter and spring high tide waves? Remember how they would crash over the street in Redondo Beach by the old Fox movie theater when there was a big storm? Those waves could be huge at Torrance Beach also. There was no big lifeguard station then, and no paved ramp down to the beach. You had to walk down the dirt ramp and there was nothing but beach between the ramp and those waves. During a big winter storm those waves would come up to the bottom of the ramp. Mike Leigh and I took old bikes and came up with a new adventure. We would ride down the ramp as fast as we could, and sail off into the big waves. It was all in the timing. You had to arrive at the bottom of the ramp just when a big wave was also arriving. It was great, until I misjudged the timing a little, and sailed off into a wave that wasn’t as high as I thought it would get- I went one way and the bike went another.  Then a truly awesome wave broke over me while I was trying to recover from my “error in judgment.” I survived, minus a lot of skin and with some interesting bruises, but the bike didn’t- it was bent up, all out of shape- beyond my ability to repair. So, that ended a good game.

THS Grad. photo
Catching Up

June 12, 2007


Thanks for the E-mail, and putting me on the list for the booklet.  As for the last fifty years….

After leaving THS I spent a semester at El Camino College, then enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard.  I spent duty time in Alaska and the Arctic, New England, then Oregon. During that time I got married, and by the time I left active duty in September of 1962, we had two daughters.

We moved to Southern California from Oregon, and I went to work in the aerospace industry in electronics. By 1970, I had had enough of the aerospace scene, so I went to work in the computer industry. From 1962 until we left Norco, California in 1972, we added three more children to our family. We moved to Nashville, TN in 1972, where I worked as a Field Service Engineer. In 1975, our sixth, and final child was born. I accepted a promotion, becoming a Field Service Manager, in 1978, which required us to move to the St. Louis, MO area. In 1981, my wife decided she wanted a divorce, so we were divorced after six children and 21 years of marriage.

In 1984, I married again- to a wonderful lady who had five children of her own. So, we wound up the parents of 11 children together. In 1985, we took the opportunity given to us to move to "the south" again.  My wife, Karen, was born and raised in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and while I lived in Tennessee, I became a convert to the southern culture and way of life.  So, the move from St. Charles, MO to near Atlanta, GA was just the thing for us.

Karen and I went to work for Gwinnett County, GA — she as a governmental accountant, and I as an Electronics Specialist with the Water Dept.  We retired from the County after 18 years of employment, on December 1, 2004.  Currently, we are really enjoying our retirement and, of course, our large family. Our 11 children are scattered all over the place, from Germany to Port Angeles, Washington. Two of our children live in this area, and another three live in the Nashville area, and one in Alabama, not too far from here. We have 21 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. We visit with as many as we can, when we can. Our role within the family is crystal clear- we love and spoil our grandchildren shamelessly, and when they get raunchy, we give them back to their parents!

I am involved with "Ham" radio, genealogy (finding my "roots"), and dabble a little in digital photography. We occasionally make trips around the South to see and experience this part of the country. We enjoy being in a location that has four seasons, lots of forests and lakes, etc. In fact, we live about a mile from a large lake (Lake Lanier), and love this particular area.

That's my story for the last 50 years. How about you? What have you been up to? Would like to hear from you, when you have the time and inclination.

Best Wishes,
Ben Boegh

Karen and Ben Boegh with one of their two dogs. 6/26/07