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Remember "Flash"

Remember Flash?

There are many people whose names bring back fond memories of our years in Torrance. But possibly no other person more than the bicycle riding, harmonic playing, basketball shooting, bell ringing friend of all of ours during those times - Flash. We knew him when he was riding a red and silver Schwinn, and according to the articles during his better years.

Archived stories from the Daily Breeze files about him which have been copied below. We may not have all known each other during our four years at Torrance High School, but EVERYONE knew Flash!

Flash -- A True Tartar; Torrance High Pays Tribute to Unique Volunteer
May 16, 1984

Most of the students at Torrance High School never knew Flash.

That's a shame, say his old friends, because Flash was the kind of guy who exhibited a lot of love. As he got older and more difficult, he also taught his friends tolerance.

To preserve the memory of Flash for the young people he adored, Torrance High School has established a collection of his most prized possessions in the school's trophy case.

Included are a yellow, single- speed bicycle, a harmonica, a whistle and a cow bell -- symbols of a man who, according to former Principal Carl Ahee, only wanted "a little involvement, not necessarily recognition. Just something to make life a little better for somebody else."

"Flash -- A True Tartar," reads the plaque honoring the man who spent countless hours assisting the school's athletic teams. The plaque was donated by Dr. John Steward, a Torrance physician.

Teen-agers on the way to class quickly pass the trophy case. Some, however, have stopped to notice the memorial.

"They usually ask what the bike is in there for," said John O'Brien, vice principal.

The bicycle was Flash's only transportation. He pedaled for miles every day, visiting friends in Torrance and at the beach. It was while riding his yellow Schwinn on Oct. 25, 1982, that Flash was struck by a car in Torrance and killed at the age of 76. He was wearing the whistle and cow bell the day of the accident.

His real name was Glen Waltemar Sorenson, but few knew it. He was nicknamed Flash because of his quick ball shagging for the Chicago White Sox, which held spring training in Pasadena during the 1950s.

Nobody knows exactly when Flash first rode his bicycle onto the Torrance High School campus, but he quickly established himself as a dedicated volunteer for Tartar sports. Among his duties were picking up towels, keeping track of uniforms and shagging balls.

"Flash went in the bus on every trip. He took in every game," said Will Boerger, a Torrance teacher who coached a string of championship basketball teams in the 1960s.

Most of the basketball fans during those years remember Flash's halftime antics. He loved to show off his underhand shot from half-court.

"I make those 40-footers like nothing," he used to say.

The harmonica was Flash's second passion.

His dream was to play the instrument for Johnny Carson and the millions of television viewers of "The Tonight Show." Flash carried the harmonica with him on his bicycle tours of the area and he'd play it for anybody who would listen.

Toward the end, Flash grew increasingly obnoxious and those who knew him say a mean streak became more pronounced. Once the friend of students, the old man on the bicycle began to draw their ridicule and taunts.

Flash had a simple funeral out of town with only a handful of friends and distant relatives. According to Boerger, many of Flash's friends were disappointed.