Al Penzel


After graduating from Cap, I spent that summer loafing and getting into trouble. I had a 1950 Plymouth Coupe in which I got a speeding ticket going 75 in a 35 MPH zone. I was scheduled to appear in court, but I avoided it by joining the US Army. From 1960 to 1963, I mostly worked as a clerk typist in Special Services handling entertainment. But because I had been restricted to base for not having a short enough hair cut and getting caught off base without a pass (I went swimming because I was on a German Swim Team) I was demoted to Private First Class. That was nine months before discharge and thus exited with that rank. But it didnÕt prevent me from claiming disability for an ACL injury while playing football and am still classified as a disabled vet (20%).


I got the GI Bill and attended many colleges. IÕve had many jobs including Mobility Instructor for the Blind, Real Estate Broker, Substitute teacher, teacherÕs aide, swimming instructor, swim coach, life guard, house painter, metal shop teacher, junk dealer and general handyman. None of them gave much monetary reward and IÕm still working on my own cars to save mechanic bills.


IÕve been married twice and I have two children. One is 43 and he works as a Probation Officer and the other is 21 and she works in a coffee shop. I havenÕt had any contact with my son since he was 15, but my daughter and I attended his wedding in 2006. Maybe he doesnÕt want to get involved with a pot-smoking father. My daughter is really a delight for me, when I see her. She has a pretty active social life.


My latest love is Star, a bitch I picked up at Safeway. SheÕs all black, except for a blaze of white on her chest. I first named her Spot, but I thought that was too demeaning, so I changed it. Hey, dogs have feelings, too. They pick up on things like names and peoples reaction to them.


Anyway, I live in Guerneville. Probably everyone at Cap has been here. It was the main attraction before the winter games in Squaw Valley in 1960. The place has a reputation as being the armpit of Sonoma County, the gay capital of the west, floodville, and a place with a lot of drugs. ItÕs all true.


IÕve been having some medical problems lately. IÕve been limited to taking the dog for a walk and going to Safeway to buy food.  IÕve taken up gambling and find the slot machines rewarding.  Yeh, sure! I like going to garage sales, but IÕm finding I buy stuff I donÕt need and IÕm tired of trying to sell it at a profit. A hammock is more my speed right now. Maybe IÕll try getting more active after the reunion. We, as a group, are very special. Most of us were developing in our motherÕs womb when Pearl Harbor was bombed. What emotional roller coasters we must all have experienced!  I look forward to meeting some of my classmates.