The Internet is an amazing thing. For people my age, it is a great way to bring our past back into the present. Here is the interview with my high school English teacher, William “Bill” Pentland.
Bill said, “I love to travel (not fly) and see state and national parks, Civil War battlefields and small obscure sites connected to that war, and I love to go to Division-I football games.
I love to get out and hike on new (to me) trails in parks, on battlefields, etc. I love to be able to take my dog with me when I go. I love to cook. I really love to read. I love film and television. Music is also a big part of my life.
I was born in St. Louis, MO. I came here for a change of scenery and a chance to be a head football coach.
I am very proud of my children and how they turned out to be such good people.
As far as people knowing about me? I really don’t know. I’m the son of an immigrant; I’m a veteran; I’ve written a lot about my travels; I am pretty much a people person but I can get by alone, as well. Like all of us, I have done a few things in my past that aren’t exactly the right thing and that I wish I hadn’t but, all in all, I wouldn’t consider myself a bad person. I’m a liberal in a non-liberal state.
Unique story? I really don’t know. I don’t think I’m any more unique than the next guy. I have done a lot of stuff. I have had successes; I have had failures. I have done, made created some things that were pretty good; I’ve had some not so good. My first big trip after I retired was pretty wild for an old guy. That’s all documented on my FB page under Notes and Photos – called Voyage of Discovery. Thirteen states; 8 Civil War battlefields; 2 national historic sites; Alabama football game; Martin Guitar factory and conversations with dozens of strangers about everything.”
What advice would you give the teenage you?
Eliminate or drastically curb the use of alcohol.
One person living or dead you would love to hang out with for a day?
Easy. My dad. I lost him in 1975. He never got to see the grandson named after him. He never got to see me coach. He never got to really know any of his grandkids from me. I would show him what I’ve done, what they’ve done. Imagine, showing him a computer or a big screen TV, or a cell phone? I miss my dad a lot.
Name a place you would like to visit?
Also, easy. Scotland.
How important is music in your life?
Been a big part since the beginning. I read a lot as a kid (still do). I would put on a classical record, grab a book, and off I went. I sang in the St. Louis Boy Choristers. I sang in high school. I sang and played in bands in the service and college. My cd and record collection is vast and growing still. I love all kinds of music, maybe not Country Music so much, but just about everything else.
Do you have a pet? What’s its name? How’d it get that name? Supply a picture.
Atticus. A beagle. Named after Atticus Finch.
What is the most adventurous thing you ever did?
My 3 week trip by myself back east and south the year I retired.
What was your favorite meal growing up?
My dad’s barbecued ribs and spaghetti from Venegoni’s The Huddle on The Hill in St. Louis.
What has the greatest loss in your life been?
My dad, my mom, my brother-in-law Glenn.
What is your favorite accent?
Which teacher had the biggest impact on you? Why?
Joe Geist, Don Edison, Pete Mercurio, Ray Cliffe, Bill Holmes, Miss Herlihy, Mrs. Morris, Mary Lee Forderhaase, Dick Winegard
What was your earliest memory?
Despite what our psychology books tell us, I remember many things from the age of 2 or slightly before. We lived upstairs in a 2 family flat till I was 2, then we moved. I remember a ton of stuff about that place, including things I got for my 2nd birthday.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Many. Atticus and Scout Finch. Paul Muad Dib from Dune. Conor and Dary Larkin from Trinity. The big three from Harry Potter. Many, many more all have a place.
Did you ever have an imaginary friend? What was its name?
Yes. 3. Eggy, Bee, and Bo. When I threw my baby bottle out the window of the car, they also went away.
What is one thing that you don’t know how to do, that you wish you did?
I wish I could speak Gaelic. Or play the piano.
Do you ever talk to inanimate objects?
All the time. Comes from living alone for the last dozen years and also from hanging around Jeff Wilhelm too much.
Do you have a dream you will always remember?
Yes. One in particular. Centers around the neighborhood in which I grew up. The cemetery we used to play in was a block away. That plays a big part in these dreams, often frightening.
If you won the lottery what 3 things would you do first
Give a large portion to my kids. Travel. Work on my house.
Why is reading books so important?
It takes us places we can’t go. It introduces us to people we can’t meet. It gives us experiences we wouldn’t otherwise have.
What’s the longest road trip you have ever taken?
If you were asked to take a shuttle to Mars, with the probability you would never make it back, would you go?
Probably but I’m claustrophobic and afraid of heights. I’d need a ship like in The Martian.
What do you think about pro sports?
Oh, I’m a fan but they have lost their way as money has supplanted the love of the sport itself.
Do you think zoos are humane? Why or why not?
Some zoos, many, are pathetic. Sheer torture for the poor animals. Some are excellent (the St. Louis Zoo, for example). I am against hunting for sport (yeah, crazy considering where I live). I am an animal advocate.