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Back on the Job : 'Psychologically, I Was Not Equipped to Retire' : Charlie Rypczynskiroger: With too much time on his hands, he became a grouch. But for the past 10 years he's been working as train conductor at Disneyland and he couldn't be happier.

July 18, 1993

ANAHEIM — Here are three retirees who, out of boredom, went back to work. Their stories are on E2.

* Bernard Gutierrez, a former baker now working at what he calls "the best job I've ever had," as a driver for Tailored Residential Irvine Paratransit Services.

* Charlie Rypczynskiroger, a former Pacific Telephone building engineer, who couldn't wait to retire and now works 40 hours a week as a conductor on the Disneyland Railroad.

* Bud Morris, a longtime corporate executive who is reliving a bit of his past by producing big-band shows for "seasoned" citizens.

*

The slightly built man in the vintage navy-blue train conductor's uniform and cap looked up and down the loading platform at Disneyland's Main Street train station to make sure there were no stragglers.

"'Bo-o-o-o-o-oard!" he shouted, managing to give the word a few extra syllables as he flashed the highball sign to the engineer at the throttle of the hissing steam engine.

Then Charlie Rypczynskiroger (pronounced Rip- shin-ski-roager) hopped onto one of the open-air passenger cars just as a deep voice on an overhead speaker proclaimed: "Howdy folks, and welcome aboard the Disneyland Railroad."

At 64, Rypczynskiroger has been saying "'bo-o-o-o-o-oard!" at the Magic Kingdom for the past 10 years. And bo-o-o-o-red is how he felt after retiring at age 55 after 25 years designing and laying cable as a building engineer for Pacific Telephone.

"They came out with an early retirement plan," he recalled. "I grabbed a handful of that and ran like a rabbit."

The Diamond Bar resident said he planned to spend a lot of time with his hobbies--backpacking, lapidary and gold- and silver-smithing. The problem was, he said, "I couldn't stay busy enough. I had too much time on my hands, and it made a grouch out of me."

After only two months of not working, he said, "that was it."

A friend with a daughter who worked at Disneyland gave him the idea of applying for a job there.

"I thought I'd come out and give it a shot," recalled Rypczynskiroger, who applied for a job--any job--and was hired as a train conductor. (Of course, it didn't hurt that he had spent 10 years as a signal maintainer for the Santa Fe Railroad before going to work at Pac Tel.)

"I liked it immediately," he said. "The only thing that's happened is it's just gotten better. If anybody had told me I'd enjoy going to work every morning I'd have told them, 'You're buggy.' "

These days, he puts in a 40-hour work week, serving as both a conductor and a working foreman who oversees the operation of Disneyland's four steam trains--which haul approximately 22,000 visitors on weekdays and double that on weekends--around the park's 1.7-mile perimeter.

"I like to see people happy. They come out here to have a good time, and my job is to help them," he said in a speaking manner as clipped as that of Ross Perot, whom Disneyland visitors have said he resembles, although Rypczynskiroger jokingly declares he has "cuter ears."

Working, Rypczynskiroger said, is important to him.

"It makes you feel like you're wanted by somebody. You have a place to go and somebody that needs you. Psychologically, I was not equipped to retire."

And after a decade on the job at Disneyland, Rypczynskiroger has no intention of re- retiring.

"Hell no," he said, shooting a glance down onto Main Street and grinning: "When I retire I'm going to drive that (antique Disneyland) fire engine down Main Street and fall dead at the wheel."

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