Page A3 / The Joan De Arc Crusader / Sunday, April 1, 2018

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My Joan De Arc inventory

By Barbara Bueker Stewart

    I’ve been thinking about the 50th anniversary of the Crusader and feeling amazed that so many years have passed so swiftly and so unacknowledged, including those years when the Crusader slept. We all missed that voice.
     I took an inventory. I looked back at our lives together and the years since my children struck out on their own to find their way and live the life they came here to live. And I wondered if their Dad and I had sent them out with the tools they needed to live and love, to work and play, and most of all to be happy.   
     Their father was a gift to us all. We were a happy family, a blessing that many families never know. Carl gave his children the gift of his love of fun and games, his sense of humor, his love of music and the memory of all the times he sat down and played the piano, for his own pleasure and for ours. He was a gifted man, musically speaking, playing and tuning the piano by ear. He had perfect pitch and could play anything from jazz and boogie-woogie to classical. He was strict with his kids because he knew that they had much to give, and he was also fair. Of course he never took them to Disneyland….he had far loftier plans for them!
     I gave them my love of art and beauty. They all watched when I started to paint and then went back to school to actually study art. I gave them my love of books and literature. There were reference materials at hand when differences of opinion arose around the dinner table, and someone was certain to jump up and consult the dictionary or the encyclopedia. I knew if I provided the books, they would read them, and they did. I also fired the desire in each of them to look beyond our borders and want to see Europe, to know something of the world and its peoples. And, above all else, we wanted each to know that we both loved and admired them for their many talents and abilities.
     We had lived on Joan De Arc Avenue for several years when John started his neighborhood newsletter, which he intended to publish and sell to the neighbors. His dad and I had reservations because we were concerned about the content and were worried that he might publish something unknowingly that someone might not want the whole neighborhood to see. We told him that we needed to see the publication before it hit the streets.
     It was then 1968 and John was 10 years old. This was long before computers and printers and so John was going to type each newsletter on our old typewriter individually. His Dad told him that he needed to keep the “news” down to just one page. In the meanwhile, we bought carbon paper and he was able to print two newspapers at once, and he was thrilled with our knowledge of this innovation. I remember that he printed the first edition and took it around to the neighbors to sell subscriptions. I don’t remember now how much they cost, but our neighbor Konnie Russell was the first to subscribe. She decided it was excellent and then more neighbors signed up.
     Carl Bueker suggested that he call the paper The Joan d’ Arc Crusader, but that is a whole other family story…

Remembering the Joan De Arc political landscape

By Barbie Bueker Formichella

     Since I have been simultaneously getting ready for a trip to Washington DC and pondering what to write about for the JDA Crusader this week (deadline!), it occurred to me that I should document my own political history, most of which has its roots in the years on Joan De Arc Avenue.
     I don’t actually remember the election of 1960 but I do recall that my parents were vaguely disappointed with the results. My grandmother came right out and said she did NOT like Mr. Kennedy at all, which rather shocked me. I myself was fascinated with the beautiful Kennedys, especially the fact that they had a little girl like me who got to live in the White House.
     The first political campaign in which I had a truly vested interest was Goldwater-Miller in ‘64. Both my parents were enthusiastic supporters of the senator from our newly adopted state of Arizona, and therefore of course so was I. I was so sure of a win that I bet my classmate Bonnie Pierce some newly acquired Halloween candy that Goldwater would win. It was a sad post-election morning when I had to hand over some Tootsie Pops to a gloating Bonnie, and I’ve been a sucker for politics ever since.
     My next campaign was Sam Grossman for Governor in ‘68. As a high school volunteer, I had the very critical job of stuffing envelopes for the campaign, the perks of which were a) Close proximity to the handsome Chris-Town owner Mr. Grossman, and b) Getting to go upstairs at the mall into the executive offices, normally forbidden territory for 14-year-olds. Unfortunately, Sam did not prevail in the contest.
     My high school years were peppered with my mini-statements of political nerd-dom: not standing for the pledge, wearing a black armband on Earth Day #1, cheering when Agnew resigned (yes, I really do remember this). My favorite memory of those years however, was the epitome of joining the mainstream: the day they lined us up during Government class to register to vote. The year the voting law changed was the year I turned 18, and I was ready to cast my ballot and make my voice heard!
     The Presidential election of 1972 was my first, and I joined the McGovern campaign at Glendale Community College, assigned once again to the all-important envelope stuffing job (after all I was an expert). My other job was to hang around and listen to angry baby boomers who were fed up with The Man and were just sure that Mr. McGovern’s progressive agenda would sweep the nation! Unfortunately, once again youthful optimism was not enough and the landslide slid in the other direction.
     When Nixon began to self-destruct a year later, I gleefully placed a “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For McGovern” sticker on my little Rambler (that’ll show ‘em!), and when he actually resigned, it was a political miracle! I remember exactly where I was on August 8, 1974 when we got the news. The President of the United States resigning, wow, that was absolutely unprecedented and we were ecstatic!
     Perhaps it will happen again someday. Someday soon.

Joan De Arc’s mothers of the emergency

By Julie Mitchell Munday

     Ha! Cannot believe you've been writing this thing for 50 years! Congratulations. Sure do love it and always have. And yep, I do have a tale.
     Remember the Emergency Mothers? The big fire-engine red sign on tagboard all the moms had in the front window? Guessing it was something the school did (who else would?).  Supposedly any kid could stop in if they needed help. Man, that big E fired my imagination. I could just SEE a disheveled frightened person banging at the door. And my mom would fly into action like a superhero and call the firemen, police, ambulance, and also the kid's mom!
     I knew every mom on our block could handle any emergency that came along---they were the smartest, funniest, toughest ladies on earth. How I longed for that bell to ring and to watch all the excitement!  I used to sit at the window sometimes looking out, hoping for some action. Ironically enough, the one time someone DID come by (a lost little girl), I was not home! Don't know how long this program lasted---I do remember the sign getting a little rusty looking. Anyone ever stop at your house?
     Nowadays anyone with a big E would be fingerprinted and vetted, checked for bad habits and criminal convictions!
     And yes, I still do have an out-of-control imagination.

Fifty years an intern

By C.H. Bueker III

     So, I have recently been made to understand from my editor that the Joan De Arc Crusader is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. That’s a solid half-century of unparalleled investigative excellence, proudly serving not only the exact center of the known universe that is the west 3200 block of Joan De Arc Avenue, but also much of the surrounding area that is fortunate enough to be affiliated with this most famous of localities. Now you’re probably wondering how it is that I’ve been a contributing writer to this award winning publication for virtually my entire life without seeing a single paycheck. As it turns out, it takes real determination to remain dirt poor.
     For one thing, the Crusader has never accepted any outside advertising. Technically we haven’t turned down any either, but my point is that we don’t have an actual advertising revenue source. Neither does the Crusader have any paying readership. At least that’s what the editor and general manager claims, and I have no reason to disbelieve him (should I?). Basically we’re a no money in, no money out kind of operation that has perpetuated itself for a full five decades now. I’ve stopped holding my breath waiting for compensation, is what I’m saying.
     The good news in all of this is that we can write whatever the hell we want. We’re not beholden to the whims of some sponsor with an axe to grind, we don’t strive to elicit fake outrage in a bid for maximum page clicks, and we don’t spin or make up stories in order to boost readership. In fact, Stephen Hawking’s last words before his recent death were “The Joan De Arc Crusader is the greatest source of absolute truth and entertaining crossword puzzles in the universe!” Of course, you have to read that in a robot voice to get the full effect. You simply couldn’t ask for a more accurate and splendid tribute.
     And so the great irony of the Joan De Arc Crusader is this: We have achieved boundless success almost entirely as a result of our total lack of ambition and appalling business acumen. Countless journalistic enterprises have risen and crashed in the last fifty years in an attempt to be fiscally successful, but the Crusader remains the same shining beacon of neighborhood news that existed in 1968, only better now because there’s only so much we could do on an old Underwood typewriter.
     We’re proud to be penniless, we dare to be stupid, and God willing we’ll still be dishing out the occasional issue of odd stories, fabricated astrological forecasts and fond remembrances another fifty years hence. Perhaps it may have to be in a robot voice, however.

Carl Bueker named names

By J. Bueker

     One of the bedrock features of Crusader lore is the well-known fact that my father Carl named the paper.
     I dubbed my original stab at crafting a street newspaper “The Sloppy Gazette,” a nine-year-old’s meager attempt at parodying the brand of the now extinct Valley publication The Phoenix Gazette.
     My father was less than impressed by this choice, and when he saw that I was actually serious about publishing this thing and distributing it to the neighbors, he intervened with his own idea. Carl managed to accomplish the twin goals of not only giving the new kid newspaper a proper and respectable name, but also of taking a good natured swipe at my mother.
     The world in 1968 was undergoing an exceptional period of change and upheaval, and Barbara Bueker as usual wasn’t particularly timid about voicing her opinions about all the current events and issues of the day. The peace movement, birth control, women’s rights, the civil rights movement, the political parties, the Cold War, and sundry other prominent topics were continually subject to her rather unfettered pontification. Amused by all this, Father took to referring to his wife as the Joan De Arc crusader, and the rest of course is history.
     However, this was but one example of a much larger phenomenon. Carl Bueker enjoyed assigning names to people and things in general and did so with considerable wit and skill.
     Where even to begin? At some point early on, the man took to referring to his four children by the backward spelling of their first name, and thus Susan, Barbara, Charles and John were forever transformed into Nasus, Arabrab, Selrahc, and Nhoj. The only one of these four that truly endured I think was “Arabrab,” which was clearly the catchiest of the lot. Nice cadence and alliteration on that one. I still use it myself on occasion.
     He didn’t stop there. Carl actually contrived an array of interesting names for his kids: Horseface and Big Ox were favorite epithets, but he also wielded more elegant nicknames like “The Princess,” a rather apt sobriquet for my sister Barbie. Yet it was a joking assessment of his youngest son’s habits of cleanliness that produced probably his most unforgettable name of all.
     The truth is that I’ve never been particularly noted for my overall neatness, and I was the kind of kid whose face, hands and clothing were perpetually imprinted with food and grime. Taking his cue from the heavily advertised household cleaning product Mr. Clean, which was coincidentally introduced the very year I was born, Carl cleverly christened me “Mr. Dirty,” a name that I continue to hear from my mother and siblings to this very day. Thanks, Dad.
     On the sporting front, Father decided to rename the traditional basketball game of Horse to “Razzy,” in honor of the Dolly Madison snack cake that was quite popular at 3219. This lent a unique signature to our driveway basketball tournaments, with the letter “y” then becoming the dreaded, fatal character in the game rather than “e.” Perhaps the rebranding of such an activity was inspired by our need for exercise after consuming those calorie-laden raspberry flavored treats.
     I don’t remember Carl watching Wallace and Ladmo very often, as he was rarely home on the weekday afternoons when the show hit the airwaves, but he was sufficiently inspired by the program to begin calling our neighbor Kathy Mitchell “Ladmo.” We could never discern any perceptible similarity between the young girl on our street and the goofy icon of local TV fame, but Father clearly meant this as a fondly affectionate nickname. I suppose the very fact that the name had no rational basis whatsoever made it all the more endearing.
     When it came to assigning a name to himself, the man leaned toward the grandiose. I’m unsure now exactly how the appellation “Mr. Wonderful” came into being, but I do distinctly recall there being a trophy involved in the honor. Amazingly in fact, Joan De Arc Avenue was actually blessed with two Mr. Wonderfuls, as Bill Mitchell was also accorded this rare distinction. What are the odds, I ask?
     There are many other examples that could be cited. My mom was Bunny, and my Uncle Jerry, Ace. The stray tabby with four white paws who appeared at our door one stormy evening was designated as Spats. Family friend Pattie Krohn was invested with the name Pitty-Pattie. Father even rebranded one of my favorite childhood dessert treats as “Jello 1-2-3 Throw Up!” The list is endless really.
     I will conclude on a note of mild irony, as turnabout is fair play. One of the most strikingly memorable nicknames of all from the Joan De Arc years was not a name concocted by Carl Bueker, but one given him. Father’s habit of habitually squinting his eyes amused certain of his GMC co-workers as he made his weekly excursions across Arizona.
     “The Phoenix Chinaman” was not a politically correct nickname, but it’s one that Mr. Dirty has never forgotten.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ JDA