Page A3 / The Joan
De Arc Crusader / Sunday, April 1, 2018
Editorials A2 /
Best of Crusader A4
Interview A5 /
Easter Nostalgia A6 /
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
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
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.
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
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
Perhaps it will happen again
someday. Someday soon.
Joan De Arc’s mothers of the
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
“The Phoenix Chinaman” was not a
politically correct nickname, but it’s one that Mr. Dirty has never