The Joan De Arc

All the fits that's news to print

Founded AD 1968 / $5.00
Phoenix, Arizona / Wednesday, July 2, 2003
©  2003 by JPB Publishing Ltd.
On the INSIDE: Editorials A2 / Summer Nostalgia A3 / Special Section: Buekers A4 / Crossword A5
Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 109 / Low 80


Buekers mark 40 years in Arizona
Pioneering Joan De Arc family looks back

(BP)- The Bueker family, long time residents and trend setting pioneers on Joan De Arc Avenue, today mark the 40th anniversary of their momentous arrival in Phoenix.  On July 2, 1963, the Buekers completed a week long odyssey from their former home in Livonia, Michigan to begin a new life in the desert Southwest.
    Charles "Carl" Bueker Jr., his wife Barbara, and four children Susan, Barbie, Charles III and John, all made the 2000 mile journey west in a charmingly cramped camper purchased in Michigan specifically for the move. Carl's idea was to make the cross country trek into a once in a lifetime sight seeing adventure extraordinare, and the family therefore stopped at numerous places of interest along the way on their journey to Arizona. Among the exciting stops on the Bueker itinerary were the national monument at Mount Rushmore, the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone Park, and a quick ride (no stop) past the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
    The Bueker's decision to migrate to Arizona was apparently a complex one, inspired by a series of factors including the presence of Barbara's father, mother and brothers in the Valley. It was also thought that the warmer climes would improve the health of the younger Charles, who appeared to be deceptively lethargic at times. As it turned out, he merely felt completely indifferent to his surroundings, a state of affairs that persists to this very day.
    Upon their arrival in the Valley, the Bueker family alit at the home of Barbara's doting parents, Lois and Howard Swaggerty, on 11th and Northern Avenues. There they spent a delightful first week in Phoenix, gaining their bearings and basking in the glow of Howard's warmth and hospitality.
    The Buekers resided for their first five months in town in a rented home on Cactus Road, making their fateful move to Joan De Arc Avenue over the weekend of December 6-8, 1963. That very week Carl Bueker had secured steady employment with General Motors, and the family soon settled down to a life of quiet domesticity that was entirely typical of the time.
    Barbara Bueker soon began to cultivate her artistic talents, a decision that would lead to an impressive career as a teacher and artist, and ultimately to a highly prestigious web site featuring her work.  The Bueker children quickly adapted to the cultural environment of Phoenix in the '60s, embracing Wallace and Ladmo, Legend City, "Dialing for Dollars," and on Saturday mornings, the timeless KPHO-TV presentations of "The World Beyond."  The classic "Star Man" movies imported from Japan and expertly dubbed in English were a particular family favorite in the Bueker household for many years.
     Carl and Barbara were an intergral part of the Joan De Arc social scene in the '60s and '70s, due primarily to their witty and erudite conversational skills. The couple was always in demand at Avenue parties, although Barbara would typically drag her betrothed home in advance of their dear friends and neighbors becomingly markedly blitzed. It was during this period that the Bueker family popularized the “Jeopardy party,” based on the popular TV game show, another pioneering first.
     The street sports scene came of age during the trend setting Bueker period. The very first basketball backboard in the neighborhood that was painted exactly the same color as the house to which it was attached appeared above the Bueker driveway in 1969. The family also explored tetherball, croquet, four square, badminton, wiffle ball, volleyball and street hockey during their tenure on the street. The Joan De Arc Cowboys sandlot football team, quarterbacked by John Bueker, won a series of league championships in the late '60s and early '70s that remains unrivalled.
    A milestone event occurred on Joan De Arc Avenue in 1968 with the establishment of the street newspaper, the Joan De Arc Crusader.  The Crusader was the brainchild of the youngest member of the Buekers, John, who had found inspiration from a number of whimsical experiments in satirical journalism undertaken by his father and siblings earlier that same year.  Carl Bueker is traditionally accorded the credit for suggesting the name "Crusader," apparently a witty allusion to wife Barbara's penchant for pursuing a variety of causes celebres, a not uncommon pastime during this tumultuous decade of change.  During its heyday the Crusader boasted a street wide circulation of six, and maintained a staff of two, including editor and publisher Bueker and cub reporter Chris Dickey. The newspaper covered some of the seminal events of the '60s. A creature of the late '60s, the Joan De Arc Crusader slowly faded from view as the decade wound down to its close, but it was returned from oblivion on a biannual basis in 1993 by a deeply nostalgic and by now exceedingly eccentric John Bueker.
    The Bueker family also left its enduring legacy upon the local institutions of learning, particularly Sahuaro Elementary School. Barbara Bueker was a major player in the school PTA (later PTO), establishing a solid reputation as a prolific purveyor of sauce for the legendary spaghetti dinners that were held each year in the school cafeteria. John won the annual creative writing contest several years running, displaying a brilliant talent for writing which has sadly eroded in his later years. The younger Charles spent most of his time at Sahuaro resting up for his eventful teen years, and Barbie Bueker honed the social skills that have eventually led many people to mistake her for a Mormon.  Sadly, with the graduation of John in 1972, Sahuaro began a gradual decline that still shows no sign of abatement.
    The Buekers maintained a exceptionally stable pet population over the years on the street, providing a loving home for the felines Sam, Spats and Insa, as well as their canine friend Amoreena. Spats appeared one evening on the doorstep a year or two after the family moved into the house and was immediately adopted by the Buekers, although it would probably be more accurate to say that the Buekers were adopted by Spats. Carl Bueker's winning wit shone through once again in the naming of this affectionate, white pawed carnivore.
    Time of course passed, and the inevitable changes of life slowly began to impact the Bueker household. The '70s brought marriages for both Susan and Barbie, and college for just about everybody. The once tight knit family unit was beginning to splinter off in different directions, as they are wont to do.
    The Bueker era was nothing less than a Golden Age on Joan De Arc Avenue, but as with all experiences in this transitory world, its time came to an end. Carl Bueker passed away in 1976, and the Buekers left the street completely and forever about a year later. There was some talk of closing the street and razing the neighborhood after the Bueker exodus, but cooler heads prevailed, and Joan De Arc Avenue has since been preserved as something of a shrine in commemoration of the Bueker dynasty. It was quite a run.
    The Bueker family has announced that they will be quietly observing today's anniversary in seclusion.


Where are they now?
by J. Beaver

    The Buekers all still live in the Phoenix area with the exception of Carl, who is in heaven busy counting the money he saved by refusing to take his kids to Disneyland. As for the others:

  • Barbara Bueker was remarried and rewidowed, and now lives happily retired in north Phoenix with her incredibly lovable cat, Fancy.

  • Susan Bueker remarried twice and has just moved into a lovely new home in the far southwest Valley. She is a highly successful school teacher and mom.

  • Barbie Bueker should have remarried but didn't, and now lives in Mesa and is also a ethereally successful teacher and mother.

  • Charles III is married with kids and living in far south Phoenix, an extraordinarily successful aerospace engineer and chef.

  • John Bueker remarried once and lives in Peoria with his wife, 3 cats, 2 dogs, and fish. He is retired from teaching and is editor-in-chief of the Crusader.

For a special section on the Bueker's 40th anniversary in Arizona, turn to page A4.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ JDA


On the INSIDE: Editorials A2 / Summer Nostalgia A3 / Special Section: Buekers A4 / Crossword A5
Moon Phases: First Quarter: July 6  Full: July 13  Last Quarter: July 21  New: July 29
Printed copies of the Crusader available at