Phoenix, Arizona / Saturday, October 31, 2009
© 2009 by JPB Publishing Ltd.
Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 80 / Low 56
Mitchells brace for yet another Halloween
(BP) – The pomp and pageantry of Halloween returns once again to Joan De Arc Avenue this evening as residents scramble to shore up their candy supplies and costume their excited offspring.
At 3231, veteran Avenuers Bill and Helen Mitchell are gearing up for yet another round of Halloween fun. The Mitchells have quite literally seen it all during their nearly five decades of Halloweens on the street, everything from outrageously overage trick-or-treaters to an unseasonal cold spell one October that obliged Surrey Heights children to wear coats over their costumes. Surprisingly enough, Bill and Helen still appear to enjoy the annual rite.
“Sure, we still get a kick out of it,” Helen remarked recently when asked to comment on Joan De Arc Halloweens in the 21st century. “I’d say on a typical Halloween these days we get about 50 kids at the door,” she noted. “We know this because we always count the candy out in advance. Naturally, we always buy treats we like, just in case there happens to be some left over.” A cursory investigation by the Crusader suggests that the Mitchells typically have quite a considerable amount of candy that “just happens to be left over” after each Halloween, raising eyebrows in even the normally jaded Crusader newsroom.
“Although,” Helen quickly adds, “we haven’t been seeing quite as many kids in recent years as we used to. And the kids who do show up seem somehow smaller nowadays.” Mitchell's perception of reduced trick-or-treater size may be due in part to the Avenue’s ever-changing demographics. For example, the average size of Joan De Arc residents decreased dramatically when the Bueker family left the street in the 1970s.
Looking back over the years, Helen recalls one memorable Halloween on Joan De Arc that was so unseasonably cold that “all the kids were wearing coats, which kind of spoiled the whole costume thing.” Mrs. Mitchell also well remembers a legendary Halloween night in the 1960s when an adult female on the street, “who shall remain unnamed,” created a celebrated scandal when she went out in full costume to trick-or-treat with her children, brazenly collecting candy goodies from her incredulous neighbors. “Even after all these years, you just don’t forget that sort of thing,” notes a still-stunned Helen Mitchell.
As is their custom, the Mitchells plan to hand out treats until approximately eight o’clock tonight, after which time “it’s lights out and tough luck,” quoth Helen.
Barbara Bueker Stewart returns to Sahuaro School
by J. Beaver
After an absence of almost 37 years, former Avenue resident Barbara Bueker Stewart recently made an appearance at Sahuaro School on the occasion of the institution’s 10th annual used book sale. Stewart’s triumphant return was her first visit to the neighborhood campus since youngest child John’s graduation ceremony in June 1972. John and wife Sue accompanied Barbara to the April event.
“I can’t say it’s changed much, from what I can remember,” observed Stewart upon her arrival in the Sahuaro parking lot. “I do recall occasionally picking you kids up from school over there by that curb,” she said, pointing to the sidewalk along 33rd Avenue. Interestingly, the front of the old cafeteria building looked somehow unfamiliar to the retired art teacher. “I guess I never looked at the school much from this particular direction,” she concluded.
Stewart shopped at the sale inside the cafeteria for approximately 40 minutes, picking up about a dozen books at the bargain-barrel price of three for a dollar. She then posed for a few photos with son John before departing to take a brief tour of her old street and then return home to the Moon Valley area where she has lived for the past 30 years.
In addition to her role as proud parent of four distinguished Sahuaro alumni, Stewart was extensively involved with the school’s Parent –Teacher Organization (PTO) for a number of years. She is still noted for her contributions to the legendary annual Sahuaro spaghetti dinner event.
Barbara Stewart derived so much nostalgic enjoyment from the school book sale that she has announced plans to continue revisiting Sahuaro every 37 years from now on.
Nancy Frank receives volunteer honor
By J. Bueker
Nancy Frank, whose legendary teaching career at Sahuaro School spanned four decades, has received the prestigious Award of Excellence from the National Retired Teachers Association for her prolific volunteer work in education.
Ms. Frank retired from the Sahuaro faculty over a decade ago, after 35 years in the classroom. Since her “retirement,” she has been a tireless volunteer, logging over 3000 hours as a tutor for OASIS, a national education and service organization. Frank ultimately signed on as the Volunteer Tutor Coordinator for OASIS, training up to 20 adult tutors each month. She also composed a monthly newsletter for the tutors, all in addition to carrying on with her own tutoring work.
During her long tenure at Sahuaro, Frank developed a reputation as a master teacher who enjoyed maintaining contact with students for many years after their departure from her classroom. In recent years she has remained a fixture at Sahuaro through her OASIS tutoring and other various volunteer activities.
Over the course of her career, Nancy Frank was teacher to about two dozen Joan De Arc Avenue children. Former Avenue resident Charles Bueker III, a student in Frank’s 4th grade class during the 1965-66 school year, was effusive in his praise of his former instructor and her recent honor.
“I am very pleased that having me as a student inspired Miss Frank to such lofty accomplishments,” Bueker reportedly remarked when asked to comment.
Moon Phases: Full: November 2 Last Quarter: November 9 New: November 16 First Quarter: November 24