Phoenix, Arizona / Monday, December 31, 2007
© 2007 by JPB Publishing Ltd.
Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 66 / Low 44
Fond memories recalled as Joan De Arc
prepares to ring in another new year
(BP) - Old acquaintance is decidedly not forgot on Joan De Arc Avenue, as residents past and present take time to review their favorite New Year’s Eve memories.
Former JDA resident and Crusader CEO John Bueker appears to recall the street’s year-ending celebrations of the ‘60s and ‘70s quite clearly. “I didn’t reach drinking age until after we left the street, so most of my New Year’s Eve memories from Joan De Arc are absolutely unclouded by alcohol abuse,” Bueker observed. “One thing I remember quite well is when my parents started allowing me to stay up until midnight on the big night. I had this thing I would do, flicking the outdoor Christmas lights on and off, precisely at the stroke of twelve. I imagined the neighbors all seeing this and thinking it was really cool, but now I realize that probably no one even noticed.” Bueker paused and then added, "I still think it was pretty cool, though."
Long time residents Bill and Helen Mitchell fondly remember their famous New Year’s Eve bridge games with Carl and Barbara Bueker .“We rarely beat the Buekers on New Year’s Eve, and if I didn’t know Carl better, I would suspect that he was cheating the whole time,” said Helen. “They just kept winning, and he would laugh and laugh. Hmmph.” Rumors persist on Joan De Arc that the Mitchells still have possession of the fabled Bueker Cup in a secret location at 3231.
Former resident Barbara Bueker Stewart regards New Year’s Eve 1969 as a particularly memorable evening. She insisted that all six members of the Bueker family be together at 3219 at midnight as the 1960s passed into history. “I felt it was important that we greet 1970 as a family, and so we did,” Stewart recently reminisced. “Needless to say, not everyone was happy about the idea, especially (daughter) Susan. She was a senior in high school that year and had other plans. But she showed up.”
On New Year’s Eve 1973, Avenue resident Chuck Bueker and pal Tom Mason embarked on a legendary drinking escapade that began with a bottle of cheap whiskey purchased at Thrifty Drug Store, and ended with a moderate case of alcohol poisoning and four highly annoyed parents. “I don’t think I ever threw up that much again, not even in college,” Bueker mused when asked for his recollection. The annual Bueker Cup bridge match that evening had to be briefly suspended while a visibly perturbed Carl Bueker drove to the Mason home to pick up his incapacitated youngster. Chuck Bueker was grounded for a month as a consequence, and is believed to have never again purchased liquor at Thrifty Drug Store.
Ah, what sweet memories indeed. The Crusader wishes all its dear readers more of the same tonight, and a very Happy New Year in 2008!
Mr. Grudgemeyer turns up at Mesa museum
By J. Bueker
Mr. Grudgemeyer, a legendary character on local television in the 1960s, recently surfaced at a Mesa museum to hawk a DVD of his classic appearances on the Wallace and Ladmo children’s show.
The well attended event took place December 15 at the Mesa Historical Museum, which is currently hosting the Wallace and Ladmo “Thanks for Tuning In” exhibit that runs through August of next year.
Grudgemeyer spent over four hours at the museum signing copies of his DVD and a wide variety of other Wallace memorabilia brought to the gathering by the adoring crowd. He also treated fans to a few of his famous lines from the show, including “Balloons...” and “Feed the birds…”
Mr. Grudgemeyer first appeared on the Wallace program in 1960, conceived as a foil to Ladmo before the pivotal character of Gerald was created to fill that role on a daily basis. Grudgemeyer and Ladmo interacted in a series of slapstick sketches in the nearby “park,” most of which usually devolved into the ritual destruction of the character’s respective straw hats and t-shirts. The mindless silliness of it all attained an almost sublime quality that still resonates with many an aging Phoenix baby boomer.
Apparently down on his luck after almost forty years of retirement, Grudgemeyer is hoping to enhance his 401k with proceeds from the DVD sales. He fiercely denied Internet rumors that he is now living “in a van down by the Salt River.” As for his dearly departed nemesis Ladmo, Grudgemeyer wistfully remarked “I miss him, as we all do, but I still think Ladmo was a dum-dum.”
The Grudgemeyer DVD is available online at www.wallacewatchers.com.
Stewart surgery disrupts Thanksgiving festivities
By J. Beaver
Barbara Bueker Stewart’s recent knee replacement surgery put a damper on this year’s traditional Bueker Thanksgiving celebration, according to family spokesman John Bueker.
Stewart had the replacement procedure done in late October, and as a consequence was unable to host the Turkey Day fete at her home in Moon Valley, as she has for many years. Doctors regarded the surgery and recovery as exceptionally tricky given Barbara’s disability of innate left-footedness, and strongly recommended against any undue exertions on her part for the foreseeable future.
“Yes, sadly, our mother regards her own comfort, mobility and physical independence as more important than our annual Thanksgiving celebration tradition at her home,” Bueker said when reached for comment. “And now she’s talking about having the other knee done in February, which will blow Easter right out of the water. I mean jeepers, what are we to think?”
The traditional Bueker celebration on Thanksgiving Day actually traces its roots back to the Joan De Arc era of the ‘60s and ‘70s. In more recent years, Barbara Stewart’s grandchildren have become equally enamored of the traditional holiday gathering, and are expressing similar disappointment regarding this year’s cancellation of the customary festivities.
Barbara Bueker Stewart made Joan De Arc news in September when she celebrated her 75th birthday at an elaborate surprise bash at her home. The party was deemed a major success by organizers and guests alike, which has led to preliminary planning for her 100th birthday celebration in 2032.
On a side note, Bueker Stewart’s surgery was entirely successful and she is well on the way to a complete recovery.
Moon Phases: Last Quarter: December 31 New: January 8 First Quarter: January 15 Full: January 22