Saturday, March 28, 2009


I am torn by the compassion and concern that I feel for Nadya Suleman and her children with the realization that this woman who lived in a shoe made all this happen. I dislike the attention paid to and the cacophonous and resounding very public rejection of narcissistic Miss. Nadya’s seemingly irresponsible behaviors. Based on the many editorials and countless threads I have seen lately from around the world, this post is more moderate than many. Most of the reactions have been extraordinarily visceral in their condemnation of Miss. Nadya, have included death threats and are mostly unfit to repeat in even less than polite company.

For me the major issue is irresponsible behavior and ultimate accountability for that conduct. In most cases failure to perform to task or engaging irresponsible behaviors or breaking the law will result in negative consequences. Miss Nadya is being rewarded for her irresponsibility and we have allowed the achievement of her goal of more than just five minutes of fame. That may soon end, however, given her ever evolving negative image though sympathies will always be directed at the innocent victims of this debacle – the children – all fourteen of them. And, that’s what is clouding this issue…

The nation and at least the paparazzi and paying media are overly obsessed and we are now overdosed with Suleman, the divorced, single mother of fourteen (all under age eight) and the absolutely outrageous and immature decisions and events that led up to her birth of octuplets in the land of fruits, nuts and berries aka California on January 26, 2009.

At this point I could care less about this woman. Most people think she’s nuts, incredibly manipulative and from non-professional perches, in dire need of help. I shudder at the realization of her dream come true of a “huge family” and were it not such a tragedy, invite horror fiction writer Stephen King to come in and do it justice. What I do care about are her children, their health and well being and ultimate future which will, no doubt, be funded by the already strapped citizens of California and the United States.

We can all be accused of pandering to our basest desires to exploit in a tabloid frenzy those in our society who make bad or, at the least, unconventional decisions. For entertainment we live on a diet of sensationalism that’s akin to going to the stock car races for the wrecks or hockey games just for the fights. All the major networks have seen that we continue to be well-fed on a diet of exclusive interviews with Miss. Nadya this and that with a sprinkle of Gloria Allred and Dr. Phil, here and there.

It is a sick and disgusting scenario though we now appear to have hit the tipping point where public indignation is at the fore and we are paying attention to the doctor(s) that allowed this to happen. I agree that doctors aren’t policeman, but they have a legal and ethical responsibility to gage the fabric of their patients and the ultimate welfare of the resultant children. Question: Fertility treatment for a mother of six? One of the heart rending developments in this whole scenario is that there are apparently no sets of octuplets where any of the children have escaped severe disabilities.

If this isn’t one of the most egregious violations of bioethics, then I have been sleeping with the Van Winkles. However, I sure don’t want us to address the slippery slope where someone (like the Chinese) starts telling us how many children we can have. We usually depend on societal mores, financial reality and good old common sense to form those decisions. Two of those three appear to be missing here. Two states (Georgia and Missouri) are now considering bills that would limit the number of implantable embryos. Don’t know if I like that either.

One of the better lines of the season came out of this story where the fertility doctor was revealed as the one and only “Dr. Otto Octavius” (funny sort of) of the West Coast IVF Clinic who had, “egg on his face.” Aye! Many including ABC News have speculated and are now reporting that the physician is none other than Dr. Michael Kamrava, Director of the clinic who is apparently going to be asked some questions by the Medical Board of California. It will be interesting to see their conclusions. Dr. Jamie Grifo, Director of the New York University Fertility Center and member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently stated, “Eight babies at once is a medical travesty.” Arthur Caplan, the highly regarded Chairman of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania expressed grave concerns, "I find it a huge ethical failure that she was even accepted as a patient."

It sure looks to many that this is nothing more than a glorified photo op and reality show and that’s what the apparently egocentric, self aggrandizing Miss. Nadya planned all along. This woman might be one…. no three, short of a dozen or as my son says, “One taco short of a combo plate.” All with whom I have talked feel that she is mentally ill. She appears by her own admission to be using her kids to fill some real or imagined childhood void though that has been disputed by Suleman’s Mother. Really, what’s she going to say?

Miss Nadya has apparently paid not one earned farthing for the upkeep of her new babies and without a job, the prospects of one or any visible means of support and without an appropriate home for these children, it appears that the aforementioned tax payers are going to foot the entire bill.

Suleman with her mantra, “My kids are my life”, has confidently stated despite a severely contracting economy that she will get by with, “the help of family, friends, and her church” though those folks do not appear to have materialized in sufficiency of late. Much of Suleman’s coin seems to have been generated by the press and media who appear willing to pay (NBC didn’t) for those “exclusive interviews” while they continue to pour salt into the wound and bait the field for further revelations which will surely manifest themselves. It would appear that Miss. Nadya is counting on her notoriety to generate book deals, a movie, TV series on childrearing (?) and even the sale of her video birthing the octuplets to earn a living. Gees!

Suleman's first (and former) public relations representative, the Killeen Furtney Group created and apparently maintains and still administers the Nadya Suleman Family Web site which displays the photos, names and weights of all the eight newborns. The main purpose of the site is to apparently provide a vehicle for simpaticos to donate money directly online to Miss. Nadya or send items to a Los Angeles address. We need note that Joann Killeen claims that they were assisting Suleman, pro bono as did her most recent and now departed publicist, Victor Munoz who is credited with the most recent evaluation of his former client as, “Nuts.” Munoz was apparently disgusted when as he alleges, Suleman is shopping around the aforementioned video tape of her most recent multiple births for at least, “seven figures.”

Of course, despite her protestations and assurances otherwise, we have lately found out that she is, indeed, receiving public assistance (food stamps and child disability payments for three of her first six?) and the hospital has already petitioned the state of California for assistance. It would appear that Suleman isn’t even going to get a bill for this debacle. It remains a miracle how our new multiple Octo Mom is going to engage her intent to return to school this fall and also raise her children? Do the math...

Miss Nadya is now complaining about a lack of privacy though she broadcast to the world her residence address and then basically invited you and I into her home, such as it is (gross). She bars cameras one minute and then later allows them to document one of the many squabbles and immature, manic tirades with her 69-year-old Mother, Angela Victoria Suleman who appears to be the sanest of the bunch and the only real caregiver that Miss Nadya’s first six kids have ever had. I just imagine that the new once again grandmother is scared to death what her role is now going to be in the nurturing and raising of not six but fourteen children. It would appear that despite her protestations Mother Angela may end up bearing much of the burden of raising all of Miss Nadya’s children.

Not to be outdone, personalities like Gloria Allred, attorney for the now ousted Angels in Waiting the not for profit that graciously donated nurses and care for Suleman’s new babies. Apparently Allred has been in the home and as one of the in resident personalities did not shy from the cameras and early morning TV. Her presence and the (if justified) obligatory reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) by Angels in Waiting were apparently too much for Suleman who claims that the relationship just wasn’t a good fit.

So now come the private nurses and a more controlled and scrutiny-free environment where the pot will continue to be stirred unabated on Suleman’s terms until all the seas gang dry

The fact that we have provided a ready vehicle to capitalize on an unrealistic, aberrant, fairy tale desire for a large family, despite and whatever the consequences, needs the light of day. At this point, however, I am getting so sick and tired of hearing about Suleman that I would just as soon all this would go away.

As of this writing this whole issue has apparently evolved to the point where WE are the story. Our reaction and “moral outrage” in the opinion of at least one psychoanalyst represents our jealousy and envy of Suleman’s “great achievement.” I don't know if we have witnessed such a great achievement though the estimation of this gentleman may not be far off...

We wish all the children well with our sincere hopes that they will someday achieve and live normal and healthy lives.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, March 21, 2009


From San Jose, CA to Boulder, CO to Plano, TX to Atlanta, GA to Sarasota, FL to Bradford, PA and all of New England the sightings of wild animals to especially include deer, raccoons, opossums, wiley coyotes, snakes, alligators, squirrels, rabbits, birds of all varieties and other fauna remain the norm. As of late, however, the bobcat, black bear, javelina and the mountain lion (with all its myriad names) have become more common and a reminder that not only are we not alone - we are, in fact, the interlopers. For the purposes of this piece we are going to concentrate on the Bobcat (Lynx rufus).

Recent local sightings of bobcats have stirred apprehension and fear in some while others revel that these animals have been able to continue to find a good homecoming despite our trespass. So, what’s the big deal? Really nothing is the answer. They are doing their thing and we are doing ours and hopefully never the twain shall meet.

The Castle Pines community south of Denver and north of Castle Rock, Colorado was recently rousted when some bobcats were seen in their neighborhood. Instead of forming drooling Neanderthal vigilante posses intent on hunting down and killing our furry friends, they issued the following proclamation.
Bobcats have been seen in the neighborhood recently, so PLEASE watch your small dogs, cats and children and DO NOT leave them outside unattended. We have had coyotes in the neighborhood forever, but now the bobcats are here also. Remember, we live among the wildlife and they were here before us! So, we need to respect the situation and watch our animals and children at all times.
Whoa, understanding and compassion in our economically-wracked, environmentally insensitive manic times? Thank God. Unfortunately that’s balanced by the obsessed reaction of a Bradford, PA citizen who despite evidence that his “cat” sighting was a bobcat, continues to insist that it was a hybrid of a mountain lion and a bobcat? I have a tough time trying to reconcile even that concept since both have an incredible territorial imperative. Can’t you just picture a 150 pound mountain lion trying to have its way with a 35 pound bobcat? Not likely. Here comes Sasquatch and Nessie holding hands…

The reaction to the realization of the presence of wild animals in our midst and the tendency to exaggerate and leap to unfathomable conclusions continues to amaze and entertain this writer. The mountain lion (besides Humans and Gray Wolves) is the only natural predator of the bobcat which would more than likely end up on the mountain lion’s buffet table.

A bobcat sighting in nearby Frisco, Texas was appropriately handled. Local officials stated that unless there was a threat to residents they, “Wouldn’t do anything.” Frisco's senior animal control officer, Mike Hansen, reflected that wild animals such as the bobcat have adapted well to urban environments and unless they become aggressive, he sees no reason to remove them. Hansen continued, "People see something like that and think, 'That doesn't look right. They shouldn't be here’, but they're out there; they're part of the ecosystem. Most people just don't see them." Well done, Mike!

We need to note that bobcats have elevated themselves from endangered status in many areas with their sightings no longer rare. They have recovered their populations to the degree that many US states now have bobcat hunting seasons. I find that activity repugnant, problematic and wonder why in the 21st century we have a need to go out and kill these beautiful animals for sport or the ludicrous justification to engage some ill conceived, non existent threat to Man.

Our bobcat is a reclusive, solitary animal that mostly tends to stay out of developed areas though they, admittedly, aren’t very far away. They are generally only on the prowl in the hours around dawn, dusk and the evening hours and their diet includes rabbits, shrews, squirrels, opossums, rats, mice and other small mammals and birds. Apparently at least one small pet has also been targeted witness a recent isolated attack on a small dog in Plano, Texas. Reposing in his large fenced backyard the dog must have appeared to the bobcat as a filet mignon in a supermarket meat case - easy pickings. Wildlife officials reflect that these attacks are very, very rare.

Plano Animal Services Manager Jamey Cantrell has indicated that it's impossible to estimate how many bobcats live in Plano, but noted that, "They're quite crafty and smart. If they were easy to catch there wouldn't be that many of them out there." They do adapt well to most Human environments and apparently there are several bobcats that have territories up and down Legacy Drive west.

I am well familiar with one Plano, Texas company that has property near the intersection of Preston Road and Legacy Drive. That property includes a credible river, creek, scrub, trees and sufficient thick cover for many critters. That property is home to scores of ducks, geese, egrets, herons, rabbits, squirrels and some grounded birds that look like guinea fowl from afar.

I have noted after almost two seasons at this locale that the spring populations of rabbits appear plenteous while by autumn their numbers appear greatly diminished. I suspect that the rat and mice populations are likewise reduced. Yes, that property is also home to one or more well-fed bobcats who appear to be thriving despite the fact that the company trapped and relocated two bobcats prior to the construction of their headquarters. Sightings still occur at least monthly with one member of that company’s staff designated as the “Indigenous Kitty Monitor” generating all the appropriate spread sheets documenting sightings.

Lest some of us get too upset with this latest revelation that Mother Nature is still with us, Texan Wendee Holtcamp, freelance writer, photographer, scientist, educator and self proclaimed Bohemian and “mover-n-shaker” put it all in perspective in her recent article Cat of All Trades in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. Holtcamp hit the nail on the head by noting that “Bobcats are adapting well to life in suburbia, where they mostly eat rats and squirrels - not cats and dogs.”

In her well written article Wendee collaborated with Ellen Stringer-Browning, a Ph.D. student at University of Texas–Arlington who has spent the past three years researching bobcats in Big Bend National Park and at River Legacy Parks, a 1,300-acre forested preserve along the formerly sweet smelling Trinity River in Arlington, Texas which borders a residential neighborhood where as she tongue-in-cheek reflects, “the bobcats have, um, invaded."

Stringer-Browning commented in the article, "Of all North American cats, they've become the only one that can handle high-level disturbance. Because of that, biologists study bobcats as a sort of model organism. "It's a way to get answers about other species. How do they survive when ocelots or margays can't?" Throughout North America – and around the world – most wild feline species have declined as human populations have grown and encroached on their habitat. The bobcat stands in a class apart, having been able to survive and even thrive near human development.”

So, we are dealing with a benchmark species, our canary in the coal mine and harbinger of the future that’s reflecting we just might be able to co-exist with our native wildlife. Despite the current economic downturn, we continue our march towards extinction while the bobcats and other native species are doing most of the accommodating. They are expanding and prowling their natural range - our woodlands and neighborhoods - and play an important role in our natural world. These skilled predators help keep rabbit and rodent populations in check and promote the eureka validation that the environment will allow for a natural system of checks and balances. Bottom line: The bobcats have their place in our world and we need to respect their space and their contributions to our environment.

By the way, Trevor Tanner, wildlife biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife recently confirmed a mountain lion (ghosts with long tails) sighting in Collin County (Plano) within the past year further confirming that other wildlife species are expanding.

And who’s that nut at that Plano company who’s monitoring their bobcat population? Yep, it’s me.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The American Legion was formally organized on the occasion of the now famous Paris Caucus on March 15, 1919, almost four months after the signing of the armistice with Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of nineteen-hundred and eighteen. Attended by one thousand stalwarts and most recent veterans of the “The Great War”, (WWI), those souls included senior officers to privates who in the spirit of a true democracy would work, cajole, debate/argue and rub shoulders with each other in an admirable egalitarian spirit. That commitment and demeanor would be set in stone and become the hallmark and legacy of the organization and forever amaze the French, English and other Allies (and former adversaries) who drew much sterner, almost unapproachable class lines. This would become an organization of equals born of Pericles and the best ideals of the day.

That demeanor and spirit of fellowship was facilitated from within the officer ranks for shortly after the caucus was called to order it was unanimously approved that during the meeting and while in the convention hall, “the after-war status as fellow civilians be forecast and that the stations of rank would there cease to exist. It was agreed that they would be resumed with full force and full discipline as soon as the delegates crossed the threshold of the convention hall and regained the street.” Some have speculated that Colonel G. Edward Buxton’s hand, among others, was stirring the pot…

One of the real untold stories about the formation of the American Legion was how those officers who laid the framework for The Legion insisted that enlisted men from each branch of the service represent their constituencies and be in Paris for the caucus. The administrative, bureaucratic protocols (and Dollars) to accomplish that goal were not in place so officers attached more “orderlies” and "aides" to their staffs, cut fake orders and travel permits for others while many more enlisted men miraculously acquired rare diseases and ailments that could only be treated in Paris. Really, there should be a movie how the officers of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) guaranteed perhaps not an equal but a significant cadre of enlisted men for The Legion’s first full meeting. Appropriately, The Legion went on to become an organization primarily for the enlisted person. That meeting could not have been held were it not for the complete support of the officer ranks from General Pershing down.

So the formation of the American Legion was accomplished not only by a seemingly divine inspiration, but with a wink and a nod, also by trickery and intrigue that easily circumvented what was then a complicit and cooperative military bureaucracy.

In the tradition of the only other existing veterans groups at that time - Great Army of the Republic (GAR) and the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) - the American Legion was born, similar in some respects to though better than the GAR and the UCV, “composed of all parties, all creeds, and all ranks, who wished to perpetuate American ideals and the relationships formed while in the military and national service.” We thank the late George Seay Wheat for his contemporary (1919) chronology, The Story of The American Legion which documents much of the effort and perspectives of the founding members of the American Legion. We have quoted some of his passages in this post. Well done, George and God Bless.

No doubt that part of the motivation to organize The Legion was a sentiment born out of concern about Veterans rights and the state of the union. Such was their commitment and sense of duty the veterans of that ultimate conflict felt they had a moral obligation to engage concerns over the future of our Republic.

One such man was Colonel G. Edward Buxton, Jr. who like George Patton, Bill Donovan and Douglas MacArthur had already distinguished himself as an “out of the trenches and over the top” commander of the second Battalion of the 328th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Division. He would later be promoted to Inspector-General of the 82nd and receive several medals and citations (including the Purple Heart), one presented by General George Pershing on April 19, 1919 for “exceptionally meritorious and conspicuous service in the field.” The record lacks detail on the nature of the service which was believed to be related to his previous distinguished record as well as some clandestine post-war intelligence gathering
of the Donovan ilk. Not surprising for a War Correspondent for the Providence Journal (8-14 to 1-15) who had been previously arrested by the Germans for his "journalistic" activities behind their lines.

Colonel Buxton was well known as the commanding officer of one Corporal Alvin York who had indicated his concerns about the morality of war. Then Major Buxton and his Company Commander Captain Edward Danforth, Jr. while in training at Camp Gordon had several chats with York where they discussed the issue. Buxton was an engaged and very accessible commanding officer: the template for the consummate, modern “people person.” He didn’t hesitate to gather his Battalion together to discuss items of mutual interest from the fine art of saluting to history. The US Army emulated that management style later incorporating that in their officer training manuals. As Alvin York later stated, “He had a kinder habit of getting us soldiers together and talking to us, something like a father talks to his sons. I’m a telling you he sorter looked upon us as his sons, too.”

After their meetings Buxton sent York back home to Tennessee to ponder his moral dilemma. York returned refreshed, confident and as history records was elevated to hero status after demonstrating exemplary service and bravery in the field.

Buxton went on to compile a distinguished record as a captain of industry and outstanding public servant to our nation. Colonel Buxton’s biography, Sergeant York’s Major, can be found at

For this last week the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 of Bradenton, Florida has been celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of The Legion, hence the topic of this posting. Under the very capable leadership of well known educator and Korean Veteran, Commander Len Sirotzki, their post has organized a celebration of heroic proportions with participation and representation of the military and by the descendents of the Stewart, York and Buxton Families.

George Edward Buxton York, retired minister who at 86 is the eldest surviving son of Alvin York; Kirby Stewart, 78, retired University of Florida professor and nephew to Kirby Stewart and Ned Buxton, 65, grandson and namesake of Colonel G. Edward Buxton, Jr are participating in this grand affair. While this writer was available via the telephone, I, unfortunately, could not participate in person though York and Stewart are in Bradenton, Florida as of this writing. The Buxton Family wanted to participate and prepared the following message which was distributed to the assembled celebrants.

Commander Sirotzki, George York, Kirby Stewart, Lt. General John Allen, other distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen of the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post #24 and other guests of this historic celebration, congratulations on your benchmark and historic recognition of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion!

I bring warm greetings and good wishes from the Buxton Family with our only regret that we could not send a personal representative to share this glorious occasion with you. Unfortunately, a recent loss in our Family prevented our on site participation.

We are with you in spirit and thought, however, and salute this effort to recognize the formation of the American Legion with the acknowledgement of two of the original founders of the Legion - one Sergeant Alvin Cullum York of Tennessee and of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 328th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Division and Colonel G. Edward Buxton, Jr. of Rhode Island - and Second Lieutenant Kirby Stewart of Florida whose valiant sacrifice helped make victory in World War One possible.

History once again allows us the opportunity to recall and reference that famous engagement with the Germans at Hill 223 in the Meuse-Argonne near Chatel-Chehery on October 8, 1918 by Corporal Alvin York and his squad who rose to the occasion, renewed the Allied Offensive, broke the German line, allowed the capture of the Decauville Railroad and mightily facilitated the German retreat from the Argonne Forest.

While York bore the greater burden of the initiative and the achievement of the firefight, he never failed to give credit to his fellow soldiers for their heroics and participation in that engagement in the Meuse-Argonne contrary to the almost mythological aspects that time and ceaseless repetition of the story have generated. York specifically singled out Second Lieutenant Kirby Stewart who had initially led the advance on the machine gun nests, bravely attacked and drew the fire from that same band of one hundred and thirty-two German soldiers who York and his squad outflanked at Hill 223 and captured later that same day.

Buxton was York’s Battalion Commander who among other achievements would become known as, “Sergeant York’s Major” and was the Historian of the 82nd Division. Buxton with his now famous “Dutch Uncle” meetings with York helped Alvin make his decision to stay in the Army. That heroic decision would have long term affects on the history of our nation.

Colonel Buxton was one of the original twenty American Expeditionary Force (AEF) officers that met at the Allied Officers’ Club in Paris on the night of February 16th, 1919 to discuss the formation of what would become the American Legion. Others in that group included good Friends Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and Col. William J. Donovan of the Rainbow Division who would later head up the OSS in WWII. Buxton would join him as Deputy Director and 2IC of the OSS.

It was Buxton who had long discussed the potential of a Veterans group and called for the immediate formation of such an organization rather than wait until their return to the States. This prompted the now famous Paris Caucus on March 15, 1919 attended by one thousand delegates from all ranks from private to brigadier general where every combat division and all noncombatants (S.O.S. units) were represented. Both Buxton and York were there with both contributing mightily to the proceedings. Colonel Buxton and his Constitution Committee wrote the American Legion Constitution and its now famous preamble.

Lt. Kirby Stewart’s spirit was also there in Paris and at every American Legion meeting since continuing to inspire and motivate all of us to be the best that we can be. The indomitable spirit of The American Legion and lifetime Friends Ned Buxton and Alvin York was summed up by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who stated,

“The idea underlying the formation of the American Legion is the feeling among the great mass of the men who served in the forces of this country during the war, that the impulse of patriotism which prompted their efforts and sacrifices should be so preserved that it might become a strong force in the future for true Americanism and better citizenship.”

Indeed it has. As Colonel Buxton would have said, “Well done and carry on.”

Thank you,

G. Edward Buxton III
Dallas, Texas
March 13, 2009

Indeed, the congressionally chartered American Legion continues to thrive and be a force of positive change and empowerment, especially as it relates to Veterans Rights as well as the ever studious watchdog of our freedoms.

The original American Legion preamble reads as follows, “We, the members of the Military and Naval Service of the United States of America in the great war, desiring to perpetuate the principles of Justice, Freedom, and Democracy for which we have fought, to inculcate the duty and obligation of the citizen to the State; to preserve the history and incidents of our participation in the war; and to cement the ties of comradeship formed in service, do propose to found and establish an association…”


Ned Buxton

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I was going to work the other day and as I was waiting for the red light at Preston and Arapaho, this tank of a station wagon pulls up beside me. A graying Gentleman/Captain in his (perhaps) fifties was in full command of his boat and while at the red light was texting and later talking on his I Phone. He had a really nifty top of the line TomTom GPS along with several other high tech gee gaws that lit up the interior of the vehicle belying the fact that his chariot was an albatross from a previous age. He had obviously transcended that antiquity as the interior of his vehicle looked more like the starship Enterprise.

The vehicle in question was a 1974 Buick Estate Station Wagon, just like the one owned by my Dad many years before which firmly etched in my memory banks. Believe it, the 1974 to 1976 Buick Estate Station Wagons were the largest station wagons ever built. They were huge and cavernous - the automotive battleships of their day. Dad could transport a whole kids’ soccer team in his vehicle and did so with some regularity (Go Brunonia!). These big sturdy wagons, born out of the railroad era, were the proud though doomed predecessors of the Van Age. Scots please note the Saltire on front license plate in the above photo.

Our wagon was tan in color and with a faux wood grain exterior trim which Buick ostensibly used to attract the more affluent members of our society: those with obvious good taste (the Ozzie & Harriett crowd). Buick wanted to conjure up memories of kinder and gentler times though now it’s been relegated to an object of reverence though mostly curiosity and nostalgia, witness this writer. The wagon’s huge size and eye popping, high performing 455 cubic inch V8 engine meant that it could only survive in an era of sub $1.00 per gallon gasoline prices. Indeed, the big Estate Wagons would go the way of the wind and the dinosaur and were downsized in 1977. The new mandated fuel economy standards meant that the big tanks were doomed to the junk pile and that’s where most ended up. Indeed, when you Google the car you mostly get the names of junk yards and parts dealers that specialize in replacement parts for these outdated beasties.

I think it interesting that with an original MSRP of just over $5K US that car is now worth well over $12K US (less than mint) in today’s marketplace. I did note that the current owners of a ’74 Buick Estate Wagon that had been converted for funeral home use is now going for a very affordable $1,740.00. We suspect that it doesn’t run. At any rate, I am sure that there’s a college fraternity out there that could come up with the coins for that purchase? Dad ended up donating his Estate Wagon to a local church when it became obvious that it needed some major work on the engine. As a man who greatly appreciated the value and worth of any item I wonder what his reaction would be to its current valuation?

Estate Wagons have even achieved cult status and probably because nostalgic old farts like me who owned and/or drove them, remember and appreciate their presence in so many movies to include the iconic The Blues Brothers, Thelma & Louise, Car Wash and Best of the Best, among many others.

Many folks in my generation to include great Friends Jim and Jo Pennington of Chattanooga owned a vehicle in that Goliath genre; in their case an old Plymouth Station Wagon that served them well and was generally the top seller for Plymouth for many years. For a fairly comprehensive glimpse into our station wagon past, please do not hesitate to surf over to

Driving one of these gas-guzzling monsters was also a pretty good way to stay in shape. Power steering aside, they required some muscle and as big as they were, a flight plan should have been filed so that other, more diminutive vehicles could stay out of your way… I vividly remember the difficulty I had negotiating my GMC Yukon XL in the mountains around Erwin, Tennessee, then home to good Friends Mike Wilson and Tad, Beverly and Charlie Sims. I cannot even comprehend how that big Buick Estate wagon could even fit on some of those very narrow, steep, switchback mountain roads. By necessity it had to own the whole road…

Fast forward to today and we see that many manufacturers including Subaru, Volvo, Mazda, Suzuki, Saab (goodbye), BMW, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Volkswagen and domestic manufacturers Dodge and Chevrolet (wannabes) are producing small to mid size (some hybrid) crossover station wagons that better appeal to our economy, agility, utility and our green, downsizing mentality. Sure not the form and function of my Father’s Buick Estate Wagon!

We see that GM’s Buick brand has miraculously survived the initial downsizing of this once all-dominant automobile manufacturer. The Buick has been all but reinvented with GM even proclaiming that “This is not your father’s Buick!” a seeming take off on one of their old advertising proclamations, “This is not your Grandfather’s Buick.” I find this generational, geriatric snub a tad alienating not to mention confusing as the Buick used to be that first grand step of the middle class to automotive respectability. With an ever aging and more affluent population, what would they recommend for us blue hairs? GM and their Buick line appear between the rock and the hard place with their future bleak at best.

With GM and Buick trying to escape an ever aging demographic and that being their primary though diminishing customer base, they have to at least literally try to reinvent the wheel. That failing, Buick won’t be around much longer. Aside from that, how do you convince a potential buyer to purchase a car from a nearly (and apparently impending) bankrupt manufacturer?

Guess that we won’t be seeing the resurrection of the Buick Estate Wagon anytime in the near future. If there is ever a renaissance of these big wagons and I get weird and want to buy one, maybe I can make an offer to our Buick Estate Wagon texting Friend the next time we meet at the traffic light. Haven’t seen him since…


Ned Buxton