Monday, March 05, 2007


In our ancient lit. class which corresponds to our humanities studies, we recently read Herodotus' "Histories," his chronicled of the Persian War and its causes. He has a very interesting (sometimes annoying) way of going off on tangents and finally returning to his "real" topic pages or chapters later :) So the class was told to write a short history of some aspect of their family in the style of Herodotus. Here's my attempt (keep in mind, I have exhaggurated some things just a bit... ;)

There was a certain family who lived some distance north of the great river Columbia in the region of Battleground in Clark County, remarkable not only for the fact that they had 8 sons and 4 daughters but also peculiar in their habits. The house was naturally quite large with 14 rooms, including a dining hall which contained an enormous oak table, and 5 bedrooms. As the family grew, Tom and Cindy--the parents of this household--determined to buy a table capable of seating many children and guests, and with money given them by Tom's parents for this purpose, searched for many weeks before finding one. I am told that it was sturdy, made of solid oak with metal fasteners and screws, able to extend, by means of telescoping beams and removable leaves, from a small circular table no more than 5 feet in diameter to a length of at least 20 feet--or so my sources tell me, though I believe they exhagurate. The furniture salesman claimed that even a full-grown man could stand on it without causing damage, and he promptly demonstrated his faith in that claim by walking across it himself. This is fortunate, for the children frequently climbed across the table to get food for which they were too proud to ask. But I have already spoken of this matter in more detail than it perhaps deserves.

There were three brothers who shared a bedroom, Christopher being the oldest and Jonathan and Benjamin two of his younger brothers. As is common among boys, none of these were very concerned with cleanliness, and if it weren't for the patience and hard work of their mother, the room would never have looked inhabitable. But as time wore on, Christopher recieved the privilege of his own bedroom--why he was the only son to ever enjoy that his brothers never knew--and from that point on there were four brothers living in the same room. It was not uncommon for those entering the room to be unable to tell whether the floor was carpet or wood. Gradually, as more discipline was exercised things began to look better, but regardless of how everything looked there were still underlying conflicts and difficulties.

Take for example the strange dissapearance of the socks. Though their mother often restocked the supply, the children often complained that they had no socks to wear, and that this compelled them to wear sizes that were much to large or none at all. Indeed, it was as though they were whisked off one by one by some malicious sock-hating spirit, though this seems unlikely. This mystery was never solved, but if I may volunteer my own opinion I beleive that the younger ones, whose habit it was to wander outside in their socks, abandoned them and then forgot their wherabouts. This they also did with the larger socks until the whole household groaned under the weight of the sock famine.

Another fact which may interest some was the way in which clothing changed hands without the actual owners' knowledge. It may seem obvious to some, but when piles of clothing are left on the floor, mixups naturally occur. Shouts of glee and joyful howling usually meant that someone had just recovered a shirt or treasured sock, which they had thought never to see again, from the possession of another.

Many other habits could be mentioned, enough to convince the reader that the Berkompas family was really quite different, but many people are blind to the fact that they too are unique, and have practices that some would consider strange, even frightening. From this we may learn not to judge families by their peculiarities, realizing that we too may be judged.