Family Of Five Found Alive In Suburbs

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Vol 37 Issue 29

Friend's Wife Encountered Twice A Year

GERMANTOWN, TN—Local resident Wayne Beller has encountered Dennis Sharp's wife 12 times during the pair's six-year friendship. "For some reason, it's always twice a year," Whitman said Monday. "So far, I've run into [Sherri Sharp] once this year, when I returned Dennis' Roto-Tiller in early June. I'll probably see her again at some party around Christmastime, and that'll be it." Beller added that Sherri "seems nice enough."

Partygoers Drunkenly Recite 4-H Pledge

MISSOULA, MT—The 4-H pledge was drunkenly recalled Saturday, when a trio of former 4-H members recited the international youth organization's oath between swigs of beer at a house party. "I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living," shouted a heavily intoxicated Benjamin Brower, 29, who was active in 4-H from 1984 to 1986. "Holy shit, I can't believe I still remember that." The nostalgic group chant was followed by an attempt to recall what "Webelos" stands for.

Semiotics Department Accuses University Administration Of Anti-Semiotism

PROVIDENCE, RI—After years of budget cuts and downsizing, Brown University's Semiotics Department lashed out at school administrators Monday, accusing them of "blatant anti-semiotism." "How can such shamefully anti-semiotic acts be condoned in an enlightened society?" asked professor Don Frisch. "It deeply saddens me that in the year 2001, there are still people out there who discriminate against a group of people just because they engage in the study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language or other systems of communication." Frisch said he is outraged that his department has been relegated to the academic ghetto.

According To Nutritional Information, Local Man Just Had 16 Servings Of Fritos

WAUKESHA, WI—According to the nutritional information on the back of a bag of Fritos, area resident Jerry Ploeg just ate 16 servings of the popular corn chip. "Wow, I didn't realize there were so many servings in there," Ploeg said Tuesday, moments after finishing off the bag, which contained 220 grams of fat and 1,200 percent of the USRDA for sodium. "How big is a serving, anyway?" Ploeg then washed the Fritos down with five servings of Dr. Pepper.

Bank Robbers Fail To Consider O'Reilly Factor

PITTSBURGH, PA—Would-be bank robbers Anthony Nesco, 34, and James Dumas, 36, were foiled Monday after failing to take into account the O'Reilly Factor. "Before they charged into [Fidelity Savings Bank] waving their guns, those two creeps should have thought about me and my tough-talking, straight-shooting, no-nonsense style," said Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor and author of a best-selling book of the same name. "Normally, I take no prisoners, but I'll make an exception in the case of these two crum-bums: Lock 'em up and throw away the key, I say." O'Reilly added that it's absolutely ridiculous, the money these moddycoddled pro athletes make these days.

The Clone Wars

Across the U.S. and on Capitol Hill, debate is raging on the issue of human cloning. What do you think?
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Family Of Five Found Alive In Suburbs

BUFFALO GROVE, IL—The Holsapple family, long feared missing or spiritually dead, was found alive in the Chicago suburbs Monday, somehow managing to survive in the hostile environment for more than eight years.

A photo of the Holsapples, taken during their years in the wilderness.

Rescuers discovered the five-person clan after a survey plane spotted a crude signal fire the family had created in a barbecue grill.

"Imagine my surprise when, smack-dab in the middle of nowhere, I saw these flames," pilot Tony Riggs said. "I did a second pass and was shocked to see actual human beings down there. I remember thinking to myself, 'My God, who could live in a place like that?' It's incredible to imagine they survived there for so long."

Bill Holsapple, 41, wife Meredith, 39, and son Jay disappeared in June 1993, when, two months after Jay's birth, the family of three left their Chicago apartment for parts unknown. The three were not heard from again until Monday, when they were found in the suburban wasteland known as Buffalo Grove with two new family members, Kimberly, 4, and Jordan, 2.

To protect themselves from the elements, the Holsapples fashioned a three-bedroom, ranch-style lean-to with brick facing and white aluminum siding. During their years on the acre-and-a-half lot, the Holsapples faced many hardships, including septic-tank backups, frequent ant infestation, and the threat of rezoning to erect an industrial park across the street.

"The Holsapples were in pretty bad shape when we found them lying lifelessly on their patio furniture," paramedic Mary Gills said. "Their stomachs were bloated from years of soda and fast food, and they were all suffering from severe cultural malnutrition."

Upon discovery, the family was rushed back to civilization. Attempts to reassimilate the Holsapples into metropolitan living with a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and dinner at a nice Peruvian restaurant were met with resistance.

"When we got to the museum, the family became quite agitated," psychologist Dr. Allan Green said. "Jay kept calling all the modern art 'weird' and Meredith said, 'If we wanted to look at art, we could just go to Deck The Walls at the mall.'"

Green feared that the family was not ready to rejoin urban life after having received little or no cultural stimuli in the suburbs for nearly a decade.

"We were going to ease them into it, perhaps with a marginally artsy movie like Being John Malkovich," Green said. "Then Kimberly kept complaining that she missed 'Ashley' and wanted to go home. At first, I thought we'd left one of the family members behind, but then she said Ashley was a friend. I was shocked to learn of whole tribes of suburban dwellers, people who live their entire lives there."

Upon arriving in Buffalo Grove in 1993, the Holsapples befriended the locals, called "suburbanites," and soon adopted their ways entirely, from the mode of dress to the food they eat. Meredith Holsapple described in great detail the suburban settlements called "sub-divisions" where great emphasis is placed on maintaining lawns, watching televised sports, birthing children, listening to Top 40 music, and collecting stuffed animals.

According to University of Illinois– Chicago anthropologist Dr. Arthur Cox, to survive such an emotionally, culturally, and spiritually barren place, the Holsapples were forced to "go native."

"Much like those stranded in remote islands, the Holsapple family looked to the indigenous population to learn techniques for adaptation and survival," Cox said. "Shocking as it is, one eventually becomes acclimated and then numbed to the theme restaurants, cinema multiplexes, and warehouse-sized grocery stores.

"The world is full of strange, isolated cultures, but the American suburbs are unique among these in that virtually no culture exists there," Green said. "Even the Eskimos living in the most barren, remote Arctic regions have whale-bone art and beautiful storytelling traditions. The odd part about these suburbanites is how, unlike the Eskimos and other isolated groups, they live in close proximity to places brimming with art, life, and vitality. Yet somehow, they shut all of it out. We don't know the reason for this, but I don't think anyone wants to spend enough time in the suburbs to find out."

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