What’s in a Proper’s Name?

Propers [What’s in a Proper’s Name?]

The following poem was written by Nathan Proper for the 1989 Proper Clan Reunion Newsletter. He was 14 at the time. Your job during this reunion is to continue the poem from where he left off down the family line to you and your children and grandchildren.

Once upon a proper time

there was a proper Proper

named Johannes.

He married a woman who wasn’t quite so proper,

just on the brink—VandenBrink!

They had three little proper Propers

just as was proper.

The oldest was graceful—so was called Grace.

The next one always followed Grace around

so they called him Her—man.

Then came one whose hair always bounced

so they called him Bob.

After that they had enough of being proper

so they sold their property in their proper country—

Holland—and went to sail to Canada

–or fall over the BRINK of the world.

They got new property in Canada

and went back to being proper.

They got another little girl who always walked all over the place

so they called her Free—da.


After a long time as was proper

Grace stopped being proper

and married a Hocken—barely.

Herman fell head over heels in love with Van Oofen

and he became Her—man.

Bob decided to stay proper

and married a Neutral.

But Free—da wasn’t proper

and didn’t want to be like big brodders Her—man and Bob

so she married a Van Arrogant.


Now the two proper seniors are having a proper reunion.

Everyone must be proper

on their property

as is proper.

No being Arrogant, Neutral, Oofen, or Hocken—barely


Nathan Proper

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