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April 1st – All Fools’ Day

April 1, 2013

Elephant On StreeWhen I was young, every April 1st the phone would ring early in the morning (usually just before it was time to leave for school). Whichever of the kids was closest to it at the time would be told to answer it. On the other end, my (maternal) grandmother (who lived in an apartment four blocks down the street from our house) would excitedly say, “Go look out the window. There’s an elephant coming up the street.”

Even though this was an annual ‘prank’, whoever had answered the phone would put down the receiver, go to the window, look out, and then return to the phone to say, “Gee Grammy, I don’t see anything”. And she would laugh and call, “April Fool”.

April Fools

According to references cited on Wikipedia, April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.  The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 by Pope Gregory XIII as New Year’s Day of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, sometimes questioned for earlier references”.


My grandmother loved birthdays, Christmas, and April Fool’s Day

As kids, we’d often engage in various ‘April Fool’s’ pranks with family and friends – nothing malicious, of course, just the odd practical joke or harmless teasing or some type of misdirection that would end with (hopefully shared) laughter and a call of ‘April Fool’. The tomfoolery always ended at noon (according to a study done in the 1950s, this time limit came from April Fool’s traditions in the United Kingdom; the practice seems to have lapsed in recent years and those who engage in chicanery on April 1st – including some newspapers, radio stations and TV outlets – continue to ‘trick’ people all day long).

I haven’t played an ‘April Fool’s joke’ on anyone for a very long time (I pulled the old ‘elephant coming up the street’ hoax a couple of times on my own boys when they were little), but every April 1st I think about the simple joy my grandmother (who died in 1980) got from those once-yearly phone calls and I think, ‘Maybe I’ll do the same thing with my own grandchildren someday’. Now all I have to do is wait for them to arrive; I am, after all, on … the other side of 55.

Fool Quote

  1. April 4, 2013 12:27 pm

    Loved the “elephant” idea. I might have to try that one year. My best (and only) prank was the year I picked up my kids after school and told them they had dentist appointments. I always made the appts. for the four of them on the same day, so it was believable. But boy did they complain. They complained the whole way to Dairy Queen where I surprised them with “April Fools” and an ice cream cone.

  2. April 1, 2013 9:35 pm

    I kind of skipped April fools day this year. I’ve never been good at this sort of thing! Oh and hey I nominated you for the versatile blogger award. 🙂

  3. April 1, 2013 3:17 pm

    I sent a resignation letter to my boss early in the morning informing her that I was quitting and would never come back to work.

    Unfortunately she sent me a mail back with just two words – “Thank god.”

    So that was the end of that…

  4. April 1, 2013 12:11 pm

    I told my husband that I was moving to Bolivia. He wasn’t fooled. At least I tried 🙂

    • April 1, 2013 1:11 pm

      Maybe you should have said you were headed to the French Riviera (with James Bond, perhaps)?!?!?!?


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