Why do we play April Fool's Day jokes? The most popular theory is that it began in the late 1500's in France when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted and New Year's Day changed from April 1 to January 1. Anyone still celebrating the New Year on April 1 was considered a fool and was ridiculed and sent on fool's errands, thus becoming an April Fool.
I only remember one April Fool as a child. I looked out the east window and told Mom, "There's a skunk coming up the sidewalk!" She looked out the door and I yelled and laughed, "April Fool".
My best joke that I remember was on my Dad but wasn't an April Fool joke. Dad's choice living room spot was the couch where he would stretch out just as he is above in this picture with his Mother - my Grandma Bessie Lynam. In this picture, the couch is under the west window, but at the time of my prank, the couch was along the north wall to the right of the north window. Our TV set was on a stand in the northwest corner.
I think there were only two chairs and the couch in the living room, so it was usual for at least a couple of us kids to lie on the floor in front of the TV. I was probably around twelve years old when I got my brilliant idea: I took the vacuum cleaner hose and ran it behind the couch with one end hidden under the pillows. When Dad laid down to watch TV, I took a spot at the end of the couch next to the other end of the vacuum hose. I waited until everyone was into whatever the program was before I began making groaning noises into the hose.
At first Dad didn't do anything. I'd wait awhile and then make a noise again. Finally he began looking around - first at the TV - as in "was that noise part of the program?" I'd wait and then some more noise through the tube. He sat up and looked around the room. "What is that?", he asked. It was all I could do to contain my mirth. He laid back down. I waited at least fifteen minutes before issuing another, "O-o-o-o-o!" At last I could hold it in no longer and started giggling. "Ramona, what are you up to?" Dad demanded. I pulled the vacuum cleaner hose out from behind the couch, laughing all the time. I had pulled off the perfect stunt - and it wasn't even an April Fool's joke.
Mother had a green thumb extraordinaire. She could grow anything. She began 'potting up' the small palm plant. Each time she put it in a larger pot, it grew and she potted it up again into a larger pot. Eventually it was so large it filled a corner of the living room. When our family grew to the number where there wasn't enough room for all of us and a Christmas tree, Mom hung the Christmas lights on the palm tree and other plants she had in the living room.
The first time I saw a real palm tree was most likely in 1968 when I vacationed in the Virgin Islands. These palms at Caneel Bay on St. John Island were a beautiful sight. If I hadn't realized I was in a tropical paradise before this, I knew it for certain when I walked up this sandy beach.
It is no April Fool joke that I would love to go back to the Caribbean again some day. There's magic in those swaying palm trees and trade winds.