My First (and last) April Fool’s Lesson

Apr 1, 2024 | 0 comments

Daddy and Me — Easter in Oysterville, 1939

I must have been seven or eight when I played my one and only April Fool’s trick — on my dignified, Bostonian father, of all people!  It wasn’t that he didn’t have a sense of humor  — he did.  But probably not when the joke was on him.  And definitely not regarding the sanctity of his morning coffee.

I, of course, was gormless and when I asked my mom if she would help me substitute salt for the sugar in the bowl on the breakfast room table, I definitely didn’t take any gentle hints from her that this would NOT be a good idea.  I’m sure I stuck stubbornly to the thought that this would be a great joke on Daddy, and I waited eagerly for him to join us before dashing off to work.

He was NOT amused.  I’m sure my mother had another cup AND some sugar ready and waiting, but I only remember how small I felt and how miserable that I had upset my father.  It’s another one of those memories that surfaces every year on this date — and every time I wish I’d told him how sorry I was.  But I don’t think I ever did.

Nor did I ever play such a trick, at least not knowingly, on anyone again.  It was my first “lesson” in empathy — the first time (at least that I remember) that I viscerally thought of how someone else saw things.  I can’t say that the lesson always “stuck.”   Certainly not in its broadest sense.  But I’m quite sure I never played another April Fool’s Day trick on anyone and still feel that it’s a mean, not funny, way to “celebrate” a day.

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