I loathed this day when I was a child. There was no fun in having my name, April, associated with 'fool'. No matter how hard I tried, how brave a face I began the day with, I always ended up feeling every bit a despicable fool.
Every year in primary school, the day brought me only tears which then evoked more teasing - "Cry baby!"
The only escape from this annual day of dread came when April 1st fell on the weekend, and those even less frequent years when the date was eclipsed by Good Friday or Easter Monday. I survived of course. I'm happy to report that except for the briefest of stings in my depths, gone is the great anxiety that used to accompany the day. Now when April Fools' Day comes around, a smile creases my face and I owe that to my sister Cathy.
I was 11 on April Fools' Day 1965 and though the teasing of the early school years had ceased, the day still filled me with apprehension. But for my little sister it was a fabulous day of laughter and fun.
At the supper table that night the chirpy five year old regaled the family with jokes half-remembered from her kindergarten class. Grinning from ear to ear, eager anticipation bouncing through her body, she asked, "When is Cathy Fools' Day?"
There was silence for a moment before snorts of derision erupted around the table. Her little face went blank then a giggle emerged, but only because we were laughing.
I recall Mom was the exception to the laughter. A smile creased her face but it was quickly covered by a paper napkin into which she coughed. Composure regained, she put her hand on Cathy's, "You know dear, April Fool's Day is not about your sister at all."
All the gentleness and sincerity was lost on Cathy. How could it not be about her sister April? No amount of explanation satisfied the little one. And so it came to pass that the First Monday in May 1965 was proclaimed "Cathy Fools' Day" by Mom's authority. Cathy skipped off to school that day full of tricks, homemade jokes - as only a five year old can make them - and a note from Mom explaining the holiday.
Giggles trump tears.
Happy memories soothe bruises.
Love conquers all.
Oh and it really is Friday
- a good day to check on my spaghetti trees...
©2016 April Hoeller