Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day actually dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. This wasn’t a popular change with everyone, and some people just forgot it was going to happen. Nevertheless, the Council of Trent called for it to happen in 1563. Those who accepted the change and of course, the Council of Trent were not sympathetic to those who didn’t cooperate. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. I don’t suppose that first April Fools’ Day was so fun for the victims of the hoaxes in 1563. Those people were really being ridiculed.
With such a start, to this unique day, April Fools’ Day seems like it was really a cruel day, not the fun day we know today. Nevertheless, the idea of jokes and pranks is one that a lot of people could get onboard with…it’s almost as good as a tickle torture to make people laugh. Yes, there is a victim, but it’s all in good fun. The English agreed, and on April 1, 1700, it began. English pranksters collectively decided to make April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, as it was also called, an annual tradition by playing practical jokes on each other. It has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures now.
Favorite pranks included having paper fish placed on the victims’ backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish…basically a gullible person. April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk” (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool), in which people were sent on phony errands and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them. And I thought the pranks played these days were unique.
These days, lots of people get into the action. Everything from telling someone they had a spider in their hair to the really good pranksters, who can really get their victims going. My own family, when I was a kid growing up, were dedicated pranksters. Things like switching the salt and sugar were a common prank, and even used on days other than April Fools’ Day. Of course, we tried things like a spider in your hair, a rip in your jeans, and such, but we were never mean about it. So, in the end, a day which was meant to really humiliate, has turned into a prankster’s holiday, and most people are good natured about it, and simply have a few great laughs. Happy April Fools’ Day everyone. Let the pranks begin and continue!!
April Fools Day…a day of shenanigans. As children, we made up simple tricks, that didn’t fool our parents, and might not have even fooled our siblings. I remember telling my sisters that there was a spider in their hair, or some such silliness. That worked for a short time, but then you have to get creative. Things like switching the salt and sugar became common jokes to us. Eventually, we learned to taste a little bit, before we used it liberally on our food…yuck!!
As we get older, we have to get far more creative with our shenanigans, because lets face it, adults aren’t going to go for the spider in your hair gag. They know what day it is too. April Fools Day pranks have to be carefully planned out, and they have to be such that they do no harm, because that would not be what it is all about. Of course, there could always be the unplanned, unforeseen problem with reversing the prank, that could backfire, but hopefully the people you prank are good sports about things, who know that it could have happened to them too.
It would seem that some of the best pranks these days are tech pranks. There are a variety of ways to “mess with” someone’s computer, making them think that it has gone crazy. A simple placement of tape over the mouse sensor will make the computer appear frozen. You can change the language on the computer too, but as I found out from personal experience, this can be difficult to reverse, if you change it to a language you can’t read…yikes!! I think my personal favorite is to flip the screen, so that everything is upside down. And that one is simple to reverse, so no harm…no foul. Of course, there are many low tech ways to “mess with” a computer too, like covering it and everything else in the office in newspaper, or filling the room with balloons, so that the only way in is to pop them. I think office pranks are a natural way to expand your prank playing game into new vistas. Plus, they are really fun when the people you prank are just stunned. Happy April Fools Day everyone!! The day to prank or be pranked. Let the fun begin.
For most little girls, their daddy is just about the greatest guy on earth. They are their hero, and often the guy they want to marry, or at lease someone just like their daddy. Some kids want to marry their parents, but I don’t recall ever saying that to my dad, but I guess I don’t remember everything I ever said, so I might have. Nevertheless, my sisters and I thought our daddy was a pretty great guy, and we always felt very blessed that he was our daddy.
My sister, Cheryl Masterson had the advantage over the rest of us in that she had more time with Dad than we did, simply because of age. I’m sure that the rest of us probably had the chance to do some of the things Cheryl did too, but maybe we didn’t think of it. I think a lot of kids, boys and girls alike are quite fascinated with the whole process of shaving. I remember watching my dad whip up his lather in a mug that he had, because when he started shaving, there was no such thing as conditioning shaving cream. The men made their own lather from soap in a mug. To us, that was a cool process, and we really didn’t get tired of it. Watching Daddy shave was one of the best things about mornings when we were little. We didn’t always get to watch though, because oftentimes he had to go to work early, and we were still in bed. Nevertheless, when we did get to watch, we might end up with soap on our noses, a common occurrence, and then we would get to help with aftershave, or we might even get some on us…early perfume, and we didn’t even care if it was for men.
Of course, we always knew that our daddy could do anything. Of that fact, there was no doubt. Daddy could give two kids a piggy back ride as easily as he could give one kid a piggy back ride. That was because he could do anything. We always knew that. I think lots of girls think that their daddy can do anything. It’s because we just love our daddies so much, and as far as I’m concerned, my daddy was the best daddy in the whole world. I suppose all kids say that, but I believe that with all my heart.
When I look back on all the wonderful things our dad did for us, I get a sense of just what a saint he was. My sisters and I were always very afraid of moths…even if they were all the way across the room. Dad never got mad, and he never made us kill the moth ourselves. He just took care of it, because his little girls didn’t like them. The same thing applied to spiders, or any other creepy crawly bug. With our dad, we got to be girly girls…even if that seems wimpy to some people. Dad knew we were girly girls, and it didn’t matter, because we where his girly girls…and he was our amazing daddy. Life was great…in fact, it was perfect. It doesn’t get any better. We love you Daddy.
My husband, Bob Schulenberg, likes to laugh. From the time he was just a little kid, it seems that in a crowd of smiling people, there would always be one, who had to laugh, because somehow, a smile just did really express his true feelings about whatever was said, or what someone did. He really finds it hard not to laugh if something is the least bit funny. This was one of the things that I liked the most about Bob right from the start. He has a great sense of humor, and is a teaser from way back. I can’t say that his sisters always liked that aspect of their oldest brother, but it was a part of their childhood, nevertheless. Like so many boys, Bob’s humor as a young boy was not always shared by his sisters, who thought he really should just leave them alone.
From cartoons, as a little boy and even into the early years of our marriage, to “The Three Stooges” and “Laurel and Hardy”, to comedies of today, television has been a source of entertainment bringing much laughter for Bob. He can be sitting in a room all by himself, and suddenly he just bursts out in loud laughter, because something on the show struck him as very funny. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the rest of us would have thought it funny too, but it is just so funny to hear Bob burst out laughing in the other room, when you have no idea what is so funny. That makes no difference really, because it is what is funny to him that matters, not what is funny to those around him.
Bob has always been the kind of person who finds humor all around him. And looking back at all the pictures of him as a kid, I can see that is true. Not to mention, that I have heard all the stories of Bob’s antics…especially the ones his sisters didn’t find very funny. From chasing his sister, Jennifer Parmely with spiders…which he still tries to do these days too, but then thinks better of the plan…mostly because he wants to live, to goofing of with his sister, Brenda Schulenberg, during family pictures, to the point where his dad just about had to knock them silly, Bob is known for stirring things up a bit…not is a bad way, but as a boy, it was a way that his sisters didn’t always appreciate. Of course, I think they would all agree now, that he has always been a comical guy.
They say, laughter is the best medicine, and for Bob, I think it has always been something that has made his life…and mine…a happy one. Life has it’s ups and downs. No one can get by with no sadness in their life. Those things are what makes the need for laughter such a big need, and Bob has always found humor in the simple things around him. It is probably the one biggest asset that he has. I have been blessed to be married to him all these years, so I can say that in our house, never a day goes by without a bit…or a lot…of laughter. Even if we don’t always know exactly what is so funny.
If he was still alive, my dad would have been 88 years old today. He lived such an interesting life…experienced so many things. As a young boy, he and his brother shot off dynamite and rode trains around the Wisconsin area because his dad worked for the railroad. When he was older, he worked at Douglas Aircraft Company building airplanes. During World War II, he was a top turret gunner and the flight engineer on a B17 Bomber. He traveled the United States and parts of the world. And he took his family along on as much of it as he could.
We were so blessed to have Dad as our family leader. He somehow made everything alright. From the scariest situations to our fear of moths. From our concerns over imaginary bears in the campground to the very real spider that always seems to show up on occasion. Dad was an amazing problem solver. It didn’t matter what problem we had, from the simplest to the most serious, he would find a solution. He was so understanding.
Dad loved to tease his girls, and he had many funny little sayings that always made us laugh. I can still hear him saying some of the things we all remember well. They were always designed to make us laugh. He was quite a joker. And he always managed to act shocked when we would tease back. There are times that I can hear his voice so clearly…almost as if he is standing next to me. And I can see the looks on his face when he was acting like we were abusive, when we flicked him with our finger…never mind the fact that it did not hurt and often, he flicked us first. He was just goofy.
Dad was forever in love with Mom, and always showed her just how much she meant to him. He treated her like a princess. He was one of the last of the true gentlemen left here on Earth. A man who set a high standard for himself. There were words that he never said, because he wanted to set a good example. He was a Christian and he made sure his family was too. We all grew up knowing our Lord.
My dad was the most wonderful dad that ever existed. I am so thankful that he was my dad. I will miss him for the rest of my life, but I know that there will come a day when we are all together again for eternity, and for that I am grateful. Happy birthday in Heaven Daddy!! I love you very much!!
At the time Bob was a teenager, before his little brother, Ron came into the picture, Bob was the only boy in his family, and with 4 sisters, there were plenty of potential victims for his many pranks. Ron would not be born until Bob was 14, so until Bob was 16 to 18, Ron was too little to get himself into too much trouble, or get very involved in the pranks his older brother was pulling. That would come later on. Bob got into plenty of trouble with his older sisters, but this story is about him and his younger sisters. You see Bob was the third child, with 2 sisters older, and 2 sisters younger and finally his little brother joined them later.
Bob, like most boys loved to tease his younger sisters. His sister, Brenda told me that he would chase his sister, Jennifer, with spiders…something I can very much envision, since he has teased me and my girls in the same way. Mind you, it wasn’t with a live spider, but more of a…”Here, don’t you want to see it” kind of thing, which still makes me and probably most other women cringe to say the least. Spider guts are only slightly less disgusting than a spider is scary. I hate spiders…just in case you couldn’t tell. Now, I don’t know what Jennifer did to be the one who was threatened with spiders or spider guts, but one thought would be that she was the best screamer over it. That, to a boy is a really good motivator to continue the torment that I am quite certain continued for quite some time.
Now, his sister, Brenda, got a little bit different treatment. I don’t know if it was because she was younger, or more cooperative when he asked her to call some girl he liked, but was too shy to call, maybe she wasn’t as scared of spiders. Brenda tells me of the times she called girls for him, so I suspect he had to be a little nicer to her. Brenda got candy and chocolate bars, so she would stay motivated to help him out. I guess you would have to say Bob was thinking ahead anyway. And so was Brenda…she had seen the torment Jennifer went through. I suppose you have to compromise sometimes. I know for a fact it’s what I would do, if it meant the difference between spiders and chocolate bars.