Peaches on the Apple Tree

In fourth grade, hoping to postpone our spelling test, my classmates and I clamored to repeat a newly learned April Fool’s song. Mrs. Paulson, hugely pregnant, plucked her ukulele, burped, and began: “Look out the window, what do you see? Peaches on the apple tree. I fool you; you fool me. This is April Fool’s day.”

Does anyone get excited about April 1st anymore? Or has the fun of fooling others faded because it’s a holiday without candy or presents?

In elementary school, we expended great effort throughout the day trying to trick one another with obvious ploys: We yelled “Mildred, look out!” then shrieked with laughter when she ducked. We claimed to see spiders in hair and flies in spaghetti. We loosened lids on saltshakers and swore the principal sent us with the note telling Johnny to report to the office “imeditly.”

The only person who never fooled anyone was Laddy Swenson, who, every year, said he could see a booger in your nose.

As a teacher, I was sometimes the victim. My fourth-graders taped the button on the handset of the room phone so it didn’t pop out and connect when I answered. I yelled “hello” to a ringing phone several times before their giggles gave them away.

A sixth-grader offered me the grape juice he’d saved from his lunch. Fortunately, I spotted the purple puddle collecting in his hand from the tiny holes he’d poked in the bottom of the carton.

My ninth-grade students simultaneously dropped their books to the floor at a signal from their ringleader. I trumped them, exclaiming, “Sorry I’m late,” and dropping a dictionary.

One year, a colleague, Rich Roberts, amused the entire school with his gag. Rich epitomized professional dress and careful grooming: white shirt, coat and tie, creased slacks, polished shoes, hair only on his head, and every one in place.

The morning of April 1st, he stopped to talk with the grandmotherly school secretary after he collected his mail. In mid-chat, she reached out to perfect his splendor by removing a stray thread from his lapel. She tugged and tugged; the thread grew longer and longer; her jaw dropped.

Rich had used a needle to pull a little bit of a long thread through his lapel, letting the rest droop inside his jacket—until some helpful soul decided to remove it. All day, staff, students, and parent-helpers tried to clean him up as he laughed.

Years later, in a school hundreds of miles away, I tried the same trick. No one took the bait. Evidently a stray thread didn’t look out of place on me.

Last spring, I walked bleary-eyed from the bedroom into the kitchen just as Joel yelled, “Janet, bring something quick. I’ve spilled coffee all over the carpet.” I groped for sponges and cleansing agents, grumbled my way toward my gesticulating husband—wondering how he upended his coffee this time—and heard, “April Fool!”

On second thought, perhaps I’m grateful the April tradition has faded. I’m too old for such fun.

Have any
April Fool’s memories of your own?
Please leave a comment below.

 

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15 thoughts on “Peaches on the Apple Tree

  1. What a nice way to remember April Fool’s Day! Lovely writing as always! I had the usual stuff in school growing up, but as an adult, it has faded into non-use. April 1st to me now means my stepmother’s birthday and a day to remember her.

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  2. Charlotte Mason played the ultimate trick on our staff one year. Playing on the teacher inability to pass by any goodies on the staff room table without sampling, she covered cotton balls with chocolate and placed them out for the taking. It was hilarious watching one teacher after another pull the stringy cotton from their mouths as they took the first bite!

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    • That is one of the best tricks for adults I’ve heard. I can imagine Charlotte giggling as she prepared the snack and the looks on faces of those who tried it. I wish I’d been there. Thanks for sharing this funny anecdote Cheryl.

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  3. Dear Aunt Beulah; April 1st was the birthday of Charlie Pickard, a boy I knew from grade 1 to 12, nicest lad you would ever meet, but utterly tormented every year on his birthday with pranks. Every year on this day I say happy April 1st to Charlie, wherever you are. His very large family raised chickens. Delighted you found “Feral Chickens” My microcosm view of a world where all have what they need to be happy, not how much, like chickens. Your post reminded me of Mrs Bentely, my 5th grade teacher, old school,very wise. Thanks again..

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  4. In high school my classmates and I also tried the simultaneous book-dropping or pencil dropping trick. I like your “teacher’s response” of also dropping a book!

    In elementary school we played this “joke” on our fifth grade teacher:
    During lunchtime on April 1st a group of us went off-property to a classmate’s house, located at the edge of the playground. We borrowed containers from Melissa’s mom’s kitchen and scooped up dozens of dead flies from the attic over her garage.
    Back in the classroom (our teacher always stayed out of the classroom during lunchtime because she was a heavy smoker and spent the entire hour in the teachers lounge) we unrolled the world map above the blackboard, placed the flies on the surface of the map and rolled it back up. Sure enough after lunch Mrs. Leahy unrolled the map for our world history lesson, and out tumbled all the dead flies. She was not amused!

    I liked your last story about the stray thread. Don’t most clothing items automatically come with stray threads these days?

    Now, April 1st is “only” the wedding anniversary of my sister and brother-in-law. Happy 25th to them!

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  5. I loved how you participated in the book dropping stunt. What a fun teacher! : )

    My daughter caught us once with the rubber band around the spray faucet of the sink. I thought it was genius. I tried telling her that they had decided to change April Fool’s day to the end of the month but she wasn’t fooled for even an instant.

    PS thank you for such supportive comments on my blog. I hope your cruise is wonderful!

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    • I had forgotten the spray faucet trick. I’m starting to think I should compile a book of April Fool pranks with the responses I’m receiving. I’ll let you know how the cruise works out next time I visit your blog.

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  6. My 6 yr old was really into April Fool’s this year. He switched all the cereal bags to different boxes so we were all surprised with our breakfast in the morning. So cute.

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  7. What a fun post! I agree that it seems to have been more celebrated when I was younger.
    My most memorable April fools prank was when my fourth grade teacher got our whole class…Mrs. Menden always had a full candy jar on her desk, and we’d frequently get a piece of candy for winning a math game, or doing something nice to help out. When we came inside from recess on April 1st, she was very upset, and we all had to put our heads on our desks. She explained that while she was at lunch, someone had taken all of the candy. When no one would admit to it, she told us she was going to come around and check all of our desks one by one to see who had the candy. As we all opened our desks, there were gasps of horror – as we all found several pieces of candy inside! She smiled and laughingly said “April Fools!”.

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