A Real April Fool

Here in Italy, it’s the day after Easter, known as Pasquetta, or “little Easter.”

Resurrection and spring celebrations continue.. and Lulu and I visited Castiglion Fiorentino to check out their “Vilaggio di Primavera” or “Spring Village” – where there were indeed ??????????some nice crafts and regional food –

 But, since this year, it happens to fall on April First, today is also Pesce d’Aprile , the Italian version of what I know better as April Fool’s Day!

I like practical jokes and clever pranks, so I like the concept of this day – but for some reason, the only joke I remember was one that I didn’t pull-off myself, but, rather was played mercilessly on me – by my mother!

It was an April Fool’s Day morning, when I was just five years old, that I woke up to my mom greeting me with a solemn face.  I can still remember her leading to me into the kitchen and sitting me up on one of the stools at the bar.

“Gina,” she began in a somber tone, “I am very sorry, but your father was cleaning out your closet last night and he accidentally threw out all of your shoes.”


Now, I have no idea why the notion that my dad decided to clean out the closet in my bedroom while I was sleeping in the same room didn’t strike me as odd.  Or why I chose to buy the even crazier idea that he just accidentally  happened to throw out all of my shoes.

Maybe it was because I was only five years old.   But, anyway, I remember staring wide-eyed at my mother as she continued.

“So, honey, I am so sorry, but we don’t have any shoes to send you to school in this morning,” my mother purred.  “Instead, just for today, we’re going to wrap your feet in newspapers and put rubber bands around to hold them in place.  You only have to go to school like this for today.  After school, we’ll go buy you some new shoes.”


That was it!

But back when I was five. It was more than enough.

Before she could say anything else, I began to cry.

“APRIL FOOL!” my mom gleefully cried out.

I don’t think I laughed at all then.. but all of my family – and even I – get a real laugh out of it now. It only took a couple dozen sessions with my therapist.  No, not really, but sheesh, Mom, what were you thinking?  If you met her, you would never think she had such a mean streak.  Ha. Maybe you would.  Just kidding. We’re really close.  I promise.  Anyway,  I don’t think I have ever asked her how she came up with the idea or whether Dad knew anything about it.  I’ll have to do that.

But meantime, now my own daughter is five and last night I told her about the tradition of April Fool’s Day – and about the alarming prank my mom played on me when I was the same age as she was.

“Thank goodness you didn’t have to wear newspapers on your feet for real!” Lulu exclaimed after I had finished the tale.

“I know!” I agreed.

Later, while we waited on the platform for the train to take us to Castiglion Fiorentino ,  Lulu suddenly shouted, “Hey, Mom, the train’s coming!”

Of course, it wasn’t yet, but I whipped my head dutifully around to look in the direction it would be heading and as soon as I did, Lulu squealed, “APRIL FOOL DAY!! I got you!”

“Yes, you did, Honey,”  I winked at her.  We both knew.

This afternoon, while we were exploring the old town, I turned to her very seriously and said, “Lulu, I almost forgot to tell you, Daddy accidentally threw out all of your other dresses last night and the outfit you’re in is the only one left.   Tomorrow, when you go to school, you’ll have to wear a newspaper wrapped up with string.”

“Maaaahhhm!” Lulu rolled her eyes, “you’re just teasing me. That’s just like Gramma Sheila.”


Then she added, “I think it’s better if we don’t tease, because if not, no one will believe you.”

She’s right.  I still don’t let my mom come anywhere near my shoes.

And that’s no April Fool. 😉

Hope you’re having a fun-filled April first.  Any memories you’d like to share, please do!   And for more conversations and adventures between my daughter, Lulu, and me, please buy my new book, “Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me” !  Till next time, Ciao, tutti!




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