The police sirens were the first hint that our practical joke may have been played on the wrong person.
“Do you know about April Fool’s Day? It is an important holiday.” said my mother earlier in the day.
At four, I had not yet experienced April Fool’s Day, but our family was one for practical jokes on any day of the year. Plastic bugs tucked into sandwiches, tiny holes punched into paper cups, teeth blackening gum…. Apparently this holiday opened it up to people not living in our house. I was excited…my mother was more so. The older kids were at school so we were alone filling up three boxes each with a few bricks and a note that read: “Ha, Ha, Ha—April Fool’s On You!” We wrapped the boxes , addressed them to our closest neighbors and deposited them quietly on their front doors.
Although we had received a cheerful phone call from one recipient of our prank and a personal thanks with a plate of homemade cookies for another practical joke target…the third victim obviously had not checked her calendar and had forgotten that she lived next to that crazy family who, apparently, had too much time on their hands. Mrs. CIA Plot was that neighbor and her obsessions ranged from cheating politicians to government plots and, of course, terrorists ….the weatherman underground type—not the foreign type. It was, after all, the 60’s
My mother and I wandered next door to explain to the policeman that the box was not a bomb as Mrs. CIA PLOT had suspected, but a friendly April Fool’s Day prank. The policeman was amused, but not Mrs. CIA Plot. She insisted that it could have very well been a bomb.
“For heaven sakes Mrs. CIA Plot” my mother chided “who would want to blow-up a suburban home in a sleepy little town? Someone who does not like historical houses?”
Mrs. CIA Plot’s eyes widened “Exactly—someone who is anti-American—trying to blow-up our colonial houses” she said now with renewed enthusiasm since her hysteria now seemed almost plausible.
“Come on Mrs. CIA Plot, let’s have a cup of coffee and a homemade cookie. We can think of practical jokes to play on the children when they get home.” Said mum. And we did.