TROVE TUESDAY: April Fool’s Day… then and now

jester_hatI’ve never been much of a prankster except for a few times I stuck a sign on one of my brother’s back reading “kick me”. Not real original.  Now my mum just loved April Fool’s Day which I wrote about briefly HERE.

This year I’ve been musing over where mum got her sense of humour and whether, in days gone by, our ancestors also played jokes on April Fool’s Day.  With it being Trove Tuesday… to the old newspapers I headed.

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Back in Time

I remember mum saying that her mum, my Nana (Elizabeth Mary Murray Evans Allan) was not just a feisty woman but also quite a jokester, so I decided to check out the Port Pirie newspapers which is where she would have been living at that time, with her first husband and two of her three children.

There was no joy to be had there as the Port Pirie Recorder was full of doom and gloom, not the least of which was the huge miner’s strike taking place in Broken Hill and affecting many workers, and industries including those in nearby Port Pirie.

Banner. The Port Pirie Recorder

STRIKE AT BROKEN HILL. 2 Apr 1913. p1. The Port Pirie Recorder, South Australia, Australia
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/9100940

There was no sense in checking out newspapers in other locations, for most of my maternal ancestors lived in surrounding districts and would have been similarly affected by the miner’s strike. So a general search for April Fool’s Day 1913 was my next port of call and these items in the Adelaide Advertiser, although not published in 1913, drew my attention.

AN APRIL FOOL’S DAY JOKE. 2 Apr 1914. p8.   The Advertiser: Adelaide, South Australia.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/5422591?searchTerm=April

ALL FOOLS’ DAY. 31 Mar 1919. pg.6.  The Advertiser: Adelaide, South Australia.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/5640730?searchTerm=April

Logging on this morning I found that even the “techy big kids” have been at it this April Fool’s Day

April Fools’ 2013: The best techy pranks of the day. ZDNet. 1 Apr 2013
http://www.zdnet.com/april-fools-2013-the-best-techy-pranks-of-the-day-7000013324/?s_cid=e551

This is my favourite… I wonder which is yours? Just click on the link above  to check them all out   🙂

My favourite IT April Fool's Day joke for 2013

My favourite IT April Fool’s Day joke for 2013

Many thanks to Amy Houston for setting up the Trove Tuesday meme and also to TROVE… where would we be without you?

TROVE ~~~~~~~~~

 map-south-australia

Here we are… Port Pirie is north of the capital city, Adelaide (just above the “leg”) and Broken Hill is in NSW, just over the north east corner of South Australia .

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Jj – is for Jolly Jokes and Jokesters

Do it again!!!… Do it again!!!…” the four year old me would shriek as Uncle Ray took off his finger, then plonked it back on again. This week’s Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge I dedicate to all our Ancestral “Jolly Jokesters” who filled the lives of family and friends with fun and laughter as they shared their Jokes, Japes and Jolliness.

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1951-1953 FX Holden Ute

Uncle Ray wasn’t “really” my Uncle but the husband of mum’s much loved cousin Patricia (Pat) Behenna. How I loved those Sunday “arvo” visits and waited with joyful anticipation, at the front fence, for Uncle Ray’s “ute” to pull up and the man himself to climb out. That was another exciting thing about Uncle Ray – his “ute”. No-one else had such a fun car which I so loved to go driving in.

To me Uncle Ray was truly a “giant of a man”… full of fun, laughter and jokes and never too busy “chinwagging”, with the “grown ups”, to get down on his knees and delight all the “tin-ribs” with his new Jokes and the patient re-telling of the old. Forever a curious child, I can still see and feel Uncle Ray’s rough, workman’s finger which he happily proffered for close in-spection. I finally came to the conclusion that the secret to his “magic finger” lay in the mole above the knuckle of his right fore-finger. Of course that was how he could take his finger off and put it back on again!!!

Then there’s Auntie Maggie and Auntie Hilda (my mum’s Aunts), who would often join us on our regular “Sunday drives” in the Adelaide Hills. They delighted in pointing out the cows who were born with legs shorter on one side so they could stand and graze of the hillsides, and the round concrete platforms where “the King and Queen danced” when they came to Australia. The gullble child in me believed all their “stories”. How well I remember mum chastising Auntie Maggie who loved to say “yum, yum, lamb chops!!!” when we’d see new born lambs frolicking in the paddocks so, behind mum’s back, she’d simply roll her eyes and lick her lips. We children would screech with laughter and Auntie Maggie would “act the innocent” which made us laugh all the more. I still wonder at the meaning of “A Wig Wam for a Gooses Bridle/Bridal” which was the Aunts’ reply when choosing not to answer a question.

Who could ever forget my beloved Grandpa’s “party trick”? He would cut up those thin “cigarette papers” fringe the edge, lick the “sticky side”, glue them to is eyelids and just sit quietly waiting for someone to comment. Everyone would ignore him and me, the ever observant/ “sticky beak” of a child  would wait and watch to see which adult would finally give in and say, “Fred, take those off!!!”. Of course, he would “act the innocent”. Mmmh… whatever happened to all those coins we KNOW were in the “Chrissie Pud”? You can read about that here.

Last, but not least, is my mum‘s delight in “April Fool’s Day” jokes. She’d be the first up every morning, all “bright eyed and bushy tailed” and I,  the proverbial “night owl” and a hopeless “sleepy head”, was “just ripe for the picking.” Every year mum would catch me out but one year, in particular, remains stuck in my “memory box”. Stumbling out to breakfast I took the plate off my cereal bowl, vaguely wondering why mum had put a plate there and in the bottom of the bowl sat the note “APRIL FOOL”. For years I kept reliving my teenage outrage and complaining, but that’s not FAIR mum… it’s not even a JOKE!!!”  My gorgeous mum would just smile, say not a word and continue on with whatever she was doing. Ahhh… luvya and still miss ya mum xxx.

I wonder who were the Jolly Jokesters in your Family line and what the Jokes are that remain part of your own family folk-lore?… Perhaps it’s you who is today’s family Jokester with Jolly Jokes, of your own, which will pass down through time?  🙂

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SOURCES: Thankyou to Richard Lewis for the picture of the 1951-53 Holden FX Ute.

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family