It was late March and I was reading the newspaper and I found some interesting information from Wikipedia about April Fools' Day I thought I'd share it before telling my story.
April Fools' Day is celebrated every year on the first day of April. Popular since the 19th century, the day is not a national holiday in any country, but it is well known in Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States, and it is celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. The jokes and their victims are known as "April fools". Hoax stories may be reported by the press and other media on this day and explained on subsequent days.
In the UK, an April fool joke is revealed by shouting "April fool!" at the recipient, who becomes the "April fool". A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday. A person playing a joke after midday is the "April fool" themselves.
In Scotland, April Fools' Day was traditionally called 'Huntigowk Day', although this name has fallen into disuse. The name is a corruption of 'Hunt the Gowk', "gowk" being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person. The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.
In Ireland it was traditional to entrust the victim with an "important letter" to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words "send the fool further".
In Poland, it's a day full of jokes; various hoaxes are prepared by people, media (which sometimes cooperate to make the "information" more credible) and even public institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided. This conviction is so strong that the anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I signed on 1 April 1683, was backdated to 31 March.
Norwegians, Danes and Swedes celebrate April Fools' Day. Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on April 1st; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline.
In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, April 1st tradition is often known as "April fish". This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back without being noticed. Such fish feature prominently on many late 19th- to early 20th-century French April Fools' Day postcards.
In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.
I had no idea that April Fools' Day went back to the 19th century or that so many countries celebrated it. I know that when I was just a kid that I was gullible and the butt of many jokes. I never paid much attention to the date and got caught most every year. It was usually something stupid like my friends hiding my books or telling me something happened.
It was when I became a teenager that the jokes were more like my friends telling me that some girl I liked wanted to see me and I would go up to her and they would all laugh at me and say, "April fool". Other years they would give me a note saying it was from one of the popular girls, which it wasn't, and they got a big laugh at my expense.
I would get embarrassed and walk away without talking to the girls. I was actually smart but when it came to girls I was somewhat shy. I rarely dated and never had a real girlfriend. The few dates I went on were ones that my parents set up with their friends daughters for special occasions like Home Comings or church events.
The girls were nice but we didn't click. I had a strike against me when the dates were set up by our parents. Since I was shy, I wasn't outgoing and didn't have many second dates. I did blame myself; it wasn't the girl's fault. It was my sister that was honest with me and told me I needed to lose some weight and exercise more.
It was my junior year when she told me about being shy and overweight. I was somewhat short at 5' 8" and was a little chubby which didn't help much. I did play football and was on the defensive line but was on the second string. My senior year I sprouted a couple of inches and worked out a lot more.
It gave me more confidence and I played a lot more but it was hard overcoming the shyness. In science class I was paired off on an assignment with one of the cutest cheerleaders. Kayla was really popular as well as being smart. She had it all, the looks, personality and brains. We got an A+ on our assignment and she thanked me for being her partner and even said she hoped I could overcome my shyness because I seemed like a nice guy. I made the mistake of telling my friends and they teased me about Kayla being my girlfriend.
Football season and the holidays were over and when I went back to school my friends didn't bring up Kayla except when it was close to Valentines Day and kidded me about taking her out for dinner. She and I did talk in class but we were just friends. She was one of the few girls I could talk to.
Time went by and I didn't realize the date but it was April 1st, when Jim, one of my friends gave me a letter and said it was from Kayla. After he walked away I read the letter.
Dear Rob, I know this is unusual but I was wondering if you would like to go with me to the prom? It's on May 23, and I would be willing to go with you if you asked me. If you want to go please ask me today, I have two other offers and have to get back to them by tomorrow with an answer. If you're not interested, that's fine, just throw this letter away. Your Friend Kayla
I didn't see Kayla till lunch time in the cafeteria. She was sitting at a table with the other cheerleaders and when I saw her from a distance she did give me a light smile. I got my lunch and sat down at a table with Jim, and four other guys I somewhat hung with.
Jim asked me what the letter from Kayla was about and I told him it was about an award we received for our science project. We really did get an award but it was a few days before. I wasn't about to let him know what the note said.
I ate my lunch and kept thinking about the letter from Kayla. I got up from my table and walked up to Kayla sitting with her friends. She looked up at me and said "Hi".
I was nervous as hell but decided to ask her to the prom. I handed her the short letter I received and asked her, "Kayla, would you like to go to the prom with me?"
She read the short letter and looked over at my friends who yelled out "April fool, Rob". I didn't look at them and stood my ground looking at Kayla. Her friends laughed and then Kayla looked at me.
"I'd love to go to the prom with you Rob and it's not an April Fools' Day joke." Her friends looked surprised and stopped laughing. "We can talk about the details later if you don't mind," Kayla said with a smile.
"Thank you!" I said. She gave me a pretty smile as I walked back to my table.
"Well, Jim, I guess the April Fools' Day joke is on you this time. It wasn't a very nice joke to play. I don't care what you do to me but you put Kayla on the spot and I'm not happy about that. You see, I really like her and would hate to see her embarrassed. Maybe I need better friends," I said as I got up and left the table.
The next day Kayla stopped by my locker first thing in the morning. She was so pretty. "Rob did you know I didn't send you the letter?"
"I was pretty sure you didn't but I was hoping you might have and decided to take the chance. I'm sorry I put you on the spot in front of your friends. You don't have to go with me, I understand the spot I put you in."
"Rob, I do want to go with you. I know everyone thinks I date a lot but the truth is, my parents are rather strict and I really haven't dated much. Usually only group things like the ballgames and dances. I talked to my parents last night and they want to meet you. Can you stop by tomorrow after school?"
"I'd be happy to stop by and meet them. Is there anything I should know or do?" I asked.
"Just be yourself. My mom is a psychologist and can probably read you like a book. My Dad owns his own business. He's somewhat of a computer geek."
"He and I have that in common, maybe that's a good thing," I replied.
My sister stopped me in the hall and asked if it was true that Kayla Davis was going to the prom with me. I told her it was and that I was going to her house the next day to meet her parents. I asked her for advice and she said the same thing as Kayla, "Just be yourself and be honest. You're a good person Rob. You just need to get by some of this shyness. I know you've tried hard and lost weight and you really are a good looking guy, even if you are my brother."
I hugged my little sister, (she was only a year younger than me) and thanked her. She was going to the prom with a friend. They weren't going steady or anything like that. My sister was a smart girl and was popular in school also.
I stopped over at Kayla's house and met her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Davis. They were cordial to me and mentioned that Kayla spoke well of me. They asked me about school and my plans for the future. I explained to them that I was going away to college and studying computer engineering.
.... There is more of this story ...