I’ll start by saying yes, I did miss being an April fool, but only by a small margin. I was born just twenty minutes after midnight on April 2, and the events of the day before at my house were quite interesting to say the least.
To get the full story, I must go back and remind everyone of what medical tests looked like in the 1970s, they were improving, but still far from the reliability and accuracy that we take for granted today.
There were already four children in the house, the oldest a seventeen-year-old boy and the youngest a nine-year-old girl. Two of them from my father’s first marriage and two from one of my mother’s previous marriages. It would be the second attempt for them to have a child together. The first resulted in a miscarriage when my mother was only three months old.
Since I had already lost a son, the doctors were watching my mother closely to try to prevent this from happening again, so they ran all the tests they had available at the time. They didn’t tell my parents anything but good news, there was no reason this baby wouldn’t come to term. To top it off, they said it was a boy and the due date was April 8. Both of my parents were jubilant and all four children were excited to have a new little brother. They quickly chose to name me after my grandfather, George.
Now, fast-forward to April 1 as my mother’s due date approaches. My parents planned to attend a function at a local club that my father was a member of. Before leaving, they decided that they had the perfect opportunity to play a prank on the innocent, they would pretend that my mother was in labor and that they were actually going to the hospital.
The children had heard them talk about the evening in previous days, so they were not falling in love, they told them that they knew perfectly well that it was April Fools’ day and that the baby had not yet been born. Trying to keep up the game, my mother was still pretending to have contractions, they got in the car and left the house.
Then all of a sudden, a big surprise came! My mother’s water broke in her car on the way to town and my father had to turn around and run to the hospital. After my mother entered the maternity ward, she tried to call the children to let them know what had really happened. At this point, his brilliant April Fool stunt totally failed. The children still refused to believe him, told him to go back to dinner and stop trying to trick them.
My mother worked all night and finally, I entered the world twenty minutes after midnight on April 2. Here came another surprise, his chosen name George was not going to work, I was a girl. They hadn’t even pondered a girl’s name because they were so sure the baby was going to be a boy, but that’s a story for another time.
Once again, my father tried to call home and let the children know about his new baby sister, but they still refused to believe him. They told her it was almost one in the morning, so April Fools Day was over, and besides, they knew the baby was going to be a boy, not a girl. They all said good night, hung up the phone, and went back to bed.
Realizing how badly his attempted prank had backfired, my father had to drive home, get them all out of bed, grumbling and tired at two in the morning. Then he took them all to the hospital so he could show them it wasn’t an April Fool prank yet.
Needless to say, the story of my birth and this April Fool’s trick was told many times in my family growing up, and to this day my dad says it was the best joke he could think of.