April 1, 1851

Swine

1851

April fool day  Have had some sport this morning

with Mrs Witherell, Mrs Ames & Orinthia, making

April fool of them,  Jane heard something at

Mr Bartletts yesterday, which has made her cry

& about sick so that she had to go to bed.  Susan has

begun to work on card board that Mrs S Ames got at

N Bridgewater yesterday  Orinthia, Susan & self passed the 

afternoon at Mr Torreys  Weather Pleasant

April Fool’s Day is a holiday of uncertain parentage, in part because the very nature of the day has generated multiple false versions of its origin. The most credible genesis dates back to Roman times and the festival, Hilaria, which, in simplest terms, honored the vernal equinox. The departure of winter and the arrival of spring was cause for celebration and spirited fun.

Although Evelina may have had little interest in the history of April Fool’s Day, she loved the practice of it.  After a winter of icy weather, muddy roads, illness and sewing, sewing, sewing, the innocent levity of a practical joke or two delighted her. She did have a sense of humor. Whether the relatives and friends she played tricks on enjoyed the day with equal humor remains unknown. Her sisters-in-law, Sarah Witherell and Sarah Ames, may have known her well enough to expect a joke from her on this day.

No April Fool’s nonsense for Old Oliver, however. Ever the farmer, he practiced his own rite of spring with the slaughter of pigs:

“4 shoats kild to day and the 4 weighd 1205 pound  I sold them for 7 1/2 cents a pound.”

No laughing today for Jane McHanna, either. She was distressed and “about sick” over something she heard the previous evening. She took to her bed, most likely leaving Evelina to prepare evening tea.

What was the card board project that little Susie Ames began today?  Any idea, readers?

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