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In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

Which all-girl singing group sang the popular song Mr. Sandman?

A Pranking Tradition

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credit: Everett Collection/

I'm not much of a prankster, but the men in my family were and are. My dad took great pride in elaborate shenanigans, often enlisting my mother's help to pull them off. I remember attending a birthday party for my dad's friend and our neighbor, Clete, when I was a kid. Dad and Mom had offered to bring the birthday cake. My parents showed up with a beautifully decorated large, square cake and could hardly wait until the "Happy Birthday" song was over so that Clete could cut into their creation. Clete raised his knife in anticipation, but when he lowered it through the frosting, his knife stuck. He wiggled it. He jiggled it. Nothing worked. After several moments of total confusion, Clete scraped away the frosting and found not a soft, delicious cake underneath but, instead, a hard cardboard box. It was the box I used for my ice skates, to be specific. The crowd roared with laughter while my dad feigned ignorance, but Clete was familiar with Dad's penchant for pranks. "Charlieeeeee!" he yelled, waving the now-freed knife in the air toward my dad.

The crowd roared again and the prank became a legend among the group.

My husband loves a good prank too. When our kids were younger, he eagerly awaited April Fools' Day every year so he could trick them in some fashion. Year after year, he caught them in his wily web of white lies so they would get dressed for school on a Saturday, or would rush downstairs to get ready for a real school day at an unheard-of 5 a.m., or would look out the window hoping to see a new car in the driveway as my husband had told them, only to find a Matchbox-size version. They exacted their revenge one year though, when they startled my husband out of a sound sleep by shouting that the sump-pump alarm was going off in the basement and the whole place was flooding. My husband, who had a deep-seated fear of that sump-pump alarm sounding, nearly fell down the stairs in a frantic, half-awake scramble to address the disaster. We roared with laughter. A minute later, he emerged at the top of the stairs, perplexed but slowly gaining realization that he'd been had. “You kids!” he yelled, waving a finger in the air toward them.

We all roared again and the prank became a legend in our family.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Who was the prankster in your family in the Good Old Days? Is there a legendary prank the whole family still talks about today? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at, and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine!

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Trivia Answer

The Chordettes. The group became popular after appearing on the television show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in 1949.

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