–How does Darth Vader like his toast? A: On the dark side.
That’s a joke of the day seen in Maplewood. In March 2020, when in-person school ended due to the pandemic, Maplewood couple Shelly Strickfaden and Joe Simonis began clipping a joke to a lawn chair in their front yard at the corner of Marshall and Myrtle avenues.
They wanted to do something to support their neighbors. “We felt helpless,” Strickfaden said.
–What race is never run? A: A swimming race.
There were signs in windows, drive-by birthday parties and lots of dog-walking. Strickfaden and Simonis decided on a joke of the day for anyone walking by. She is a science teacher at Bayless Junior High School so she had time to post a joke in the morning when she didn’t have to go in to school.
“It was a way to bring a smile in an otherwise scary time,” she said.
–What do Alexander the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in common? A: The same middle name.
The jokes have come from the mail, the internet, books, notes left on their porch and Halloween jokes. If a joke was contributed they would add the name of its original teller.
“I know of two kids who learned to read during the joke time,” Strickfaden said. “At the beginning they had to have the jokes read to them, later on they were reading the jokes themselves. Super cool.”
–Why was the broom late? A: It over swept.
Simonis said they’ve considered stopping, but when someone thanks them they keep it up. Strickfaden said the best part has been connecting with their neighbors. “We’re very grateful,” she said.