Courtesy Susannah Sprong Cahillane

Susannah Cahillane got the idea from something her daughter saw online. Every day while people were quarantined, her family would put up a Joke of the Day in their Mount Pleasant yard.

Living on a busy corner in Boston, she had made signs before. “Slow: Naked sunbather ahead,” or “Slow your roll,” with images of sushi and cinnamon rolls.

“I knew that they brought people together,” Cahillane says, “It was early on in this crisis when every day felt like a year. So it felt important to try to do something.”

Cahillane said their neighbors got a kick out of the jokes. “People were taking bike rides to see the Joke of the Day every day, it was helping their kids get out, and they were really looking forward to it.”

After three days, a written warning from the homeowners association came in: No signs allowed. “People were like ‘But I come every single day!’, ‘I send it to my dad and he puts it on Instagram,” Cahillane says.

Testing the boundaries, they put their joke on a flag. Still, a second warning from the HOA. In protest, Cahillane flew her yellow smiley face flag upside down.

Since then, Cahillane has pivoted to making masks. She’s donated 100 masks, with more on the way. She’s also negotiating with the HOA to see who will get the last laugh. 

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