View Full Version : The story of my dad's first ukulele

08-16-2014, 10:56 AM
My dad had a ukulele when I was a kid, and all I knew was that he bought it in Hawaii when he and my mom lived there in the early 50s. He would bring it out now and again and play his old favorite songs for us. He also taught us the basic chords and a few easy songs. He clearly loved that little uke, and we all had fun with it.

He died a few years ago, and his wife got rid of his ukes -- we never found out what happened to them, and it wasn't until a recent family reunion that we heard the story of how he acquired that first one.

According to his cousin, who said she heard it from her mom, my mom and dad were struggling financially at that time, and never went out to eat, and rarely, if ever, ate red meat. Well, my grandfather was a cattleman who owned and operated a stockyard, and not eating red meat was anathema to him, so when he heard of their difficulties, he send them $75 so they could treat themselves to a night out, and also put some meat back in their diet.

Well, apparently the first thing my dad did with that money was to go out buy a ukulele. I'm guessing he didn't spend it all on that uke, I think it was a Martin Style O, and they probably went for something like $20 back then, but I think it speaks volumes about his priorities. I'm sure glad he bought that uke, chances are I wouldn't be playing now if he hadn't.

we tigers
08-16-2014, 12:34 PM
Wonderful story, Doug. Thanks for sharing!

08-16-2014, 12:40 PM
Fantastic story, Doug! What a treat that the story finally got to you.

Thank you for telling this. How amazing would it be if somehow you find out where that Martin is now.

08-16-2014, 12:42 PM
Thanks for sharing. A shame that uke isn't with you, but a very touching story. Glad you are carrying on the legacy of your father.

08-16-2014, 12:44 PM
Any idea why he wanted a Ukulele instead of some other instrument? Was he an Arthur Godfrey fan, or something like that?

08-16-2014, 01:28 PM
Any idea why he wanted a Ukulele instead of some other instrument? Was he an Arthur Godfrey fan, or something like that?

well...they lived in Hawaii!

08-16-2014, 01:40 PM
I love this story. Well, except for the "his wife got rid of his ukes" part :) Thanks for sharing!

08-16-2014, 02:14 PM
Beautiful story Doug... reminds me of "You can give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever"
That extra $20 worth of food would have been long gone by now, but that little uke lives on in you

08-16-2014, 02:30 PM
Thanks for sharing such a lovely story Doug!

08-16-2014, 03:33 PM
Great story. My Dad did not play a ukulele. But he was very involved with music his whole life. I think he was happy when I took up the uke about a year ago. Unfortunately he passed on this Spring. I owe my interest in music to my Dad

08-16-2014, 04:16 PM
Awesome Story! Makes me want to buy a vintage Martin :D

08-16-2014, 05:18 PM
well...they lived in Hawaii!

Oh, I get it. Like everyone in Arkansas plays the Banjo. I should have realized that. :D

08-16-2014, 06:09 PM
Cheers to your Pa