How we ever came to have a ukulele in the house I will never know. Beyond a passive love for listening to music on the radio, stereo and television, neither of my parents were musically inclined. My brother and I learned to play large wooden xylophones at primary school, but we were more interested in playing in our back-yard sand pit or racing our homemade trolleys down the steep streets of our neighbourhood. And besides, the songs of the birds was the music I favoured as a child and I learned to whistle along with them. Who needed an instrument?
I suspect that it was our mother who slipped the ukulele into the house. She had great expectations that her boys would become musicians and/or doctors so that “you can care and sing for us when we are old”. Did she mean at the same time? It was a good plan but she was to be disappointed on both counts.
An old upright piano, complete with hinged candelabras, found its way into our house for the same reasons I am sure – albeit with a little more effort than the ukulele required. But aside from the occasional exuberant rendition of chopsticks on rainy days, the old upright suffered the same terrible fate as the ukulele and stood in silent testimony to our lack of musicality – or perhaps our disinterested laziness. At least the piano, unlike the ukulele, didn’t find its way into our toy box all the time!