Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

Learning the ukulele in Phoenix in 1916


It's 1916, we're in Phoenix, Arizona, and we're socially unpopular. And I know why, it's because neither one of us can play the ukulele!

Yes, the ukulele is all the rage. I bought one a while back and have tried to figure it out, but it turns out it's more difficult than I thought. Yes, I was hoping that it would get me invited to the best parties. It turns out it nearly got me thrown out of my boarding house. I see that you're carrying yours, can you play a bit? OK, stop. That's terrible. You'll be getting us kicked out of Phoenix!

Say, I have an idea! Take a look at this ad in the paper. I don't know who this Miss McDaniels is, but it looks like she can teach use how to play the ukulele. Let's see, her number is 499, so we can call her. No, I don't have a phone, maybe my landlady will let me use hers. What time is it? It's after five, so we have to call 579. Can you remember that number? Better write it down! Oh yeah, and here, you'd better put the paper back on the newsstand, I think we're getting a dirty look.

OK, I just talked to Miss McDaniels, it's all set for next Wednesday. She has some other paying customers showing up then. What? No, I don't have any money either, that's why I said that in exchange for lessons, we'd clean up their barn. Well, I figured you'd do it, and I'd watch.

I think this will make all the difference to our social lives! Before you know it, we'll be playing and making everything think that they're in Waikiki.

Image at the top of this post from the Library of Congress https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020558/1916-11-17/ed-1/seq-11.pdf

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