Getting a Groove on with My Ukulele in 1955

A relative recently found the 1955 photo below of three-year old me getting a groove on with my ukulele. I am on top of the dining room table at our home at 283 Dufferin Avenue in London, Ontario, Canada. My one-year old brother Chris (1954-2009) appears to be more concerned about keeping his balance than anything else, although he does look content. Meanwhile, our mother Jay Peterson (1920-1976) reads. Mom was a gourmet cook so I would not be surprised if she was studying a recipe.

Jay, Chris and Leith Peterson, 1955
Jay Peterson, Chris Peterson and Leith Peterson, 1955

My father Charles T Peterson (1913-2007) worked next door in his periodontal office at 281 Dufferin Avenue. Below is an aerial photo of 283 (left) and 281 (right). This photo was taken around 1973.

283 and 281 Dufferin, circa 1973
283 (left) and 281 (right) Dufferin Avenue, London, Ontario, Canada, circa 1973

By 1974, members of the Peterson family had relocated to other parts of the city or other parts of the country. However, my father rented out 283 and ran his practice at 281 until about 1977. Then around 1978, both our former family home and my father’s office were torn down. Where they once stood is now the Metropolitan United Church parking lot. In the aerial photo above, you can see a small part of Metropolitan Church on the right.

It is ironical that I was born on a Sunday because I am not the poster child for the “Monday’s Child” poem about this.

And the child that is born on the Sabbath day

Is bonny and blithe, good and gay

This poem was originally published in 1838. In 1974 a musical adaptation was released.

A Sunday child is thought to be happy, fortunate, and wise. Bonny can mean beautiful or attractive, and blithe equals joyful.

I am certainly not known for my looks. Some people appreciate my occasional wisdom and sense of humour. No one has ever described me as joyful. As a child, however, I often smiled and enjoyed what I was doing.

Nevertheless, I created many difficulties for my parents because I was always taking off out of sight of their watchful eyes. For instance, when their backs were turned, I would toddle out the door, head down the street and peek in neighbours’ windows. If we went to the beach, I would race out into the water until it was over my head.

One of the reasons my mother invented several baby carrying devices was because she wanted to ensure her three younger children were close at hand. She decided after what she had gone through with me, her oldest child, she would be prepared.

In 1954, the year before my “uke” grooving, I got into her makeup and smeared lipstick all over my face.

Jay and Leith Peterson, 1954
Jay and Leith Peterson, 1954

As you can see, my mother was not impressed.

Mom was born on a Tuesday and was full of grace, like the poem said. Below is a photo of her taken around 1923, when she was three. Her given name was Jessie and her maiden name was Fleming. Most people called her Jay from about the 1970s onwards.

Jessie Fleming, circa 1923
Jessie Fleming, circa 1923

I did not inherit Mom’s graceful temperament. You might have noticed in the 1955 “uke” photo above that my hair is very short for a girl my age during that era. This is because I frequently snipped it off, with unfavourable results.

Below is a photo take of me in 1954, during a period when I had refrained from trimming my locks.

Leith Peterson, 1954
Leith Peterson, 1954 (Victor Aziz photo)

But by 1955, I was back at it again, as you can see in the photo below.

Leith Peterson, 1955
Leith Peterson, 1955 (Victor Aziz photo)

In many photos of me as a child, I am wearing a hat or bonnet, which often signified that I had recently been on one of my “hairstyling” missions.

It has been fun to revisit this period of my life. I hope this post brings a smile to your face.


Milwaukee with Kids. (2022, November 16). Day of the Week Poem: Your child’s personality (2023).

Wikipedia contributors. (2023, April 21). Monday’s Child. In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.