When I was a little girl, Hula hoops were a new thing. Everyone had one. Pretty soon everyone knew how to hoopla hoop.
I had to practice and practice. My belly ached from trying, but I figured if Deanna could do it, so could I. I had to practice outside, cuz hula hoops are outside toys, not for crashing around inside with and knocking over precious things or decapitating stuff. Outdoors had lots of obstacles, too, like little kids underfoot, and mosquitoes buzzing and biting until whack, I gave them the death penalty.
I don’t even remember when we got hulaa hoops. It wasn’t Christmas and it wasn’t a birthday. Most toys come with a holiday. We didn’t get toys just for no reason at all; unless you count inner tubes, which were for camping and were next to free at the gas station. Hula hoops cost something and even though they didn’t cost much, especially if there was a blue-light special at K-Mart,, multiplied by nine kids added up to expensive. So ‘course we didn’t each have one. We might have had three or maybe even four. For sure we had at least two, cuz we had contests, and cuz Nancy from across the road taught us hula hoop wars.
Me and Deanna and Bonita and Cathy and Tom from next door liked to have contests to see who could keep the hoop up the longest. Cathy had a fancy one with beads inside that swish-swished as she spun the around and around her waist.
Nancy loved hula hoop wars a whole lot more than plain old keep-up contests. For wars, you had to walk with the hula hoop spinning, and run into another Hoola-Hoop. The winner was still spinning their hoop, while the other kid’s was down hanging dead as a door nail, around her ankles. I could hardly walk with my Hoola-Hoop, let alone keep it spinning after running into something, so I usually lost at wars.
Hula-hooping is easy as pie once you get the hang of it. I could keep mine up for hours, if Mom didn’t have some chore or other for me to do. Sometimes I got two or three going at once. I could even spin one starting at my neck and work it down to my knees. I never did that for long, cuz for one thing, it’d be selfish to hog hula hoops all to myself and practice, and for another thing, every kind of play is more fun with someone else. Even solitaire is better playing doubles. Even reading is more fun when someone is sitting on the sofa reading along with you. Especially if that one person is Mom, cuz she’s a super-duper reader and makes a story feel real.
Now that I’m grown, I still love to hula hoop. I can’t make the K-Mart versions stay up. I have a fancy, exercise hoop that’s weighted. I can keep it up at least 3 minutes. After that, I think of chores I need to do. Besides, for whatever reason, my body doesn’t believe I can hula hoop for hours anymore. Still, I do have a lot of fun hula hooping with grandkids.
Recently, I got a chance to sit down and talk to Leela Mae, a professional Hooper. She’s having the time of her life. Read more about it Here. I wonder if Leela Mae ever went up against Nancy at hula hoop wars.