The year was 1957, the place Homestead, Florida. I was ten years old and a darn good hula hooper. One day at my Catholic school we had a hula hoop contest in PE class. At the end of the period me and this other girl, a skinny thing named Joy Gadway – can’t believe I still remember her name – were the only ones still going.
In order to wrap things up, the nuns in charge decided we should have a “dog fight” to determine the winner. I’d never done one before. You walk toward each other, hoops spinning around your waist, and clash hoops, hoping theirs careens out of orbit and hits the ground before yours.
I’m not a very aggressive person. We’d been taught by these same nuns to make nice, after all, and I took it seriously. I wasn’t cut out for dog fighting. Evidently, Joy was. She came at me, got in a good swipe and my hoop went down, down, down. She won and I came in second. But without that stupid dog fight I might’ve outlasted her.
Fast forward 59 years. I’m hooping again. All because of a Fifties sock hop I got invited to a few weeks ago, complete with hula hoop contest. I already had a hoop. I saw it at a toy store when my grandsons were little, bought it for old times sake, then after a couple attempts
stashed it away for “some day when I have time.”
That “some day” had arrived. I found the hoop buried in my utility room, hosed it off and tried it out. My hips were a little rusty and I only lasted 50 swivels. Not pretty. It was easier when I was ten! But I kept practicing and got up to 300. And won the sock hop hula hoop contest! Granted, the competition among my 60-something rivals wasn’t very steep, and there was no dog fight, but a win is a win.
I’m still hooping. 300 swivels a few times a day just to get the blood moving, and working my way up little by little. Great for the waistline. And if I find a fellow hooper maybe I can even challenge them to a dog fight. I wonder if Joy Gadway’s still around.