Having a hoot with the hula hoop

Published 10:40 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

Very few toys were ever bought for me as a child.

After all, there were four other kids in my home and money was very tight due to my mother’s many surgeries and illnesses, not to mention the illnesses of the five of us.

In fact, I can only remember receiving a few toys in my entire lifetime growing up. Two of those toys, dolls I had as a child, are now my prize possessions.

Even my grandchildren knew not to ask to play with them because they are so special to me.

I remember having a baton I thought I was pretty talented in twirling. I pretended to be a majorette while marching and twirling. I was adept at twirling the baton through my fingers, with both arms and bringing it in front of me and changing arms. I often threw it up in the air and caught it but the catching part was definitely not majorette quality since I did a lot of picking up off the ground and had a sore head many times.

I spent several hours of free time on Sundays playing jacks with friends or my sister. When I was very young, I dressed up paper dolls like the kids do now with their Barbies.

Mostly, however, our games were family oriented like Red Rover and softball. A favorite at our house was hully gully played with marbles. Our mom used to play this with us and I think she must have played this at her home growing up.

We became good at playing cards, my daddy’s favorite was a game called “Pitch” or 21 as it was sometimes called. This game is still a favorite with our family and at family gatherings a deck of cards is usually brought out. Then, I received a gift that cost very little but gave me hours of fun. It was a hula hoop.

Oh, the fun I had with that one.

For one thing, I did not have to share it with anyone and it was all mine. Unlike the one bike for the whole family that with three older kids I seldom got to use.

The hula hoop was another toy I mastered pretty well with lots of practice. I learned to twirl it around my waist for long periods of time then I would twirl it around my neck, move it from one arm to the other arm and continue twirling.

Other than buying a hula hoop for my granddaughters and playing with them, a hula hoop had become out of sight out of mind for me. That is, until last year when my friend M.K. Trusty told me she was doing weekly hula hoop classes. Classes in hula hoop intrigued me. I asked her to tell her leader I wanted to buy a hula hoop like they used. Let me say, the price of this hula hoop far exceeded the price of the one I had as a child.

I decided to attend a hula hoop class so I practiced a little bit on the hoop so I would not embarrass myself or my friends. I went to my first hula hoop class last Thursday evening and I have to say I loved it.

I think I have finally found a way to exercise that I will enjoy.

I was a little surprised that yoga was included with the hula hoop class. I had not prepared for this benefit of the class and I may have embarrassed myself trying to stand on one leg and doing exercise.

Let me just say I can twirl a hula hoop better than I can stand on one leg. I need to confess also that I need a lot of practice to catch up with those ladies who have done this over a year now.

I have decided I am up to the challenge!