Tuesday, April 14, 2009

we didn't start the fire

It turns out you are the story of your childhood
and you’re under constant revision,
like a lonely folktale whose invisible folks

are all the selves you’ve been, lifelong,
shadows in fog, grey glimmers at dusk.
And each of these selves had a childhood
William Matthews (1942 - 1997) poet

the above is an excerpt from matthews poem A Happy Childhood, to read the complete poem go here

the photo above was taken in october 1958, according to wikipedia, this was the height of one period of hula-hoop mania.
Plastic hula hoops were first manufactured and sold in Australia. In 1957, Coles department store sold bamboo hoops, but the supplier couldn't produce enough to meet demand. So they invited Alex Tolmer, the founder of Toltoys, to produce plastic ones. Toltoys sold 400,000 plastic hoops in 1957. In 1958, Melin and Knerr of Wham-O started to market hula hoops in the USA, selling 100 million over that summer. The craze lasted from January to October, then suddenly died. In only four months, an estimated 80 to 100 million of them were sold in 1958.
playing with hoops is far from being only a modern or western childhood activity, the same wikipedia article discusses how hoops have been used throughout history and in many, many cultures.

I still like to play with hula hoops and yes I have one, but it's not nearly as nice as the one pictured above.

from 1989, billy joel's infectious hit we didn't start the fire which, yes, mentions hula hoops!


R.L. Bourges said...

You guys are something else.

Here's for Miss Hula Hoop 1958 and all her friends:


wv says: osuples - very supples indeed :-)

best, kimy.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wow rlb, thanks for the link! elena certainly has a way with the hoop! I adore cirque du soleil! hoop play ain't what it used to be!

Dot-Com said...

Reading this made me long for a hula-hoop! Awww, such fun times I had with the hula-hoop as a kid. Had one made of wood and one made of plastic :-)

ArtSparker said...

That photo is a masterpiece.really conveys such feeling.

annie said...

Bamboo hula hoops! Now I know of a self help project here in Lusaka...thanks for the idea! Mom's hand writing hasn't changed in 40+ years...that's nice, ain't it?

annie said...

whoops! 50+ yrs...sorry...age catching up i guess. A

musicjunkie said...

I instantly starting singing that song as soon as I read the title of this post. That was one of my favorite videos to watch as a kid.

And I still have a hula hoop, a blue sparkly one, not quite as cool as the one I had as a kid, but provides just as much fun. Besides, my abs get a nice little workout while driving my dog nuts, lol.

Steve said...

I love the photo. The off-center framing makes it seem even more carefree and fun!

(I loved that Billy Joel song when it was popular -- haven't heard it in years!)

Squirrel said...

Great photo, a happy action shot!

I never saw the hula hoop up close until long after the craze had passed and they made a resurgence in the 1980's. My neighbor was using one in her fitness routine.

California Girl said...

www.islandofvoices.blogspot.com is another blogger I like and she writes about much the same thing today, quoting Ray Bradbury. Interesting to compare your two posts.

Barbara said...

I love the saddle shoes even more than the hula hoop!

Life is good...except for sometimes. said...

Adorable, although I thought the hula hoop picture was too sweet and innocent for the song. But loved the post anyway. oxoxP

Lover of Life said...

I didn't realize they were only "popular" for a few months. They certainly have made a lasting impression.

Merle Sneed said...

I had a Hula Hoop when they we all the rage. Probably the last time I could really use it, too!