Sunday, February 20, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week 7: Toys

Week 7 Challenge: Toys. What was your favorite childhood toy? Is it still being made in some form today?

There were many toys that struck my fancy as a child, but the one I chose to write about this week is the original Hula-Hoop by Wham-O. These circular tubes were great fun and good exercise! These toys came out in the mid 1950s, and as with most new inventions, I had to be the first on my block to have one. If I remember correctly, mine was banana yellow.

I loved to Hula in our front yard, or in the living room if the weather was bad outside. I was always Hula-Hooping. It didn't take long to pick up the technique. After a while, just Hooping around my waist wasn't enough and I had to master twirling the hoop around my neck and my arms. I don't think I ever mastered hooping on one leg, but I'm sure I must have tried.

My father became a master at the Hula-Hoop boomerang - as you can see in the third drawing in the advertisement here. You had to have a pretty good concrete driveway. There was a trick to spinning the hoop backwards while it moved forward and then it came right back to you! I'm sure there was some kind of scientific equation involved, but all I know is that it worked. Like magic.

Wham-O's other big toy of the 1950s was the Frisbee. This was the incredible flying disc with which you could play catch, or if alone, you could master the boomerang method with the Frisbee as well.

Both of these toys are still manufactured and sold today. In fact, I bought an imitation Hula-Hoop a couple years ago. It was certainly not like the original. It was light weight and filled with water. I really do blame my inability to hoop this time around on the cheap device rather than lack of hooping skills. It started leaking, then broke apart. It wound up in the trash last fall. I'm still going to shop around for a brand name Hula Hoop because I could still have fun with one today!

I also loved board games and my favorite was Monopoly. I still have my original board, funny money, cards and tokens. A couple years ago, I bought The Beatles Monopoly board game. It's still in the shrink wrap, but I might break the seal some day just to see what's inside. Years ago, I received as a gift a version of Monopoly-type game based on my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. It was produced as a fund-raiser for a community organization. Apparently donors could buy a square on the board and put the name of an honoree on the square. Yep - my name was printed on the game board.

Some things never change. Last month I downloaded a version of Monopoly to my Kindle e-reader.

About 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Amy Coffin of We Tree Genealogy has created a third year of blogging prompts for genealogy bloggers.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Susan for reminding me abut the hula hoop. I had forgotten all about those crazes which swept around the school and home - the other main one I now recall were yo-yo's, with everyone trying to better each other at tricks.