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Hula Hoop Contest
Margaret Towner

My brother Joe names me princess
the day we hold the hula hoop contest.
He sits me on the kitchen stool
in the center of the cement slab,
foundation for our parent’s future study.
Barb’s job is to dress me up
in a pale blue chiffon dress 
taken out of the dress-up box, 
place a pop-bead necklace around my neck, 
hand me a wand to touch 
the shoulders of the winners.
Watching from the vinyl-covered throne
as neighborhood girls whirl their hoops
below on the patio, count the number
of times around their waists and necks,
arms and knees that the hoops spin,
I can’t stand to watch them laughing anymore. 
I fly into the house, rip off the dress,
pull on pedal pushers and tee-shirt,
rush back outside to spin a hoop,
still wearing anklet socks and plastic
high heels held on with elastic bands.

© by Margaret Towner.
Used with the author's permission.


Margaret Towner is an educator, musician, writer, and translator who lives in Long Beach, California. She spent many years in Uruguay, Chile, El Salvador and Mexico, where she studied Latin American music and raised three bilingual children. Margaret’s work has been published in anthologies and online journals; learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
barbara eknoian:
Such a sweet memory. Although I could never hula hoop, I can feel the excitement through your poem.
Posted 07/23/2014 10:06 AM
Ross Kightly:
Music, writing, translating, Uruguay, Chile, El Salvador and Mexico... wheee! No wonder after that start judging the contest and then getting stuck in! Great stuff... thanks too Jayne for the info.: I didn't know that the idea of the Hula Hoop came from children of my Homeland! You little beaudy!!
Posted 03/06/2014 01:43 AM
Wonderful to read and see you this morning in YDP! You go, Girl.
Posted 03/05/2014 01:33 PM
Love the details. Especially, the pop-beads.
Posted 03/05/2014 09:56 AM
Such fine, telling details.
Posted 03/05/2014 08:21 AM
Ah, pop-beads and pedal pushers! Remembrances galore in your poem. I'll be spinning that memory hoop for hours.Thank you. Marilyn Zelke-Windau
Posted 03/05/2014 08:20 AM

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