What Goes Around
Bev Vines-Haines

The first inexplicable fad/phenomenon I personally witnessed was the 1958 Hula Hoop craze. Sixteen years old, I worked at the Kreske Dollar Store in downtown Jackson, Michigan and one Saturday morning my employers abandoned me in a hastily constructed kiosk at the front of the store, amply supplied with an endless inventory of bright plastic rings. No one really knew what to do with them, but they had heard about them and the rumors of a projected shortage. So this clambering queue of Ward and June look-alikes besieged my little counter. There was little or no order. Kids grabbed the hoops, parents thrust dollar bills at me with wild abandon. There was money everywhere: on the counter, tossed on the floor, even wadded up and thrown at me. It might have been the first such fiscal circus since WW II, the big one. Did it make sense? Didn't have to. Even without Saturday morning cartoon shows to hawk this product, every kid in America wanted one, had to have one. And post war parents had enough collective guilt built up to buckle. Later we would see white lipstick, pet rocks, Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo, to name just a few. For the sake of argument, I think national insanity peaked with those Hula Hoops. Everything else has been nothing but cheap wannabe hype.

First published: November, 2004
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