Friday, October 9, 2015

Homecoming: Living in a Mum-Crazed State

I went to high school in the nineties and feel just as my mother (from the 60’s) probably felt, why are the mums these days so freaking huge? Why?!?

When I was a Freshman in high school my boyfriend tried to impress with a mum that back then was seriously considered “a big mum” and to top it off it was real, so it did turn heads a bit. 

It was pretty bulky and took four pins to keep it on my lovely dark blue velvet dress. I can’t begin imagine what he paid for it especially being real. Even though the mum, itself, died just a few days later that mum still hung on my bedroom wall for years. 

It’s funny when you google “the history of homecoming mums” the first 10 results have to do with Texas including one that is listed as the 12 things non-Texans need to Know about Homecoming Mums. So, yesterday morning I hit all of my social media outlets with two questions: 

For those who did not attend high school in Texas: Are Homecoming Mums as big of a deal in other states?

For everyone: How big was your homecoming mum?

I have to admit that must be living in my Texas bubble because I had no clue that Homecoming Mums were pretty much just a Texas thing. I really thought this was a tradition throughout our nation, not just the Southern States (because Missouri, Arkansas and a little bit of Oklahoma have mums too, but with not nearly as much hoopla as Texas).

Now, a little history on Homecoming and Homecoming Mums, The NCAA says that the University of Missouri was the official birth place of homecoming. In 1911 the alumni were invited to attend the game and to entice them there was a huge celebration with parades and pep style rallies. 

I really liked this story I received from one of my friends yesterday: 

Nebraska in the 80's no flowers. But in the 50's when my mom was in school real mum flowers taken from family or neighbors yard and presents to young ladies the day of the game and "will you go to the post game dance with me". If she declined he would ask someone else until he got a date/dance partner.

Oh, how I wish I could go back and live in the 1950’s. 

Now at some point after Homecoming started at the University of Missouri,  the tradition started in Texas were a boy would give a chrysanthemum to his date for the dance in the form of a corsage. Right in line with what I heard back from responders to my question, for decades the mum was just a small flower (real) with a few ribbons. 

This all brings me back to flipping through my mom’s year book (from the 1960’s) and seeing pictures like this one of the 1968 SMU homecoming queen. 


Homecoming Mums became more elaborate through the years, but for decades were still one (maybe two) flowers normally with pipe cleaners bent into the shape of a number or letter. From the mums hung ribbons (some shorter than others) that hit you right about the knee. 

When I was a junior in high school, this was a “normal” sized mum.

As the years have progressed, the mums have grown larger and larger to the mammoth, bigger than my youngest child sized mums that girls are wearing today. Now, instead of pinning them onto clothing they are having to be worn like necklaces around the girl’s neck. The old-school traditional southern girl in me is just screaming! 

It may be no shock to you (especially if you are in Texas) we are smack dab in the middle of homecoming season. My freshman left this morning with her mum. 

I’ll give you a minute to process the size and the amount of glitter included with this thing. 

For the past three days I have had a few hissy fits (hate to admit it) about this mum that was made by the mother of Shelby’s friend. But I have had to face reality that this is actually what Shelby wanted and she likes it very much (and she will be doing chores till she’s 18 to pay back the money this thing cost me) - man that was hard to type. 

I don’t get it, but as Gloria told me yesterday, “our parents probably didn’t get doc martens when we were in high school.” I miss the days of “simple is better”.

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