Monday, October 5, 2015

What Is a Mum?

One of the good things about moving many times is getting to know lots of places a little more "from the inside." You can get past the official, Chamber of Commerce tourist presentation of a town and get to know the people and what they do every day, their little traditions and unspoken values and stylings.

Without further ado:

Have you ever seen a corsage so big, the petite little high school girl has to hang it on straps around her neck while she wears it to school all day? Maybe this corsage has a back piece to help hold it on/balance the weight? In fact, maybe her homecoming date has to carry it for part of the school day to help take the load off? And perhaps her date's mom or sister made it for her after consulting about her interests and activities?

I wanted to attach a few articles about a Texas tradition which was totally new to me when we moved here first -- the tradition of the Homecoming Mum. It's a purely Texas Thing that has spilled over into some parts of border states Oklahoma and Louisiana.

When you first encounter Homecoming Mums in Kroger or Michaels, you can't imagine what you are looking at. What on earth is that gaudy wall of fake flowers, teddy bears, and metallic streamers for? Then someone explains...but you still feel a little incredulous. Would high school girls really wear that? (And Texas natives, likewise, are incredulous that you don't know about Homecoming Mums.)

However, before you read the below articles and say, "My hometown doesn't do anything crazy like that" -- a word of caution. This coming summer will be my 25th move in 44 years (30th move, if you count the 3-6 month stints), and I promise you that your hometown DOES do at least one crazy thing -- or have at least one crazy point of view -- or at least one very odd but understood-among-the-locals tradition. You just don't see it because you grew up there.

And because your hometown isn't in Texas, it isn't both BIG and crazy.

12 Things Non-Texans Need to Know about Homecoming Mums

This article includes a picture of an original midcentury mum:
Homecoming Mums: A Texas Tradition

Finally: some pics of really over-the-top ones: Massive Mums

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