Bigger and Better in Texas

While I have lived outside of my native state of Texas for nearly five years, it wasn’t until last fall when my oldest was a freshman in high school that I realized something missing here. That something is definitely frivolous in the grand-scheme of life so this musing is totally trivial compared to my typical post. Never the less, I have to say:

Some things really are Bigger and Better in Texas…

But what I don’t understand is why NO Homecoming Mums here at all!?
If you don’t live in Texas, you probably don’t have Homecoming Mums either, so let me give a little history.
In the 1930’s a Chrysanthemum flower in the form of a corsage was given by a boy to his date before the homecoming football game. This token of thoughtfulness is what has morphed in to the well-known Texas Homecoming Mum.
While in the beginning it was a simple and fairly small flower costing about $3, sometime between the 1970’s and 1990’s it developed in to something much more and they seem to just be getting bigger. Now at Homecomings across Texas, the girls will be wearing mums weighing over 10-12 pounds and costing about $100.  This modern day mum is typically comprised of enormous silk flowers with decorated ribbons flowing down to the ground. And they are embellished with charms and possibly even plush toys, like a stuffed teddy bear or the school mascot.
Tacky, huh? And, yet, I miss this tradition!
Homecoming was a special occasion, everyone dressing up for the big game and pre- or post-game activities.  And as its been said, even though only one is crowned Homecoming Queen, wearing a mum for the night makes every girl feel like royalty!
Here I am as a sophomore; same age my daughter is now.
Here I am as a sophomore; same age my daughter is now.
And my junior, may miss the mums but sure not the hair and clothing styles :)
And my junior year…wow, may miss the mums but sure not the hair and clothing styles
The cherished homecoming mums were always saved after the weekend. In fact, mine hung on my bulletin board at my parents’ house until I was getting married and my mom said it was time for them to go (along with the other dead flower bouquets and corsages!)
So last year as my daughter’s high school homecoming was approaching I kept asking about Homecoming dates and mums. She sees Instagram pics of all her Texas’ friends decked out in their mums, but she told me that her school didn’t do that. I really wasn’t convinced that was true until we got to the game and sure enough not one person had on a mum!
It made me sad for her not to have the same Homecoming experience and memories that I had. I know that probably sounds silly to y’all non-Texans. And, I readily admit that in many ways it has become crazy over-the-top and just another means for some to feel better than others based on the size of their mum.
But since it is my daughter’s Homecoming this week, I pulled out my old photo albums to show her. And remembered another of my alma mater’s homecoming traditions… we wrapped the school (tp’d, papered or whatever you call it where you live) the night before the Home coming parade and big game.
My bet you have your own Homecoming stories… so in honor of fall football and high school Homecomings, take a walk down memory lane and post your comments!

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3 thoughts on “Bigger and Better in Texas

  1. So that’s what those were that I saw the girls wearing the day I subbed in an elementary school across from the high school! They were certainly eye-catching and it’s nice for this new Texan to find out about the tradition of Homecoming mums. Of course as a native Mainer I thought at first you were talking about mothers, since we pronounce Mom as Mum!! Thanks Kristen

  2. Ahhh, such sweet memories…same tradition in the Old South–only not as BIG! I was new to Atlanta my Freshman year back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth… I recall my Texas bred Mama was aghast at the diminutive size of the Ga. mum! We had school colored ribbons attached with little footballs tied at the end–prolly dinosaur eggs in facsimile. And down the sides of the ribbons it said, “Go Devils–Beat Christians”. As a new believer, I remember being very conflicted at my first Homecoming! Wish I could find a photo for proof!

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