colony pin

The Mighty Mum

A small break in illustration post to talk about Homecoming Mums for the reblogbookclub. And a bit of ThrowbackThursday. In chapter 33 of Dumplin’, Willowdean describes the a mum given to her and some brief background on the VERY TEXAN tradition. I was delighted Julie included this— I think it’s the first time I’ve seen mums make an appearance in any media, aside from a brief glimpse in the background of a Friday Night Lights episode. It makes sense though, because it’s a strange and pretty much exclusively Texan thing. So I have some visuals.

The tradition started as school spirit themed flowers, actual mums, worn during Homecoming. They have since morphed into large, extravagant wall hangings worn on one’s person. Fake mums with ribbons in school colors and teddy bears and bells and whistles and glitter and lights and music and tiaras and feathers and and and… The bigger the better, because- Texas. You give one to your date, or get one from your mom or friends if you want to wear one. “Mums” for girls, worn on the chest, “Garters” for guys worn on the arm. They’re usually personalized to whatever you and your date (if applicable) are into. And Seniors wear all white (and silver or gold). At my high school, we wore them to school all day Homecoming Friday (yes, it is a disturbance), and then later to the football game. And then they’re retired to the wall.

 (Note the Bieber themed one)

When I was in middle school, a friend of my brother’s asked my mom to help him build one for his date. And it turns out she was very, very good at it. By the time I was in high school, “JaniBlocker Mums” had become a sought after brand in our district/area. And every fall, our house became a workshop. “Mum Hell,” affectionately. 

(Look on the wall behind you can see some of my early works…)

I might never have worn one if I wasn’t related to the Queen. But it is a fun high school memory. They’re all still saved in a closet. (Sophomore and Junior dates, I couldn’t find my Freshman or Senior pics.)

There was a  a colony of safety pins behind behind those. The shirt was sacrificed. My brother’s date one year had to hot glue hers to her denim jacket. Now they sell harnesses. 

Mums have since continued to grow. Eventually people will just give in to the full wreath I think. My mom is slowly phasing out of the business. (“They’re getting too large!”- hilarious). Now she’s a certified balloon artist and event decor designer.

It’s a ridiculous over-the-top custom. But I do have nostalgia for it. I was always proud of my crafty mom. She’s very passionate. And she always made sure those who wanted to participate in the tradition were able to, where it was in her power, so no one would feel left out. She’s a good one. 

Anyways. Happy Homecoming (Y’all)!

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Name                 : Mrs.Srilaxmi Shetty
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