Hometown Shout Outs
Guest Post by Amy J. Schultz
...and mentions of East Texas, West Texas, North Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Illinois, and New Mexico. And China :)
A delectable slice of Texas tradition sprinkled with much love and joy.
If you grew up in Texas or have spent any time in a Texas high school during football season, you know about "The Mum," and author Amy J. Schultz's new photo essay book more than does it justice. With its mix of evocative and fun photographs of people, places, and things that are part of the mum experience, well-researched history of mum culture, and delightful (and sometimes poignant) stories of mums gone by,Mumentous is an unexpected love letter to its past and a thought-provoking peek into its future.
My Mum Memories (of course!):
I remember receiving mums for homecoming and what a big deal it was in the high school experience, even back in my day (which is far enough in the past that artificial flowers weren't even a consideration.) My sisters and I had to refrigerate the mums to keep them fresh and healthy-looking. However, with four girls in the house, they certainly wouldn't fit in the kitchen fridge. We had an older one out in the garage where we would store the things in their bakery cake-sized boxes until the flowers eventually died, and my father would get his beer kegger back.
Mums have changed an awful lot since my supposed 'glory days.' A double mum was 'special' in my era and school, and a triple was downright extravagant and ostentatious. Mum designs were very simple in comparison to what is de rigueur today. I loved the stories of girls (or moms) getting together to make their own mums, either for themselves or for exchanging with friends, especially the idea of embellishing it to reflect one's personal tastes or interests.
In addition to the individual mum stories, there are numerous shots of girls and guys wearing them mums. The great black and white pictures remove the natural hometown prejudice one might have when viewing the mums' school colors; however, I sometimes had difficulty discriminating between the different parts or items on them, particularly those of the senior girls that were executed in silver and white.
The author's inclusion of the movement of the manufacture of the mums from florists to enterprising home-based business solutions was absolutely fascinating. First of all, I didn't even know that florists didn't do mums anymore, and secondly, the amount of money spent and the income generated is mind-boggling.
With straight As for nostalgia, visual showmanship, and mum lore, I recommend MUMENTOUS to those among us who yearn for a nostalgic Friday Night Lights tale that isn't about the big game.