Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Pop-Up Blog-Hop & Giveaway: Mumentous by Amy J. Schultz

Original Photos and Mostly-True Stories about Football,
Glue Guns, Moms, and a Supersized High School Tradition
That Was Born Deep in the Heart of Texas
Amy J. Schultz

Nonfiction / Photo-Driven Memoir / Women’s History / Pop Culture / Texana
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Page Count: 178 pages
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Scroll down for a giveaway!

The closest you'll ever get to seeing someone actually wear their heart on their sleeve is in Texas, every fall, at the local high school homecoming game.

They're called homecoming mums. They are as bodacious as football, as irresistible as a juicy rumor, and as deep as a momma's love. Over a hundred years ago when the custom began, mum was short for chrysanthemum, a typical corsage that boys gave to girls before taking them to the big football game. But through the decades, mum went from a simple abbreviation to a complicated shorthand for an eye-popping tradition that's as ingrained in the culture as it is confounding to outsiders.

Through her original photography and collection of stories from across and beyond the Lone Star State, Amy J. Schultz takes us deep in the heart of mum country. You'll meet kids who wear them, parents who buy them, and critics who decry them as just another example of consumerism gone wild. But mostly, you'll discover that just like every ritual which stands the test of time, someone is keeping the tradition alive. Someone like Mom.

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Hometown Shout Outs

Guest Post by Amy J. Schultz


I didn't include a list of schools in the book for the same reason that I show my photographs in black and white -- I want to take people away from a "micro" view of the tradition (aka I only love my own school colors) to a "macro" one (wow, this tradition is really similar everywhere you go in Texas). But I will share a list of towns/cities represented in MUMENTOUS, either because I mention the town by name, took a photo there, or I interviewed someone who went to school or sells mums there:
Balch Springs
El Paso
Fort Worth
Grand Prairie
San Antonio
Trophy Club

...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  :)

5 stars!

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.

Amy J. Schultz is an author and award-winning photographer who explores unique aspects of modern culture that hide in plain sight. When she isn’t talking about homecoming mums, Amy is writing, taking photos, working on other creative projects, traveling, snort-laughing, or vacuuming up dog fur.

First Prize: signed hardback copy + enamel pin; 
Second Prize: eBook + enamel pin
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 9/8/23)


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Kristine said...

I love how many TX cities are named/explored in the book. She did her research all around the state. Love it. Thanks for sharing!

Amy J. Schultz said...

Hey Guatemala Paula - you rock! Thanks for sharing your love of books and interest in Texas culture with your readers. Will you go to hoco with me ;) ?