Monday, September 19, 2011

A Homecoming Tradition: Mum's the Word

For any of you that know me personally, you already know that my daughter, Laura, is spending this school year with her dad in Kansas. Although I miss her tremendously, I am happy that she is able to spend time with her family there and still be strong in her self knowing that I love her and am OK with her being apart from me.

I received a text saying they don't have the traditional "homecoming mum" corsages in Kansas. My first reaction was "what the heck?!". I've been looking forward to making her homecoming mum for years. The tradition is apparently a Southern thing. The mum is the Pièce de résistance to many Southern girl's homecoming outfits. Typically, the bigger and gaudier, the better.

A homecoming mum consists of the center flower, which can be live or made of silk, three to four feet of streamers with cowbells, ribbons, footballs, and symbolic trinkets relating to the school mascot. Add to the streamers, the name of the person wearing the mum, and their date(if they have one) with stick-on sparkly letters and the mum is complete. Some add plush animals and battery operated light strands to make it as unique as possible. Homecoming mums can be quite expensive. Some pay upwards of $100 for an arrangement that is sometimes bigger than the girl wearing it. In my town, you can even purchase pre-made pieces to add to your corsages at the corner grocery store.

This made me start thinking about homecoming in general.
My first homecoming was at LaGrange Senior High School, freshman year. I still remember the night like it was yesterday. I remember standing in my front yard taking photos with my date - David, and my friends, Rachel, Mike, Chris & Lonnelle. This was before it was popular to have limos for homecoming, but for some reason I can't remember how we got to the dance. I do remember what I wore and being so nervous about my hair and make-up. Back in "the day", girls wore suits with skirt, jacket and hat. I had a charcoal grey suit with subtle pin stripes and of course the high neck frilly shirt. I remember the smells and the night air. I can still hear "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as we danced the night away. When I got home, I put my mum with the purple and white streamers in a clear box and packed it away with all of my other keepsakes. Can you believe I still have that mum somewhere in my attic?

The thought of my daughter not having a homecoming mum makes me sad. I have made several mums over the years for my son's dates, and for friends who didn't have it in them to make or buy one of their own. I have hot glue scars that will never go away. I proudly count them as motherly war wounds. The rug in my living room is set at an angle and one corner secretly hides a blob of homecoming mum hot glue under my couch. Not only is the homecoming mum an integral part of every Southern girl's homecoming wardrobe, it is also a bragging right of mothers throughout Louisiana and other Southern states.

I wish I had thought about making one sooner to mail to Laura. It might have been therapeutic and who knows, maybe Laura could have started a little Southern trend in Kansas. I'm afraid I may have waited too long. Shhh, Mums the word!

No comments:

Post a Comment