Mumentous By Amy J Schultz – Lone Star Book Blog Tours

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
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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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Excerpt from Mumentous by Amy J. Schultz




  1. (derived from “momentous”) of great importance or significance, especially in its bearing on the future
  2. a complex portmanteau suggesting that “what the mums meant to us” was, in fact, momentous


02c Excerpt Mumentous

The humidity pushed down on the football stadium that homecoming night, capping and coagulating the din rising from the student section. Each individual sound, movement, and breath taken seemed to stick together in the atmosphere, forming a singular, dense mass of joyful disharmonies.

I love it.

When I’m in a big crowd like this one, I play a game my mom taught me back when I was a wiggly child sitting next to her at a concert. First, she told me, find the sound of one instrument. The trumpet, maybe, or the piano. Listen to its melody until you can follow its story. Once understood, open your eardrums just a little in search of a complementary tone. Try to add a third, then a fourth. Take care you don’t add too many storylines at once so that the first ones disappear back into the murk, because every instrument is equally important.

As I applied her game to the homecoming-related chatter around me, there were so many harmonic stories from which to choose:

The person who sat next to me, talking on his phone.

The person sitting on the other side of me, hollering missed penalties at the top of her lungs.

The huddle of teenagers laughing hysterically at a terrible joke.

A high school marching band rotating through their set list, including a near-perfect rendition of a fight song brazenly borrowed from the biggest universities in the country (think University of Michigan’s “Hail to the Victors”) plus the unofficial state song (“Deep in the Heart of Texas”) and a mash-up of tunes by Journey, Michael Jackson, and Nicki Minaj.

Organized chanting from the cheerleading squad and disorganized responses from the thirty or so students in the stands facing them.

Samples of buzzers, play commentary, and sponsor announcements as players shouted plays at each other and cat calls at their opponents.

Coaches screaming, red-faced. An occasional referee whistling the end of the play.

Feet pounding out tremors from the shaky bleachers below.

I was seventeen when I last took in the spectacle of a high school homecoming football game. It was also the last time I wore a homecoming corsage, which in my home state of Florida consisted of a perfunctory live chrysanthemum flower and a few ribbons in school colors. But now, well into the next millennium, I was in Texas, a place where “everything is bigger” is both a motto and a call to action.

To say that Texas high school homecoming corsages, a.k.a. MUMS, are super-sized would be a pitiful understatement. A Texas homecoming mum precedes you with the power of a juicy rumor.

Just then, I heard giggles from a klatch of be-mummed girls. I’d been dying to try on a Texas homecoming mum, and the bigger the better. I made my move. A willing senior offered hers to me for a few precious minutes. As she lifted her mum over my head, I braced myself.

The front of this senior’s mum consisted of about twenty artificial chrysanthemums at its core and an explosion of ribbons and decorations that extended out in every direction. The back of the mum was a large piece of cardboard backing to which everything had been glued and stapled.

Affixed to the mum’s backing was an industrial-strength ribbon that secured the mum to my body. The ribbon pinched against the back of my neck as the mum landed on my shoulders, then settled into place.

I took an involuntary step to steady myself. When you’re enveloped in a mum of this size, there’s no direction to go but forward. As I found my footing to steer all three of my dimensions, the mum audibly cheered me on, because woven into it was a waterfall of sleigh bells and cow bells. With my every step, twist, and gesture, the bells involuntarily created a manic and discordant melody. As I swept by the fans sitting in the bleachers nearby, I felt like the homecoming queen and her parade float combined.

Even though my body was barely visible, there was nothing about me that felt hidden. I was outrageously conspicuous and totally emboldened.

The senior started to get antsy, so I returned her mum to its rightful perch. Instantly, I lost twenty pounds. My skin welcomed back the light evening breeze.

As she and her friends walked away, laughing hysterically, I noticed how their mums’ songs were completely unlike any other sound in the stadium. Given the ambient decibel level, that was something. The mums defied them all.

They were outrageously conspicuous and totally emboldened, just like a teenager making a big noise in our big, noisy world.

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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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3 thoughts on “Mumentous By Amy J Schultz – Lone Star Book Blog Tours

  1. Wow. Reading this really does bring back the memories, even to my own high school days in the ’80s, in a state where the homecoming mum was just that — one flower with ribbons. Have lived the Texas mum sensation through 5 kids though. I know this story very well! Thanks for sharing!

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