Pop-Up Blog-Hop: 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

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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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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.


Notable Quotables from Mumentous by Amy J. Schultz


A Texas homecoming mum precedes you with the power of a juicy rumor.

In Texas, football is an identity. Your team and fellow fans are your people, and once you’re in, you’re in for life. While the rest of the world might just see a field, brightly lit by vibrant LED displays, Texans understand that Friday night lights describe the collective energy, pride, and sense of belonging that glow from the stands.

Which is why, by gosh, you must dress for the game. You’re not just a spectator! You have a critical part to play, so you’d better suit up.

Anchored in the past and fed by expectation, a tradition flows most deeply in places with the fewest obstacles to it. Ultimately, those that survive allow themselves to be contoured by the times rather than dammed by them. Even in Texas, the land where homecoming mums began.

How do you make a mum?

“Wine,” she said. “Lots and lots of wine.”

This century-long evolution of what it means to “go” to homecoming, mums included, has been a long, slow burn, stoked by Texas teenagers being teenagers living in the present. Charged with contrary desires to fit in and stand out and to “go-fight-win” for a place you love more than you can explain, today’s rules of engagement are slowly eclipsing the original courtship ritual that predates anyone alive.

The key to any mum is to own it.

From conception to completion, a mum under construction becomes another family member. Like a demanding relative from out of town, it moves in and can take over for weeks on end.

The members of this professional group, united around mums as both a business and a cause, were like homecoming superheroes. Their mission? Fight against the evil misconception that mum-making is just a fun little hobby.

I lifted my eyes up to the funeral mum created in honor of one of the matriarchs of the entire homecoming mum industry. I imagined all the care that went into creating it, and the fullness of a life lived in a loving community of family and friends. The shimmer of a joyful disposition. The embellishments of fond memories. The practical, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants apparatus behind the scenes that holds it all together.


Every mum is part Christmas tree, part Disney princess gown, part wind chime, and part banquet hall centerpiece, and like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.

I never thought I’d see a fall in Texas without high school football. Then again, I never thought a global pandemic would happen in my lifetime. I’ve now experienced one of those two things.

Today’s kids know they live in an unsteady world, one that’s full of continuums and ranges and spectrums. While society dukes out whether or not there’s room for interpretation and variation and compromise, there are kids making mums out of love for other kids who can’t.


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


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  1. These are fun and really show the vibe of the book. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. It really is something special to see these excerpts from my book collected together like this on your site. Thank you for the opportunity, and your interest in MUMENTOUS! - Amy J. Schultz, author, MUMENTOUS


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