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Homecoming mum tradition goes over the top in Texas

Sep 25, 2011, 2:12 p.m.

The tradition of the mum involves an exchange between a boy and girl who go to homecoming together. The boy presents a girl with a mum that she wears attached to a cord around her neck.

The girl presents her date with a mum attached to an elastic garter that he wears on the upper part of one arm.

DISTINCTIVE

The homecoming mum is distinctive in Texas, where the over-the-top mum is widely considered to have blossomed first. But high schools in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana have adopted the tradition as well.

"I've had orders from as far away as military bases in Germany," Braswell said. "It seems like wherever someone from Texas goes, they try to take the mum tradition with them."

And non-natives, it seems, are eager to embrace it. Dallas-area resident Theresa Hagerman, who grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, made her first mum two years ago for her son's date, and then branched out into her own line.

"When I was growing up, the homecoming tradition was a parade with floats representing different school organizations," she said.

"That isn't done so much anymore, at least around here. To me, the mums replace the floats and celebrate the kids and what they are all about."

Sidney Heath, the girlfriend of Hagerman's oldest son, James, recently received the crown jewel of Hagerman's mums. A front and back mum sandwiches her body and is attached to a dog harness for strength and comfort.

"I absolutely love it," she said before a homecoming game in Southlake, Texas, on Friday. "I wanted it be big, and it is really big. It may be the biggest of any this year."

Ceclia Valudos, who has been making custom mums in North Texas for 14 years, said the mums are cherished keepsakes the girls keep for years.

Having recently been laid-off, she is considering going into the mum business and marketing beyond close friends.

"I love sparkle and bling," she said. "I want my mums to be seen as works of art."

(Editing by Karen Brooks and Jerry Norton)

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