Local flower and gift shop keeps up homecoming tradition
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The mum, a longstanding tradition for Texas high school homecomings, is said to have started in the 1950s. At one time, The Daisy flower shop in Copperas Cove would make as many as 1,200 homecoming mums during the fall. “That’s during the heyday,” said shop owner Becky Stirnkorb. “Back then, in the 80s, mums were made of fresh flowers. Back then there weren’t places like craft shops, so you had to order the mums.” At The Daisy, they would extra workers and work around the clock so fresh mums could be picked up on Homecoming day. Girls, especially, wouldn’t wear just one mum, but boyfriends and parents would send mums, friends would exchange mums, with some girls wearing multiple mums pinned to their blouses and jeans. Nowadays, The Daisy might craft about 125 mums in a homecoming season. Stirnkorb said it’s been at least five years since The Daisy has made a fresh flower mum. “The last time I did a fresh flower mum, it was for a mother who wanted one for homecoming, because that’s what she wore when she was in school,” Stirnkorb said. Mums are typically only worn at homecoming in Texas and some parts of Oklahoma, but The Daisy staff have sent them outside Texas to those customers who miss the tradition after leaving the Lone Star State. “We have shipped them to Florida,” said Penny Rivers. “My granddaughter in Florida wanted a mum for homecoming, and her mother wanted a Copperas Cove mum in honor of her school, so we made mums for them. When everyone saw the mums, they wanted one too.” The wild popularity of the mums of 30-plus years ago may have waned a little, but The Daisy still does a brisk business. On one side of the shop is a Homecoming board, with samples of trinkets and baubles that customers can purchase and have a mum made. “Every shop does it differently. With our sample board, there are over 100 extras that customers can choose from and design their own,” Stirnkorb said. Some might be surprised to know that do-it-yourself mums often cost more when items are purchased at a craft store, because of multi-packs, and often crafters end up with leftover mum items, Stirnkorb added. In addition to the Cove mascot, the Bulldawg, customers can select items to celebrate their school activities besides football, like volleyball, basketball, band and more. At The Daisy, mums can be as simple as a single white silk mini-mum with blue and gold streamers only six to eight inches long. Or, there’s the granddaddy of all homecoming mums, the sweetheart mum, with a triple flower base and blue and gold streamers about four feet long. “Leopard print ribbon is popular now,” Rivers said. “Pink ribbons too.” One customer has ordered a pink mum for homecoming this year, in recognition of breast cancer awareness, Rivers said. Some customers save their mums from previous years, then take their mums back to The Daisy for freshening up and adding more school spirit items. No matter the style or size of a mum, Rivers said the idea behind the mum comes down to one thing. “It’s all about school spirit,” she said.