Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Erma Bombeck Tells It Like It Is

Erma Bombeck

Do you remember Erma Bombeck? She wrote a newspaper column, "At Wit's End" chronicling her life as a suburban housewife in mid-western America beginning in the 1960s and running through the late 1990s. She was funny and my mother adored her. I remember Mom reading her columns and laughing out loud at the breakfast table. 

Ms. Bombeck was a busy woman. She also wrote for magazines, went on speaking tours, tried her hand at writing for television, and published more than a dozen books with titles such as The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression, and If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits.

I had not thought of this funny lady in years, but I came across a collection of her columns that cross four decades, Forever Erma, on the library's ebook shelves.  

I dipped into her section called 'Food for Thought' where she first muses on losing weight: "I have dieted continuously for two decades and lost a total of 758 pounds." 

In another column she hopes that someone will write a cookbook called Cookbook for the Suburban Woman With One Car That is Used by Her Husband which would give substitutions in recipes for ingredients that the cupboard is lacking.

And, here is her response to her doctor's inquiry as to how often she exercises: "I leaned over a week ago Thursday for what I thought was a gingersnap cookie in the carpet, but it turned out to be a cork coaster and I haven't taken a chance since."

Other sections include 'Home Sweet Home', 'Housewife's Lament', and 'Dear Old Dad'. 

It will be fun to read what Ms. Bombeck had to say that so delighted my mother at the breakfast table. 


  1. Erma Bombeck's words can still reduce me to tears of hilarity. My aunt and I would call each, start reading something Ms. Bombeck wrote, and get into fits of laughter, rendering it impossible to finish. I had the pleasure of meeting Erma Bombeck at a book signing in Marshall Fields in 1989. She wrote a book about children surviving cancer. I bought two copies to have signed, one for a co-worker who enjoyed Ms. Bombeck and was battling cancer, another for me. I still have my copy, and treasure it.
    Enjoy reading Forever Erma, Belle. I'm sure you will be thinking of your mom's enjoyment as you have your own.

    1. How wonderful that you met this funny, funny woman, Penny. And have her autograph! Reading these columns is like eating popcorn, I can't put the bowl down! I think, 'I'll read just one more' and 30 minutes later I am still reading and laughing. She is a delight.

  2. Erma Bombeck's humor lives on... Do you know any current author to compare? I don't think I do.

    Joyce in KS

    1. Joyce, I don't know what took me so long to discover her. Of course, I knew of her and maybe read a couple of her columns (or had them read to me by Mom), I just hadn't read such as vast array of her work as is in this collection. I love it because it covers so many decades and there is nothing that she won't write about. She is absolutely brilliant. And, to answer your question, No.

  3. I read a lot of Erma Bombeck before I was a wife and mother and I loved her. Now that I've been a wife and mother for many, many years, I need to revisit her work. I have several of her books on my shelves...I think I'll pull one out. Thanks for the reminder of this funny and wonderful lady.

    1. Kathy, you will certainly appreciate her point of view considering your experiences as wife and mother. Her take on life is still fresh. I just love reading her...she is so very clever!