Erma Bombeck, Wife, Mother and Author
Erma Bombeck was and is a heroine of mine in the literary world. I've so enjoyed many of her books and quotes. Her thoughts on marriage, men, friends, children and most everything are thick with self effacing humor. Poking fun at herself and her family. Her chosen profession reeked havoc on the lives of her children as they entered puberty and her fame grew, but as with most of us when they reached adulthood they realized how much she loved them.
There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.
"It Takes a Lot of Courage to Show your Dreams to Someone Else"
Erma Fiste (Erma Louise Bombeck) was born on February 21, 1927, Bellbrook, Ohio. No one knew little Erma would become an award winning columnist, novelist, TV producer, women's rights activist and advocate for children with cancer.
Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the "Titanic" who waved off the dessert cart.
Erma entered elementary school a year early, by 1932 she was an excellent student who loved to read. In 1940 after her start in junior high school, and wrote her first column for the "The Owl", a serious piece with only a spattering of her incomparable wit.
In 1942 Erma secured a position as a copy-girl for the "Dayton Herald" sharing the full time job with a girlfriend. Bombeck's first celebrity interview was in 1943, with Shirley Temple, who was visiting Dayton and the piece became a news feature in the Herald.
Erma graduated from high school in 1944, earned a scholarship and by that time was promoted to typist and stenographer for the "Dayton Herald". While attending the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Erma failed most of her assignments and the campus newspaper rejected her submissions. After one semester the minor journalist left the university when funds ran out.
Bombeck enrolled in the Roman Catholic University of Dayton, lived in her family's home worked at a department store, and continued writing submitting articles to the company newsletter. Erma worked two part-time jobs. An English professor told Erma that she showed promise as a writer, she in turn began writing for the university's paper The Exponent. Erma graduated from the university with a degree in English, converted to Catholicism and married Bill Bombeck, who also attended the university and was a veteran of World War II. Bill's profession was that of an educator and school supervisor.
When humor goes, there goes civilization
Erma the Homemaker 1954 - 1965
Unable to have children, the Bombeck's adopted a baby girl named Betsy in 1953. It was Erma's decision to become a full time homemaker giving up her budding career as a journalist. The writer bug was too hard for the author to resist and in 1954 Erma provided a humorous column for the "Dayton Shopping News".
Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids
The Bombeck's physician was mistaken in his first diagnosis of Erma, she gave birth to a son Andrew in 1955. The family moved into tract homes in Centerville, Ohio. Since Bombeck had moved away from her journalistic pursuits she put her heart and soul into being a housewife for the next ten years, then giving birth to a second son Matthew in 1958.
There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.
"If You Laugh at it, You Can Live with It"
In 1964 Erma resumed her writing career for the "Kettering-Oakwood Times". Submitting weekly columns which paid out $3.00 each ( I could live with that). These literary gems were written in her small bedroom atop a plank held up with cinder blocks.
The Dayton Journal Herald requested columns from Bombeck too, and she supplied two weekly columns, 450 words for $50.00. In a matter of three weeks the column went into national syndication, hitting 36 national newspapers, three weekly columns, entitled At Wits End.
Bombeck began lecturing in the cities where her columns appeared for a $15,000 fee in 1966. In 1967 her columns were published by Doubleday and Erma also appeared, on the then popular, Arthur Godfrey radio show and became a regular guest.
Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely.
There was nowhere to go but up for Ms. Bombeck, whose "At Wits End" column were regulars in Good Housekeeping, Reader's Digest, Family circle, Redbook, McCalls and Teenmagazines. In 1976 Erma signed with McGraw-Hill who published The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, a bestseller. In 1978 her fifth book If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I doing In the Pits? A million dollar contract with a $700 thousand dollar advance for her subsequent book, Aunt Erma's Cope Book.
Laughter Rises Out of Tragedy
Erma Bombeck expanded her horizons to include her fight for equal rights in 1978, and was involved in the Presidential Advisory Committee for Women. Erma also worked tirelessly for the Cancer Society specifically for children with cancer.
In 1996 Bombeck went to the city of San Francisco after being diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease to await a kidney transplant. The operation was performed on April 3, however Erma Bombeck passed away on April 22, due to complications following the operation.
My Final Thoughts
While researching and working on this piece I experienced a new joy in writing. Erma showed me that if you stay focused, and you're doing something your passionate about and love, you will succeed.
Thank you Erma.
My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
- Daily Dose featuring Erma Bombeck
- Tribute to Erma Bombeck - Queen of Housewife Humor
Erma Bonbeck was the queen of housewife humor. Much of her early work was published during an era when the majority of women were working women - women working in the home as wives and mothers. ...