Erma, A Witty Woman

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Erma Bombeck was my favorite humorist.

She wrote over a dozen bestsellers and I have half of them.

The pages are yellowed and worn because I read them more than once.

She was touted one of the greatest humorists America had produced in 50 years. Erma wrote books, magazine articles, and became a syndicated columnist. Also, she was a correspondent on Good Morning, America for 11 years.

She was proof that you don't have to be surrounded by modern day electronics or degrees to be successful.

She wrote her witticisms in a cramped bedroom, her typewriter balanced on a plank held by two cinder blocks.

To begin, in 1964, she received $3 per column but by late 1970s her columns were syndicated in over 800 newspapers.

Housewives all over America loved her.

Erma and her husband Bill raised three children, a daughter and two sons.

She wrote unmercifully about their upbringing and about the trials and blessings of motherhood.

She wrote about her mother whom she adored. She wrote about the funny things of life that women live everyday at home, in the workplace, and at the grocery store, or the department store.

Women everywhere posted her columns on their refrigerators.

She filled her columns full of quotes that endeared her to her readers.

Here are some of her quotes:

"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with ONLY a loaf of bread are three billion to one."

To that I add one of my own, "The odds are a million to one that you left your grocery list on the kitchen counter."

I thought of Erma today when I went to the grocery store to buy a box of livers. I came home with 22 items totaling $41.16. But I saved $6.29 with coupons.

"My second favorite household chore is ironing," Erma wrote. " My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint."

"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."

"Never loan your car to anyone to whom you have given birth."

How come something you buy will go on sale next week?

When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it is mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.

My mother phones daily to ask "Did you just try to reach me?" When I replay no, she adds,"So, if you're not too busy, call me while I'm still alive,".....and hangs up

Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery.

'I've been on a constant diet for the last two decades. I've lost a total of 789 pounds. By all accounts, I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.

What's with you men? Would hair stop growing on your chest if you asked directions somewhere?

Women have their jokes on men who drive. If a man and a woman jumped off a building at the same time, who would reach the ground first? Answer: The woman. The man would get lost.

Erma wrote that she had just come up with a wonderful solution to end all wars. Let men give directions on how to get there.

Erma said her mother was a box saver. She saved gift boxes and recycled them when she gave gifts to others. Her family called her the Box Queen. If you are giving anyone a hard-to-wrap chainsaw, she has the box for it., Erma wrote. If you have an oversize Elvis painting on velvet, she can put it under wrap for you. Her closets and storage spaces hold nothing but boxes inside of boxes.

Erma's father died when she was nine years old. After his death Erma was raised by her mother who worked in a factory. Erma was the first one in her family to graduate from high school.

Erma wrote that she never remembered feeling poor. There was always food on the table, decent clothes to wear, and enough squeezed out to pay for tap dancing lessons. She worked her way through college and graduated from the University of Dayton in 1949.

Despite being a funny lady, she kept secret that she herself was diagnosed with adult poly-cystic kidney disease in 1991, enduring daily dialysis. She also had a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer, but it was the kidney disease that caused her demise. On a waiting list for transplant for years, one kidney had to be removed for pain, and the remaining one ceased to function. On April 3, 1996 she received a kidney transplant. Complications of the operation were the cause of her death a few days later.

One of her serious quotes has always stayed with me. She said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life. I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."

I believe you did that, Erma.

Your mother was the Box Queen, but you were the Queen of Humor.