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December 10, 2009


by Erma Bombeck
--written after she found out she was dying from cancer.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick,
instead of pretending the earth would go into a
holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle,
sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner
even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good'
living room and worried much less about the dirt
when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen
to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the
responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted
the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less,
while watching television,
and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything
just because it was practical,
wouldn't show soil,
or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy,
I'd have cherished every moment and realized
that the wonderment growing inside me was
the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously,
I would never have said,
"Later, Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more:
"I love you's" More "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, given another shot at life,
I would seize every minute.
look at it and really see it,
live it, and never give it back.

Don't worry about who doesn't like you,
who has more, or who's doing what,
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have
with those who DO Love Us - For Who We Really Are!

A friend doesn't go on a diet because you are fat.

A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife
an electric skillet for her birthday.

 All of us have moments in out lives,
that test our courage...
Taking children into a house with
white carpets is one of them.

 Before you try to keep up with the Joneses,
be sure they're not trying to keep up with you.

I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic,
without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society,
where it is traditional to wear clothes.

Children make your life important.

Do you know what you call those:
who use towels and never wash them,
eat meals and never do the dishes,
sit in rooms they never clean,
and are entertained till they drop?
If you have just answered, "A house guest,"
you're wrong because I have just described my kids.

Don't confuse fame with success.
Madonna is one;
Helen Keller is the other.

If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.

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

 I have a theory about the human mind.
A brain is a lot like a computer.
It will only take so many facts,
and then it will go on overload and blow up.

In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds.
I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.

Like religion, politics, and family planning,
Cereal is not a topic to be brought up in public.
It's too controversial.

The only reason I would take up jogging,
is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

There's something wrong with a mother who washes out a measuring cup with soap and water after she's only measured water in it.

Some of her Other Funny Quotes:

Insanity is hereditary,
You can catch it from your kids.

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

There's nothing sadder in this world than,
to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

If a man watches three football games in a row,
he should be declared legally dead.

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

Laughter rises out of tragedy,
when you need it the most,
and rewards you for your courage.

Dreams have only one owner at a time.
That's why dreamers are lonely.

In general, my children refused to
eat anything that hadn't danced on TV.

When humor goes, there goes civilization.

Seize the moment.
Think of all those women on the
'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.

Never loan your car to anyone,
to whom you've given birth.

The grass is always greener over the septic tank.

A child needs your love more...
...when he deserves it least.

There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain,
comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.

It is not until you become a mother...
that your judgment slowly turns to:
Compassion AND Understanding.

    For those of you who just don’t know who Erma Bombeck is, let me introduce her to you. (So to speak) She was just an average, everyday wife and mother who wrote about her simple yet complicated life...
    Erma Louise Bombeck was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life humorously from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers.
    From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of the U.S. and Canada.

Early life:
    Erma Fiste was born in Dayton, Ohio. She grew up in a working-class family. Her father, Cassius Fiste, was the city crane operator; her mother's name was also Erma. Erma lived with her elder paternal half-sister, Thelma.
    Erma began elementary school one year earlier than usual for her age, in 1932, and became an excellent student and an avid reader. She particularly enjoyed the popular humor writers of the time. After Erma's father died in 1936, she moved, with her mother, into her grandmother's home. In 1938 her mother remarried, to Albert Harris (a moving van owner). Erma practiced tap dance and singing, and was hired by a local radio for a children's revue for eight years.

Formative years:
    In 1940, Erma entered Emerson Junior High School, and began writing a humorous column for its newspaper, The Owl. In 1942, Bombeck entered Patterson Vocational High School, where she wrote a serious column, mixing in bits of humor.

    In 1942, Erma began to work at the Dayton Herald as a copygirl, sharing her full-time assignment with a girlfriend. In 1943, for her first journalistic work, Erma interviewed Shirley Temple, who visited Dayton, and the interview became a newspaper feature.
    Erma completed high school in 1944. Then, to earn a college scholarship fund, she worked for a year as a typist and stenographer, for the Dayton Herald and several other companies, and did minor journalistic assignments (obituaries, etc.) for the Dayton Herald as well.
    Using her college fund, Erma enrolled in Ohio University at Athens in 1946. However, she failed most of her literary assignments and was rejected for the university newspaper. She left after one semester, when her funds ran out.
    Erma later enrolled in the Roman Catholic University of Dayton. She lived in her family home and worked at Rike's Store, a department store, where she wrote humorous material for the company newsletter. In addition, she worked two part-time jobs - a termite control accountant at an advertising agency and as a public relations person at the local YMCA. While in college, her English professor Fr. Tom Price commented to Erma about her great prospects as a writer, and she began to write for the university publication, The Exponent. Erma graduated in 1949, with a degree in English. She became a life-long active contact for the University — helping financially and participating personally — and became a lifetime trustee of the institution in 1987.
    In 1949, Erma also converted to Catholicism, from the United Brethren church, and married Bill Bombeck, a former fellow student of the University of Dayton, who was a veteran of the World War II Korean front. His subsequent profession would be that of educator and school supervisor. Bombeck remained active in the Church the rest of her life.

Early Journalism:
    Erma Bombeck stayed on as a Dayton Journal Herald reporter, in the women's section, writing both its feature stories and a humorous housekeeping column, "Operation Dustrag." Bombeck also interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt and Mamie Eisenhower.

Housewife (1954–1964):
    The Bombecks were told by doctors that having a child was improbable, so they adopted a girl, Betsy, in 1953. Erma decided to become a full-time housewife, and relinquished her career as a journalist. During 1954, Erma nevertheless wrote a series of humorous columns in the Dayton Shopping News.
    Despite the former difficult diagnoses, Erma Bombeck gave birth to a son, Andrew in 1955. The Bombeck family moved to Centerville, Ohio, into a tract housing development, and were neighbors to the young Phil Donahue. Away from her previous journalistic career, Bombeck initiated an intense period of homemaking, which lasted 10 years, and had her second son, Matthew, in 1958.

"At Wit's End" (1965):
    In 1964, Erma Bombeck resumed her writing career for the local Kettering-Oakwood Times, with weekly columns which yielded $3 each. She wrote in her small bedroom, over a rustic table of a plank top with two supports of cinder block.
    In 1965, the Dayton Journal Herald requested new humorous columns as well, and Bombeck agreed to write two weekly 450-word columns for $50. After three weeks, the articles went into national syndication through the Newsday Newspaper Syndicate, into 36 major U.S. newspapers, with three weekly columns under the title "At Wit's End".
    Bombeck quickly became a popular humorist nationwide. Beginning in 1966, she began doing lectures in the various cities where her columns appeared for a $15,000 fee. In 1967, her newspaper columns were compiled and published by Doubleday, under the title of At Wit's End. And after a humorous appearance on Arthur Godfrey's radio, she became a regular radio guest on his show.

Success (1970s)

    Aaron Priest, a Doubleday representative, became Bombeck's loyal agent. By 1969, 500 U.S. newspapers featured her "At Wit's End" columns, and she was also writing for Good Housekeeping Magazine, Reader's Digest, Family Circle, Redbook, McCall's, and even Teen magazine. Bombeck and her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to a lavish hacienda on a hilltop in Paradise Valley.
    By 1978, 900 U.S. newspapers were publishing Bombeck's column.

McGraw-Hill (1976)
    In 1976, McGraw-Hill published Bombeck's The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, which became a best-seller. In 1978, Bombeck arranged both a million-dollar contract for her fifth book, If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? (1978) and a 700-thousand-copy advance for her subsequent book, Aunt Erma's Cope Book (1979).

    At the invitation of television producer Bob Shanks, Bombeck participated in ABC's Good Morning America from 1975 until 1986. She began doing brief commentaries which were recorded at Phoenix, and eventually did both gag segments and important interviews.
    For several years, Bombeck became a multimedia workhorse. Then in 1978, she failed with the The Grass is Always Greener television pilot on CBS, and the show never became a sitcom. In 1980, then Bombeck wrote and produced her own show, the also unsuccessful Maggie, for ABC. It aired for just four months (eight episodes) to poor reviews; nevertheless the show meant that Bombeck was overwhelmed with obligations, returning from Los Angeles to Phoenix only during weekends. Bombeck was offered a second sitcom attempt but she declined.

The Equal Rights Amendment (1978)
    In 1978, Bombeck was involved in the Presidential Advisory Committee for Women, particularly for the final implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment, with the ERA America organization's support. Bombeck was strongly criticized for this by conservative figures, and some U.S. stores reacted by removing her books. In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed by the United States Congress to the states. Congress specified a seven-year period for ratification. Under Article V of the United States Constitution, ratification by at least three-fourths of the States, but at the end of seven-year period, only 35 states had ratified, or three less than the required three-fourths. Bombeck expressed dismay over this development.
Great popularity (1980s)
    By 1985, Erma Bombeck's three weekly columns were being published by 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, and were also being anthologized into a series of best-selling books. She was also making twice-weekly Good Morning America appearances. Bombeck belonged to the American Academy of Humor Columnists, along with other famous personalities. During the 1980s, Bombeck's annual earnings ranged from $500,000 to $1 million a year.

    Erma Bombeck was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. In 1996, she was brought to a San Francisco hospital for a kidney transplant, which was performed on April 3. However, she suffered complications following the procedure, and died on April 22. --- Her remains are interred in the Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, under a large rock from the Phoenix desert.

Thank You Erma wherever you might be...

I have a hat.
It is graceful and feminine and give me a certain dignity,
as if I were attending a state funeral or something.
Someday I may get up enough courage to wear it,
instead of carrying it.
Somewhere it is written:
That parents who are critical,
of other people's children,
they can do better are asking for it.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post! I learn something new from you every time. Keep it up!


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