Erma Bombeck
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After a week in and out of bed as required with the flu and migraine that followed I found myself often propped with one eye open and Erma Bombeck – “A Marraige Made In Heaven – Or Too Old For an Affair” in my hand.

My husband saw it and asked me why I was reading a book about someone who wanted to have an affair but was too old, as if for some reason that would be interesting to me :0)

I said, you mean you’ve never heard of Erma Bombeck???  Read it, it’s just up your alley. (Everybody’s a comic at our house.)

Erma is on my list of authors whose books I will never give away. She lends humour when we need it and a dose of reality, comrade, validation, glamour, honesty, class and nostalgia to boot.

She died on April 22, 1996 at the age of 69, so I thought this would be the perfect time to remember her life and all that she gave.


One of the things that really stood out to me was the story she told that happened shortly after her youngest started school.

It was about herself and her neighbours going on an outing to see a lecture by someone named Betty Friedan, author of  ‘The Feminine Mystique’.  (I myself had my nose in this book as well for a week solid about 10 years ago, when my oldest were still young. I still have it. Time to dig it out and see what I think about it now.)

As she put it, “None of us had heard of Betty Friedan, but we would have watched a slide show on the Hisory of Paper clips to get out of the the daily drudge detail.”

So they went and Erma found that “We all felt like we were back in grade school and had just been caught chewing gum before we could swallow it.”

Erma and her friends listened, agreed with some of the the things she said, found it hard to align themselves with others.

But Erma agreed when Betty told them…

“You are not using your God given potential”.

Erma wondered if she had any.

A few weeks later she walked into a weekly newspaper and asked for a job as a housewife columnist. She got $3 a column.

She spent her life sharing with us her God given potential.


I found a most touching personal recollection that Bill Bombeck read at the family services that were held before the funeral. Grab the Kleenex girls, he obviously was an inspiration as well as a talent in his own right.

Bill Bombeck About His Wife Erma Bombeck


What can I say, everybody loved Erma. A wee look behind the scenes…

Erma Bombeck – If I Had Life to Live Over

Don’t miss this, it’s some of her best…


One of the best things that has come out since being sick was to have spent so much time with Erma and sharing her humour with my husband. We are finding humour in so many things. Life is a smorgasborg!

One thing that seemed Erma-esk happened on the way to the grocery store.

He asked me something and I was still kind of sick so when he looked at me I nodded yes.

Then he asked me again. I said “Usually nodding my head up and down means yes”.

He said, “Oh, I couldn’t hear you”.

My conclusion?

There is a little bit (or a lot) of Erma in every one, a bit of the Bombeck’s in every family. That is part of the reason she was so well loved.

Just for today, look for Erma at your house. Crack a joke or two. Lighten up.

Share your Erma moment in the comments below.

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Jan Ferrante

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