Thursday, September 16, 2010

Erma Bombeck

Humor writer, Erma Bombeck could take an everyday event and turn it into an essay that made readers laugh out loud. Sure, sometimes the laughs were at the expense of her family, but everyone could relate. When I was a young mother, I couldn't wait to read her newspaper column. I can remember relishing the early morning, my alone, quiet time. I would ease out the front door, sit on the porch and try to turn the newspaper pages without making a rustling sound for fear of waking the kids, three rooms away, because those little darlings could track me down like bloodhounds.

I looked like a spy in a 1950's cheap film when a neighbor came out his or her door. I'd raise my opened paper forehead-high and keep my head buried. I'd lower it an inch at a time past my eyes to make certain that Joe, the friendly, old scrubby Dutchman didn't notice me and shout, "Ahhh, goota mahning! When is your husband going to mow the lawn?" I didn't want the cop up the block heading to the precinct to wave and bellow louder than his car horn, "Moooornin'!" And that old gossip woman two doors up, well she was so nearsighted that she mistook a morning wave for a come hither motion, and once she opened her mouth, she did her best to tell the worst about each neighbor on the block. I avoided those early risers who could raise my ire, and my kids from their lairs before I was ready for them.

I actually mourned Erma's passing when she died from complications of kidney disease.

I came across a book recently by Alicia Alvrez, The Ladies' Room Reader, The Ultimate Women's Trivia Book, (2000) in which she claims Erma Bombeck wanted to keep us laughing even from the grave. She requested that her epitaph read, "BIG DEAL!" I'm used to dust.

Erma Bombeck was my hero. Did you read her columns, books?


K9friend said...

I don't think I ever read her columns, but did read several of her books, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Another humor writer I really loved was Jean Kerr, of "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" fame. Subtle and hilarious.


Linda O'Connell said...

I like Jean too. Laughing at someone else's life makes ours seem normal, doesn't it?

Cathy C. Hall said...

Loved Erma, Linda. Read her columns, read her books, watched her on Johnny Carson. I felt like I'd lost a real friend when she died too young.

And I picked up Jean Kerr at a used book sale and laughed till I cried. I love funny women.

P.S. I also love inspiring women. I hope your teacher story's included for publication. Sometimes the story is more important than the bucks.

BECKY said...

Oh, you know I loved Erma!! I ditto Cathy C. about her. There's nobody like her!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Erma is the Queen Bee of humor writing. I used to love seeing her on Good Morning America waaay back when.

Susan said...

Oh sure, Linda. I always read her columns, etc. I miss her writing! May she rest, and giggle, in peace. Susan

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Ladies,
I am so glad youa re in my Erma camp. She was queen bee for sure, Lisa, Cathy, Becky and Susan. Although you all tickle my funny bone with your writings just like she did.

Lynn said...

You're a great humorous writer too Linda!

irishoma said...

Hi Linda,
Love your description of early mornings on the front porch.
Erma was funny and inspiring. Sounds like you two are cut from the same cloth.
Donna V.

Linda O'Connell said...

You're not bad yourself! Your writing is evocative and people can relate.

Linda O'Connell said...

That was not intended as humor, that was just the way it was back in the '70s when my kids were small and I relished the early morning. Have a great day.

anita said...

I was just like you, Linda -- couldn't wait to read her column in the paper -- and I loved all her books. She was very insightful and inspiring as well as hysterical.

Linda O'Connell said...

I felt like I was sitting having a cup of coffee with her, didn't you?

Tammy said...

Great post, Linda. I was also a fan who mourned when she passed. Didn't know that about her epitaph. Love it.

Linda O'Connell said...

I think that your writing is funnier than Erma's. You take an event and squeeze every last bit of humor out of it, and you leave your reader laughing, holding their sides and gasping for air.