Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Erma


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.”                                            ~ Erma Bombeck

Are you old enough to remember the humor columnist, Erma Bombeck? What a gal! She was one of my earlier mentors. Of course, she didn’t know it, but her story of how she started writing her column as a young, housewife and stay-at-home-mom is inspiring. Her column, I think, ended up being in over 500 newspapers daily, and her articles were published in probably every major magazine in our country… and beyond. She was a hoot! She made me both laugh and cry. But one of the greatest things she gave us isolated moms back then was a Voice.  We were millions strong in the early 1970s, yet were being criticized and ridiculed for our choice to be full-time moms. Then along comes Erma in her apron and tennis shoes and her funny stories about the home front and suddenly the world saw us a little differently.

Erma died of kidney disease. One of her last interviews showed her at home in Arizona laughing all the while hooked up to dialysis. She was a one of a kind, and I owe her much. She gave this young mom the courage to send her own silly writings out there. I mean if one housewife could make, couldn’t another?

Well, after some hits and misses, my own column, FOOTSTEPS & HEARTBEATS, found a home. Actually it found several homes and appeared in a daily newspaper for over seventeen years. When I decided to write books, I was also working full time else where, so something had to go if I were to have any writing time for the books. So, I gave up the column. It was a wonderful ride and now, every once in a while, you’ll see one of those resurrected column appear here with LuLu and me. So enjoy and think of Erma ever so often… and her house dresses, her children jumping off the garage, and the fun house cleaning tips she passed along… such as:

To make guests feel at home, use your finger and scribble “Welcome” in the dust in the middle of your coffee table…” You gotta love her!


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