February 25, 2011

The Others - Erma Bombeck

On a weekend, when I was maybe 12 years old, I searched through my parents books, because I had maxed out the pleasure of reading and rereading my own books and was looking for something new. I found a book with the title The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, and well, having no better choice than that I started reading …

That was the wonderful beginning of my love for Erma Bombeck's books. In hindsight it might be a little weird that a girl, not even a teenager yet, would enjoy reading about the life of America's best-known housewife, contemplating home life with her family, at first as columnist, later on in her many books.
Erma started out as a reporter, then took a break for her family, and luckily for many fans worldwide, she resumed writing with weekly columns in the mid 60ies. From 1965 to 1996, Erma wrote over 4.000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife, and in 1967 her columns were compiled and published under the same name as they appeared in newspaper's nationwide - At Wit's End.

Yet Erma was so much more than “just a housewife”, much more than “just a humorist and columnist”. She was real. And you could feel that when reading her books.
Some of my favorites are If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home and All I Know About Animal Behavior I learned in Loehmann's Dressing Room.

When she died in 1996 I was devastated, not only because there would be no more new books of hers, but most of all because she's been such a wonderful, humorous and honest person. Call me sentimental, but I still miss reading more about her life even after all these years. And all her books I own (in both German and English, as I wanted to read the originals too when I got older) are definitely some of my most treasured books on my shelf.

I shall leave you now with one of Erma's many spot on observations ...

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


  1. Erma Bombeck is really big in Dayton. The University of Dayton hosts an Erma Bombeck writers seminar every couple of years. Come visit Dayton, I can take you to her grave!

  2. Take me to her grave? Now that must be the strangest invitation I ever received :-D !!

  3. Oh I love Erma Bombeck - I have most of her books because they make me laugh out loud every time!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out