Posted by: Jodi | October 3, 2010

Quickly Quotable #27 – Erma Bombeck

“Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.”

“Humorists can never start to take themselves seriously. It’s literary suicide.”

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.”

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”

Erma Louise Bombeck, born Erma Fiste, was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for a newspaper column that depicted suburban home life in the second half of the 20th century.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Bombeck graduated from the University of Dayton in 1949 with a degree in English. She started her career in 1949 as a reporter for the Dayton Journal Herald, but after marrying school administrator Bill Bombeck, a college friend, she left the job and raised three children.

As the children grew she started writing At Wit’s End, telling self-deprecating tales about the life of a housewife. It debuted in the Kettering-Oakwood Times in 1964. She was paid $3 per column.

Growing popularity led At Wit’s End to be nationally syndicated in 1965, and eventually it ran twice a week in more than 700 newspapers. The column was collected in many best-selling books, and her fame was such that a television sitcom was based on her. The series, Maggie, ran for eight shows in 1982 before being cancelled.

In 1971, the Bombecks moved to Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Bombeck suffered from polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary disorder that causes cysts to form on the kidneys. In 1996 worsening health forced her to have a kidney transplant, and she died of complications that year. She is interred in the Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.

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  1. Dream on!

  2. Too bad she passed away just before the Age of Blogging. I think she would have thrived in that environment of more spontaneous expression and instant feedback.

    • She sure would, talk about the following she would have had!

  3. Love Erma!

    Thanks, Jo

  4. I believe that a little bit of Erma still lives on in the hearts of all mothers everywhere, as well as everyone who loves to just stop every once on a while and LOL at themselves!

    I miss her, and still go back to read some of her witty, astute, and smack-on-the-bull’s-eye observations! She was a true American original, with universal appeal.

    • I loved all of her quotes about mothering and being a parent in general, so true. My mom had a few of her books that I laughed at when I was young and naive, now I still laugh, but the tone has changed!

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I loved her ‘Bowl of Cherries’ book.


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