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The Humor(ist) in Equal Rights

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Erma Bombeck - Novel Conclusions - Christi Gerstle - equal rights act

Aunt Erma’s Cope Book courtesy of Amazon

“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

I celebrated my 30th birthday this week (eek! A whole new decade!), and I thought this was a good opportunity to recognize a pretty fantastic journalist and author who also has a February birthday, a woman who made a difference for authors everywhere, especially female authors.  This woman is Erma Bombeck.

I I grew up reading Bombeck’s hilarious schtick on family life and life in general.  My mom had a collection of Bombeck’s books, and I remember pulling them off the shelves at a fairly young age and reading them out loud to my mom while she made dinner.  Bombeck had an optimistic and offbeat way of looking at everything and finding humor even in tragic circumstances.  Bombeck was also part of the Presidential Advisory Committee for Women that supported the Equal Rights Act in the 1970s.  As a result of this involvement, many of Bombeck’s books were pulled from shelves of local bookstores.

One of my favorite quotes of hers is the one above.  I hope we can all be reminded that every day is a gift of time to use our talent productively.  I now have a whole new decade to use productively (still can’t believe I’m now a thirty-something!  Egad!).

Have you ever read any of Erma Bombeck’s books?  And do you have any advice for newly minted 30-year-olds?

P.S.  Speaking of using our talent productively, there’s a fantastic/evil app for that, Write or Die.

About Christi

Writing in SoCal.

20 responses

  1. Happy birthday, Christi! The 30’s are good, but the next decades are even better!
    My mother (and I) were great fans of Erma B. I didn’t know that about Erma, but I am not surprised. My mom also fought for the equal rights amendment. I remember asking her why people were against it (as it just seemed fair to me). She thought about it and said people were afraid men and women would have to go to the same bathroom. It sounded ridiculous, even to my child-ears.
    My mom–

    • I read your mom’s bio; it sounds like she created major change in the State of Alabama from the ground up! They must have been very lucky to have her involved.

      My mom was on the front lines of women’s rights, too, but in a different sort of way. She was one of the first 5 women accepted into the University of Louisville’s engineering school more than 40 years ago, and over and over, she faced crazy prejudices that women weren’t supposed to work in technical fields. It wasn’t until I was maybe a teenager that I realized what she had had to put up with.

      • That is awesome! We owe a lot to the women who broke the glass ceiling! Today at the University of Alabama in Birmingham the dean of the School of Engineering is a woman. Thank your mother for us.

    • Six months into my 40’s, I already agree with your assessment about the 30’s, TK. On the other hand, it may also be what you make of them. I feel like I flailed around for most of my 30’s; from the little I’ve seen of your blog, Christi, you seem a bit more focused. 🙂 So congratulations on that, and happy birthday to you! Enjoy it!

      I liked Erma Bombeck, too. Approachable and hilarious.

  2. Happy birthday. Advice 30 is just a number. Hopefully, with age there is wisdom. Thirty was a good year for me. May it be good to you.

  3. I used to read her stuff all the time in junior high and high school. That’s a pretty talented writer than can get an adolescent to read what might normally be construed to be for adults. In fact, my classmates loved her, too.

  4. I loved Erma. I read her in the newspaper growing up, and remember spending my allowance to buy her paperbacks. This Christmas, a friend of mine gave me one of her books and it’s been a real treat re-reading her now that I have a family of my own. As for 30, I had such a sense of freedom when I hit it. A whole new set of numbers to write as I wished, free from comparing myself to 20-year-olds, etc. I felt the same freedom when I turned 40 last year. It just keeps getting better and better! Happy birthday!

  5. Thanks for introducing me to Erma. As for turning 30 — you’re in for so much fun. I had the time of my life in my thirties — it is such a liberating and fun stage in your life. Enjoy!

  6. That quote is one of my absolute favorites. Erma was a funny mofo. 🙂

  7. Happy Belated Birthday! I’m a February babe too. 🙂 Well…advice….keep your life. Try to have a really good one, or at least ‘rich,’ so that the life you live is just as treasured as your writing. It will inform your work in amazing ways. You’ve probably heard this before…

  8. Hope you had a fabulous birthday – mine’s in February too! I’ve never heard of Erma but I love Love LOVE!!!!!! that quote and for sure I’m going to find out more about this inspiring woman. I’m going to write the quote out and put it on my wall somewhere. Thanks for the visit and the like:-)

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