Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

March 18, 2012

WHOLE FAMILY: Bombeck’s influence was a bowl of cherries, not the pits

If you don’t know who Erma Bombeck is, I won’t hold it against you. I, too, was young when Mrs. Bombeck was wildly popular, and she died in 1996. Born in 1927, she became a journalist in the 1940s in Ohio and became famous for a syndicated newspaper column, “A Wit’s End,” that chronicled the hilarious ironies of homemaking and parenting.

The wife and mother of three, known for her savvy, sharp humor, drew laughter from women galore in her columns, books, magazine articles, radio spots and television stints. Pushing back, perhaps, against Mrs. Cleaver and the perfectly pressed housewife, Mrs. Bombeck told it like it was — in a funny, real way.

She wrote countless things like this: “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” She also wrote simple yet profound sentiments like this: “Children make your life important.”

I remember watching Mrs. B on “Good Morning America” as a youngster. She offered snippets on the show — part advice, part stand-up comedy — from 1975 to 1986.

Surely I couldn’t appreciate all of her wisdom then, but I remember finding her funny and looking forward to her segment. As I, at age 40, reconsider her today — Mrs. B started her column at about the same age I started mine — I wonder if I just haven’t found some real wisdom? I’ll have to get one of her 15-plus books and see.

ERMA BOMBECK RAISED three children: one, an adopted daughter; and two boys she grew and delivered despite having received diagnoses of infertility. I wondered what her children had to say about her. Mrs. Bombeck’s daughter, Betsy, wrote this in memoriam: “Her presence was so much greater than the five-foot-two she stood. I loved to put my hand in her … hands …. From my mom I learned to laugh at myself and give much to others. Live each day to its fullest, so that when you go to bed you know you’ve done it all.”

Very nice, eh? Not too saccharine-sweet like greeting cards that just seem, to me, to be so completely inauthentic. But not negligent or angry, either, like some adult children are toward their mothers.

Remember, I’m thinking these days about different family relationships. That mother-daughter one, well, I find it tricky — mostly because, like I told you, I don’t know what a good pursuit of femininity is in the first place. And I’m passing SOMETHING on to my girls every day.

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Life
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    August 22, 2014

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    August 22, 2014

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    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • CORRECTION: Outdoor worship, barbecue at Goshen Christian Reformed Church not happening It was incorrectly reported in Wednesday's edition — the Briefly column on A3 — that Goshen Christian Reformed Church was to have an outdoor worship service and barbecue Thursday through Saturday. The event was submitted by a church with the same nam

    August 21, 2014

  • Local students graduate from Ball State University The following local students graduated from Ball State University this summer.

    August 21, 2014

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    August 21, 2014

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    August 20, 2014

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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