After watching the Academy Awards the other day, I was reminded of a quote from a woman:
"Sometimes I can't figure out designers. It's as if they flunked human anatomy."
Can you guess who said it?
She was a writer whose popularity crested in the 1970s and '80s, appearing on the cover of Time Magazine in 1984.
She also once quipped: "Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for go live with a car battery."
When doctors told the young couple they were unlikely to have a baby, they adopted a daughter. That was in 1953. Of course, two years later they had a biological son, and three years after that, in 1958, they had a second son.
Perhaps that in part gave thought to her warning: "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died."
She devoted her life to her children and her home, as a garden-variety Ohio housewife. But she kept up her writing skills by occasionally publishing a column in the Dayton Shopping News.
As a mother, she noted, "One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is."
And as a housewife she observed: "The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one."
In 1964 she began writing for the Kettering-Oakwood Times. The next year she moved to the Dayton Journal and started to write a weekly humor column. Before long, the column was picked up for syndication to other newspapers, under the title "At Wit's End."
Through her syndicated column, she grew to become a popular humorist around the country. She began giving lectures in cities where her column appeared, and then became a guest on Arthur Godfrey's radio show. In 1967 she published a book, a collection of her columns -- and ultimately she would go on to publish a dozen books. In 1976, she hit the national bestseller lists with The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank and she followed that in 1978 with her even more popular If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?
And speaking of food, she also advised: "Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart."
Erma Bombeck had been diagnosed with an hereditary kidney disease when she was just 20 years old, but for years it didn't affect her health. In 1992, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after that the kidney disease did catch up with her. In 1996, at the age of 69, she went to the hospital for a kidney transplant. She died three weeks later, on April 22, 1996.
But by then she'd lived a successful, fulfilling life and, as for any setback, she seemed to toss it off by responding: "If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."