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Erma Bombeck’s Life Story

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Erma Bombeck was a great and funny woman. She had many ups and downs in her life, but she never let them get to her. She just laughed them off. Erma Louise Bombeck was born February 21, 1927 in Dayton, Ohio. Her mothers name was Erma Fiste. She was 16 at the time of Ermas birth. Her fathers name was Cassius Edwin Fiste. He was 33 when Erma was born. He didnt earn much money as a crane operator, but he always provided for the family. Erma also had a half sister, Thelma, who was 14 at the time of Ermas birth. Thelma was from her fathers previous marriage. Erma and Thelma were very close. They all lived on Hedges Street in Dayton, Ohio.

In the late 1920s, tap dancing was a nation wide craze. Erma loved to tap dance as a child. She took lesson with Thelma, who turned out to be an excellent tap dancer. Erma, at the age of five, won a spot on a local radio show called Kiddie Review. She actually tap danced on the radio. She continued doing this until she was 8 years old. At the age of 9, Ermas father, Cassius died of a heart attack. No one, not even Cassius, knew he was sick. Thelma left Erma and Erma Senior soon after he died. It would be eight years until Erma would see her again. Erma Senior had no family except Erma so the two of them went to live with Cassiuss parents. Erma Senior now worked for a living at a General Motors factory. She eventually remarried.

In high school at Patterson Vocational High School, in Dayton, Erma wrote a humor column in the school newspaper. After graduating in 1944, she went to work full time for the daily newspaper, Journal-Herald, as a copy girl. A year went by before Erma left the newspaper to go to college at the University of Dayton. Erma wrote humor for the student newspaper and magazine. She majored in English. She also worked many other jobs while at college. Erma graduated college with a B.A. degree in 1949. After college she went back to work for the Journal-Herald as a reporter. She became a feature writer in the women’s page.

August 13, 1949, Erma married a man named William Lawrence Bombeck. He was a school administrator. Erma and Bill were both twenty-one years old at the time of their marriage. Bill got a job at Centerville High School as a science teacher. The Bombecks soon decided that Erma would quit her job to be a homemaker as soon as their first baby arrived. Although, Erma was not able to conceive. The Bombecks then decided to adopt an infant girl named, Betsy, in 1945. Also, in spite of what the doctor said, Erma actually gave birth to her first son, Andy, in 1955. Three years later, in 1958, Mathew was born, to complete the family. During the pregnancy of Andy, the Bombecks moved to a small home on Chushwa Dr. in Centerville, Ohio. Bill found many jobs, other than teaching, to do in their neighborhood. Erma and Bill became a real suburban family.

In spite of the hectic life of raising three children, Erma still had the dream of returning to journalism in the back of her mind. In 1965, Erma decided to return to journalism at a local newspaper called the Kettering-Oakwood Times. In her book If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In the Pits?, Erma stated how she felt at this time: I do not feel fulfilled cleaning chrome faucets with a toothbrush. Its my turn. By 1967 she had over nine hundred newspapers publishing her humorous columns about housewives and motherhood. Also in 1967, she published her first book called, At Wits End. Her other works include the following: 1971-Just Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own, 1973-I Lost Everything in the Post-Naval Depression, 1976-The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank, 1978-If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?, 1979-Aunt Ermas Cope Book: How to Get from Monday to Fridayin Twelve Days, 1983-Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession, 1983-Erma Bombeck Giant Economy Size, 1984-Laugh Along with Erma Bombeck, 1985-Four of a Kind: A Treasury of Famous Works by Americas Best-Loved Humorist, 1987-Family: The Ties That Bind and Gag!, 1987-I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise: Children Surviving Cancer, and 1991-When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, Its Time to Go Home. Erma was also the author of the Good Housekeeping column, Up the Wall, and contributed her writing and producing skills to many movies and television shows.

On April 23, 1992, Erma Bombeck learned that she had breast cancer. The doctors removed her left breast and put in a fake one. Everything was going fine until July 1, 1993 when she became ill and both of her kidneys had shut down. Erma had polycystic kidneys all her life. She started giving four-times-a-day kidney dialysis to herself. About this time, she also went public on how she had two miscarriages. In 1994, one of her kidneys was removed and in 1996, Erma had a kidney transplant. Several days after the transplant, complications were arousing. She was suffering from postoperative pneumonia and she developed jaundice from gallbladder disease. Early on the morning of April 22, 1996, Erma Bombeck died of heart failure. An observer noted that she died with a faint smile on her face. Her words will live on.

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