If I Had My Life To Live Over


Erma Bombeck was a fixture in my childhood in Dayton, Ohio. She was born in Bellbrook, Ohio, a small community to the east of Dayton. However, she lived most of her life in Dayton.

Erma was an American humorist who wrote one of the longest  running columns in newspaper history for one of the local papers, The Journal Herald.  At the height of her career she was syndicated in 900 different daily newspapers and read by thirty-million readers in the U.S. and Canada.

Her’s was one of the columns I read religiously. Kinda like reading Peanuts too.

People just loved her!

She was so down-to-earth and real.

Her columns made me laugh outrageously. She was just so funny. She was dubbed “the Socrates of the ironing board” by Life Magazine.

She wrote about the minutia of everyday domestic life from dust to lost socks. She was an uncommon writer who had the common touch.  You just knew she was just one of us. She endeared herself to millions because she understood what our lives were like and helped us get through them and made us laugh about ourselves and the journey

Bombeck also had columns published in various magazines including Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Teen Magazine and Family Circle to name just a few.

A Brief Sampling of Her Humor
  • “Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids.”
  • “The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.”
  • “Mothers-in-law who wear a black arm and to the wedding are expendable.”
  • “Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”
  • “Never loan your car to anyone to whom you’ve given birth.”

According to Wikipedia she:

………achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban  home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers. From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent humor.

You can read more about her amazing life and career at Wiki.

She died way too young from complications of a lifelong kidney condition and cancer. But before she died she left us with this gem:

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.

© Erma Bombeck

Featured Recipe        Sesame Broccoli

Is there anything that smells as divine as toasted sesame seed oil? I don’t think so.

Plus it makes my kitchen and dining area smell heavenly for hours.

This dish makes a tasty side dish or salad.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 medium large head broccoli

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Over low heat in a small skillet toast the sesame seeds. Set aside. You can tell when the seeds are toasted becasue you can smell them.

Peel and slice the garlic.

Wash broccoli and cut into florets.

Place broccoli in a steamer basket in a saucepan of water. Bring to a boil.  Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes or until crisp-tender.

While the broccoli is steaming, combine the garlic, sesame seed oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper in a bowl.   

When the broccoli is crisp tender transfer it to a serving bowl. Drizzle with soy sauce mixture. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. 

Serve with any entrée or as a salad.

Bon appétit!!!


1 medium large head broccoli                     $1.79

2 tbspns toasted sesame seed oil                $0.81

2 tablespoons soy sauce                             $0.36

1 tablespoon rice vinegar                            $0.12

2 tablespoons sugar                                   $0.04

2 tbspns toasted sesame seeds                   $0.75

Total cost = $3.16
Cost per person = $0.79

Quote of the Day

The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.

Alden Nowlan, Canadian poet, novelist and playwright



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5 comments to If I Had My Life To Live Over

  • “I haven’t trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I’ve never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.” ~Erma Bombeck

    She could make me laugh so hard I’d cry. I’ve read her thoughts before and every time I read them I think, she’s right. Use the good china. I use mine all the time and have ever since I read this right after she died.

    I made some zucchini and onions sauteed in a pan with a drop or two of sesame oil, some light soy and toasted sesame seeds the other night and it was wonderful. Now I need to make this because I think I’ll like it just as much.

    • Roberta

      She could cut straight through the B.S. of any topic and get straight to the heart of it for sure.

      Your zucchini dish sounds wonderful. I Iwill have to try that. Sesame seed oil makes almost everything better!

  • Such beautiful words. Life is a gift and Erma Bombeck realized that!

  • She was wonderful! She managed to put into words things we’ve all felt or thought or been through and she made us laugh out loud. Thanks for honoring her in your post 🙂