A recently discovered undated typewritten Q&A interview with Erma Bombeck:
Where and when were you born?
Feb. 21, 1927. Dayton, Ohio
Favorite teacher? Why?
(My) high school (English) teacher Rosamund Moak. She was a tough teacher, and you took pride in surviving her.
Did any teacher influence either your life or career?
W. Harris, journalism teacher who believed in me and was…a lifelong cheerleader.
What hobbies did you have as a child? What interests?
Only reading…and writing poetry.
What were your favorite games? Sports?
I hated sports.
What people did you admire as a child?
Dorothy Thompson, foreign correspondent.
As an elementary student, what kind of feelings did you have about women’s role in society?
I never thought about the difference, but clumsily entered the fields that were occupied by men without thinking about it.
As a child, how did you answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How is growing up today different than it was in your day?
It’s less restrictive today parentwise. More role models today than ever.
What people in your life were influencing factors in your success?
My mother, J.W. Harris (mentioned above), Glenn Thompson, executive editor of the Dayton Journal Herald, my husband Bill.
How have you managed to combine your career with family?
Very carefully, keeping them separate and not having one dominate over the other.
What do you still want to accomplish?
Write a play or a series…make my words come to life.
What did you have to give up to have a career?
Personal time. Time for just me. Friends. It’s lonely. Normalcy. I don’t function anymore like everyone else.
What kind of world do you see for 9- to 12-year-old girls?
An exciting one with so many options and choices.
What advice would you give a grade school girl?
Don’t blow it. A lot of women have put themselves on the line for you in the last decade. Don’t take it for granted. Your right to vote. Your right to choose. Your right to pursue any field of endeavor you wish. Cherish it. And take advantage of it. Go as far as your dreams will carry you. And leave the world a little better than you found it.