Moving & Literary Throwbacks: “The books I find as I go through my shelves”

We are packing up our lives. Our official settlement date has been moved up. We are now “officially settling” on April 30th. Exciting news. Frighteningly close.

So here we are packing up every weekend. I’ve decided to start with my books because they are truly the bulk of my personal items.

Two hours and four boxes later, I have only cleared off two shelves. A mixture of large shelves and hard-backed books is causing the problem. “Problem” is relative of course. I don’t find it a problem at all.

It has been really fun taking a trip through my books, the ones I’ve read, the ones I want to read, those I need to read again.

I thought it would be fun to discuss a few of them before they are packed away and their box is labeled for placement in my new study.

Today’s Gem:

I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression by Erma Bombeck

“She Has a Cold. Shoot Her”

When women’s lib comes out for Equal Colds, I will join it.

I never minded dancing backward…or having buttons on the wrong side of my blouse, or having to ask for a key every time I want to go to a service-station restroom. But just once I would like to have my cold given the same respect as a man’s cold.

A few weeks ago when my husband had the sniffles, he took his cold to his bed, summoned three medical opinions, insisted I mail the children out of state, installed a dumbwaiter in his bedroom (me!) and wrote to ABC insisting he would make a great two-part series from “Marcus Welby, MD.”

Two days ago, I awoke to pain. My head was feverish, my lips cracked. My throat was dry. I was nauseated. Every bone in my body begged to be put to rest. “I do not feel well,” I said to my husband. “In fact, I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I think I’m dying.”

“Does that mean you’re not going to get dressed?” he asked impatiently, looking at his watch.

“You don’t understand,” I said, “it is pure penance to breathe. My head aches. My eyes feel like round razor blades, and its only a matter of minutes before I go to that big utility room in the sky.”

“I feel the same way when I sleep too long in the morning,” he said.

“But it’s only six-thirty,” I said huskily.

“So, eat a little bacon, hash browns covered with catsup…and where are you going?”

You’ve heard it sisters, now what are we going to do about it?

I propose we initiate federal legislation to make women’s colds legal in all fifty states to be protected under a new law called: Bombeck’s Equal Cold Opportunity Bill.

The bill would provide that women would receive more than fifteen minutes to get over a twenty-four hour virus.

When I first read this book, I was in my early teens. I purchased this at a used book store. Twenty-five cents is still written in the upper right corner of the Front Cover.

What made a fourteen-year old 90s chick pick up a classic like this? We clearly had very little in common.

I am not entirely sure, and I must admit there were a few of Erma’s chapters that made me feel less than comfortable. There is a chapter on her own weight loss and her views on her own daughter’s size and weight that I feel seriously date the book. It is a mindset for many women that I hope is starting to shift.

But as a kid, I went and bought all of her books, and I never regretted it. Her books always made me laugh out loud, despite the fact that the above story rings more true for me now than ever before. What married woman with kids has not watched her significant other groan and moan over a cold while she picked herself off the floor after puking her guts up to go and make dinner?

For better or for worse, the pandemic made me painfully aware of the major differences between the two sexes and the where responsibilities lie. My current position within my family dynamic does not have the same child-like feel as the above story, though.

But I do still love the part of the narrative that begins her discussion of what her new legislation would look like because, let’s be honest, it would have to become law before it could ever be true in an our American Households.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed today’s Literary Throwback.

Tomorrow will feature a different author and a different text. I am just going down the shelf.

Love and Light, All!

Photo by Andrii Lobur on