In 2023, Carteret Writers will be 40 years old (though we hardly look a day over 18). To begin celebrating our organization’s long and storied history of supporting, connecting, and inspiring local writers, we asked our members to think back to some of the best stories, poems, and essays of the year before the group was founded. Several members responded to our request for literary responses to 1982’s bestsellers. In this post, member Veronica Krug shares the impact of legendary comedic author Erma Bombeck’s 1982 book The Grass is Always Greener on the Over the Septic Tank. Thank you, Veronica, for your submission.

In 1982, Erma Bombeck was a household name. She had a daily column called At Wit’s End. At that time, I was the mother of two very young children. I related to her humor and insight of coping with being a mother and every day life. She gave me a smile and a chuckle every morning.

Her book The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank was a best seller. We had just moved to a suburb, and it was like another world to me, but Erma was like a friend telling me I wasn’t alone.

She’s probably rolling in her grave at the way prices and family life has evolved since then. For example, she bought a brand-new home in the suburbs for less than $30,000. She joked about televisions. She said, “Television was a terminal disease that was to spread and worsen, driving people from acute withdraw to chip-dip attacks.” Imagine what she would be saying about cell phones! Thank goodness my children were grown before the explosion of them. One thing for sure. She would have found the humor in them.