OK, this lady is funny!
My favorite genre as a pre-teen were mysteries, how-to books and what were known as the Housewife Columnists, Jean Kerr, Phyllis Diller and Erma Bombeck. I think part of my fascination was that their lives with multiple children, household disasters and extended family sometimes seemed more “normal” than my own. They were Americana in contrast to my second-generation Chicago background. My parents were white-collar but still urban and still European in family structure and humor and I found A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to feel more “familiar” than these writer’s stories.
It wasn’t until I was in High School and read Betty Frieden’s The Feminine Mystique, that I came to understand the culture that created these Housewife Columnists. These women found in writing a way to express themselves and to find the humor in the midst of a very peculiar time in American History. They were the misfits in the cult of the nuclear family, the ones who didn’t vacuum in high heels and have perfect children with straight teeth. But what they were was so much more, they were smart and funny and Bearded Iris is one of their clan. Enjoy!