If I could be any other writer, I always wanted to be Dear Abby. Dishing out homespun advice and Jewish wisdom to the confused masses seemed like a dream job. I was Abby’s biggest fan and one day I got to meet her. I was writing on a new family sitcom created by Erma Bombeck. Erma was the Executive Producer of “Maggie” and she was the sweetest and easiest boss I ever had. Erma knew absolutely everybody. Behind Erma’s desk was hung an enormous patchwork quilt, each square containing a famous person’s autograph embroidered. The daily parade of luminaries who came to take Erma to lunch was amazing – one day in walked Ann Richards, the governor of Texas. But toping them all, for me, was when Dear Abby walked in, resplendent in her trademark helmet hair.
Like every woman in America, I have a treasure-trove of yellowing Abby columns on my fridge and I insisted on recounting them to Abby before I would let Abby and Erma leave for their lunch. Abby was more than gracious while I ticked them off.
Here are a few of my Abby faves:
1. A poem called FORGIVNESS
The friend who ran off with your wife, Forgive him for his lust, The chum who sold you phony stocks, Forgive his breach of trust; The pal who schemed behind your back, Forgive his evil work; And while you’re done, forgive yourself for being such a jerk.
2. “Regret is the cancer of life.”
3. A story about a teacher who had her students write down one good thing about each person in the class. The teacher then copied them over and gave each student a list of 30 positive things others had said about them. An Abby reader died and the list was found in his wallet. He had carried it for forty years.
4. Letter writer Lois in New York didn’t ask for Abby’s advice but sent some of her own pearls of wisdom about not trusting male nurses because “men are the adulterers, the child molesters of the world…” I thought Lois that was pretty funny and I guess so did Abby. Abby will be missed.
Karyl, sad in San Diego