Six and Twenty: Laughter as medicine

By Six and Twenty Club

On a beautiful fall afternoon, the Six and Twenty Club met at Cape May. Hostess, Ms. Marsha Wagstaff greeted everyone as they entered. President, Mrs. Louanne Blumburg called the meeting to order. Secretary, Mrs. Barbara Leeds called the roll and then read the minutes from the previous meeting. Mrs. Lori McDonald presented the historical minutes from 1967.

The program for the afternoon was presented by Mrs. Cindy Petrich. The book she was circulating was “Forever Erma”, a collection of Mrs. Bombeck’s most requested writings from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Erma Bombeck grew up around Dayton and knew at the age of 10 she wanted to be a writer. Her high school teachers encouraged her to seek a career in journalism. She was able to find humor in everything, even to the point of almost being expelled.

She attended Ohio University briefly, but was told by her counselors to make a different career choice. She then enrolled at the University of Dayton.

Her first job at the Dayton Herald Journal was as copy girl. She got to interview Shirley Temple, who was in Dayton promoting a movie. In 1949 she graduated from UD and got married. She began writing obituaries for the DHJ. This was not easy for her, since she found humor everywhere.

When her children were born, she became a stay at home mom and began writing about what she knew, children, suburbia, and housework. She and family moved to Phoenix in the early ’70s. She wrote a situation comedy for TV, had one of her books made into a movie, was on Good Morning America for 11 years, and wrote 11 books before her passing in 1996. She said that “Laughter is just about the most important thing in the world.”

Mrs. Petrich shared the benefits of laughter for our health. A good laugh gives our bodies an internal workout and helps the way the blood flows around the heart. A deeper breath is taken and our oxygen intake is improved and gives our muscles more energy.

Humor improves sleep quality by producing more melatonin that helps use sleep better. It boosts our immune system by giving us better resistance to illness. It can relieve pain by distracting us from our aches and pains.

Laughter can be a great way to reduce stress. Keeping a treasure chest of items that will cause a chuckle is a good way to start. 20 minutes of laughter, three times a week, can show health benefits. We need to set aside a time for laughter just like we do for working, sleeping and eating. Mrs. Petrich closed her program by reading a Prayer for the Stressed. Discussion followed the presentation.

After the book exchange, members were invited to the tea table. The members enjoyed pumpkin roll, German chocolate cake, fruit, nuts, and candy. Mrs. Blumburg served warm spiced tea. A time of fellowship followed.

By Six and Twenty Club