On Tuesday night, I discovered the sad news that our beloved Nora Ephron had passed. When my husband called me on his way home from work, I said, I’m sad, I need cookies. Mostly, I just wanted cookies. I would have wanted them regardless. Food doesn’t negate sadness, it’s just food, but that is not the point. In case you were wondering, I was watching You’ve Got Mail, it was the respectable thing to do.
So often when celebrities pass, we are momentarily distraught, when we imagine the world without them, even hardly knowing them, but we don’t feel the lasting loss. Any life that ends should be remembered and valued, famous or not. But, this news on this day felt more personal, you know?
The thing is, that even thought we never saw Nora on the screen or sat down to dinner with her, we knew her, her stories, her characters, the ones we quote endlessly and without thinking, they became part of our lives. And we love them, like a dear, dear friend whose brightens the room upon entering. On days that shook us, we’d make tea and toast or something stronger and sink into the couch to find comfort in the charm and goodness of the tales that testify how love matters. On perfectly euphoric days, her best films would no doubt rank highest on our wish lists. On lovely rainy afternoons, You’ve Got Mail, of course. When you wanted funny dashed with sentiment, Harry and Sally would be waiting. And Sleepless in Seattle, oh sleepless, you know. Her stories became our stories and Joe Fox, Kathleen Kelly, Frank, George, Birdie, Annie, Sam, Jonah, Harry Burns, Sally Albright, they became real to us. And husbands, they knew it too, they never questioned when you reached into the bookcase and pulled out a Nora Ephron film. Perhaps they did, but they never let it show.
We daydreamed about that picturesque Kathleen Kelly life, her apartment that makes us want to move to New York right this very minute, picking up pumpkins on the way to work, own a children’s book store, don’t you just love New York in the fall? And, yes, we are always in agony over whether that Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett with get together. Furthermore, our beloved Nora was always so great about making these dorky wacko Walter/Frank types that Meg Ryan was constantly breaking up with for the likes of Tom Hanks. We love Tom Hanks. When her characters connected, it was magic, but still human, not in some lame romantic comedy way. They had depth and flaws and hopes and dreams and we rooted for them. Don’t cry shop girl. I wanted it to be you.
I could on and on, but the fact is that Nora’s stories were special, and they waltzed off the screens and into our lives, forever speaking of beautiful things. True gems.
So thank you Nora, thank your.
Also, this tribute here is perfect.
Tell me, what was your favorite?