My 33-year-old son, Colby, called me last night to tell me Nora Ephron had died. He went to grade school with Nora’s son but that’s not why he related to her. “She did so much for women,” Colby wisely said.
When a 71-year-old woman makes such an impression on a young man like my son, that’s pretty impressive.
Nora was nothing short of impressive. Who but a creative genius could conceive, write and direct movies like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, no less a book called I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman to reflect on aging and one called Heartburn, following the devastating breakup of her marriage after her famous husband, Watergate journalist, Carl Bernstein, cheated on her. When other women would become embittered by a cheating spouse they loved, Nora parlayed it into her success. She gave funny, heartfelt, insightful voice to the things all women think about and experience all throughout their lives. Didn’t we all double over with knowing laughter during the Meg Ryan orgasm scene, while our boyfriends and husbands sat stunningly silent?
Nora seemed to have an exciting, fun-filled life following her divorce: Great success, happy marriage to another successful writer, nonstop socializing with celebs, house in the Hamptons, and on and on. And when she took ill, she didn’t announce it from the mountaintop. I assume she wanted to continue to be recognized for what she brought to the world, not for what was forcing her to leave it.
When I heard some of her famous friends talk about her on TV this morning, it was clear that she was deeply loved by those she blessed with her own love and devotion, not to mention her superb cooking and non-stop opinions (“You will not breast feed,” she told writer Sally Quinn, for example.) When one pal heard that Nora wouldn’t be coming out to the Hamptons one summer, she was distraught. “I knew the summer wouldn’t be the same.”
Nope. It won’t be the same without Nora Ephron. But it certainly was better with her.