Of course I’ve seen many of her films (You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorites), but it was just a couple of years ago that I read her books.
It started with an excerpt in Elle magazine from Ms. Ephron’s 2010 collection of personal essays, I Remember Nothing. In Elle she shared her experiences working in the 1960s as a mail girl at Newsweek and a reporter at the New York Post. I devour stories about women journalists from that era. It was a different world back then; not easy for women but their struggles make great stories and Ms. Ephron was a funny and natural storyteller.
Plus there was a photo (see above) of her looking fabulously chic and smart standing inches away from Robert Kennedy. I love the handbag in particular, which is ironic because Ms. Ephron hated handbags as she wrote in her 2006 memoir, I Feel Bad About My Neck –
“I hate my purse. I absolutely hate it. If you’re one of those women who think there’s something great about purses, don’t even bother reading this because there will be nothing here for you.”
Well I do think purses are pretty great, but I kept reading and became enamored of Ms. Ephron, her honest dry humor, and her master crafting of a good essay.
For a week last summer I was home from work with a nasty cold and I happened to have I Feel Bad About My Neck on CD. For most of one day I sat up in bed and listened to Ms. Ephron chatting away just as if she were sitting in the corner keeping me company. She talked about writing, about her family, and the big love of her life – her NYC apartment. I’d dose and rewind, dose and rewind. Snuggled up right next to me the entire time was my cat, Mr. Pru.
It was a memorable day, actually. Especially since, as it turned out, those were some of the last close moments I’d have with Mr. Pru, who at 18 years old was near the end of his life. Unexpectedly I had to put him to sleep not two weeks later.
That is one nasty cold I will always remember fondly. Part of the memory is Nora Ephron’s charming voice filling my bedroom, like a comforting visit from a friend.