|Nicholas Pileggi and Nora Ephron at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Today I would like to take just a few minutes to say thank you to Nora Ephron. Nora passed away yesterday leaving many of us sad and wondering what will we do without her uncanny ability to zero in on a story, write a captivating screenplay, find wonderful actors to play roles that really so many of us have played in our real lives.
I am about eight years younger than Nora, but I know many of our generation grew up watching Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in An Affair To Remember. And for those of you out there who refuse to believe that lovestruck people don't still say: "If we are meant to be together, we'll plan to meet on the top of the Empire State Building", I am here to tell you that once long ago in 1976 I was to meet someone on the top of the Empire State Building. He cancelled.
But years later on the occasion of my 25th Wedding Anniversary to the one and only true love of my life, Dennis took me to the top of the Empire State Building. The year was 2003 and it was wonderful...by then I had probably seen Sleepless In Seattle (1993) 50 times and Dennis knew just how to surprise me (unlike Nickie in An Affair To Remember, Dennis took me first to the top of the Empire State Building and then on to Europe to cruise the Danube).
Nora Ephron's body of work is remarkable. If you have ever worked for a less than moral employer...then you relate to Silkwood (1983). If you graduated from high school or college and moved to the big city to find your fame and fortune (and "what she's having"), then you identify with all the ups and downs of When Harry Met Sally (1989). If you discovered (or hoped to discover) the love of your life in a "chat room" and wound up marrying him/her, then memories resonate each time you watch You've Got Mail (1998). If you have ever struggled to find your identity by learning to cook (#54 of the 84 Things You May Not Know About Me), then Julie and Julia (2009) not only inspires one to learn to cook, but also to start a blog.
Nora lived a life that many of us would envy. As a young woman she lived in Washington, D.C. and New York City, she worked as a White House intern for President Kennedy, she applied to be a writer for Newsweek in 1962, but was told women could not be writers; however, they did offer her a job in the mail room and she accepted it. She went on to write for the likes of New York Post, New York Magazine, Esquire, New York Times Magazine, and even found herself in a heartbreaking marriage to Carl Bernstein - one of two reporters for the Washington Post who helped uncover the secrets of Watergate.
I learned today that it was that heartbreaking marriage that inspired Heartburn (1986). I must confess that I have never seen Heartburn, but I do know the music from it and I have experienced divorce (#16 of the 84 Things You May Not Know About Me).
There is no easy way to close this post. Except to say a few final words. Nora Ephron gave us a gift. She shared her gift of writing with all who were willing to read her novels and eventually watch her films over and over again, simply because watching one of her films is still like getting together with old friends. Most of us never had the pleasure to meet Nora in real life, but we feel like we know her. And we feel like Nora knew us or at least she knew what we might be feeling or experiencing in all of those cross-roads of life, those life changing events. She taught us to dream, she coaxed us to dream even in the depths of heartache.
“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”Heavy hearts tonight...but It Is An Affair To Remember and we won't soon forget.
― Nora Ephron, Heartburn
|Dennis & Judy - Empire State Building 2003|