On a much more serious cinematic note, the film and literary worlds lost a great voice this week when Nora Ephron passed away. With When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and Julie & Julia she brought strong women into the boardroom where their always clever exchanges with leading men were much less Joan of Arc than Maria Vargas. What I loved about her was her love of food, appreciation of Jane Austen, ability to write a romantic comedy that while American in ending was really smart, that she created “Sally” (will get to that story later) and in the end she did this almost exceptional thing and owned her death. There were no Hollywood vigils, Page Six updates…Nora Ephron was a class act, a rule breaker, a woman who loved got hurt and wrote a book about it, who enjoyed sharing recipes and someone we could all have had a lot more of.
Her death affected me more deeply than I’d have thought. First, because there are few if any Nora Ephrons in this world of reality TV stars all of whom need a good scolding and time in the corner with Emily Post. Second, because of this story I’m going to share from when I was a freshman in college and had a crush on a smart handsome guy (whose name my best friend from college and I were trying to remember the other day) who when depositing me back at the dorm after a first or maybe second date said “This isn’t going to work, because I’m no Harry” to which I certainly asked “Huh?” and he responded “You are Sally” and there it was and here I still am every bit of her at times and the thing is I really liked this guy, but him saying what he did meant more to me than a third or fourth date. He wasn’t Harry, he couldn’t be strong enough for my Sally. My best friend remembers me telling her about this in her dorm room (we were neighbors).
One of the best pieces I’ve read on Nora Ephron’s legacy and passing is by Moviefone (thanks Ms. N for sharing that). However, I thought it might be interesting to see what she meant to other women I know. A few responses…
Well, I literally stopped in place this morning when npr reported her passing. I’ve enjoyed many times embarrassing boyfriends with a perfect Sally “orgasm” over the sandwich at a restaurant. However, it’s her final words that echo most true for me: If you’re serious about “it” (that which you love) do it, have it, enjoy it NOW, before it’s too late. I can only imagine the fabulous dialogue she’s designing in the after-life. God love her! And please make sure she has plenty of Nate’s hotdogs! – TC (fashion designer, entrepreneur)
I loved Nora Ephron’s approach to food. She didn’t believe in depriving oneself, in being constantly on the lookout for too much fat or some such. And, of course to her food could be orgasmic, as that famous movie scene we all love to quote demonstrates. I may feel bad about my neck, but I feel worse about her passing. I am just grateful for all the creative work she gave us. – NH (freelance travel writer, restaurant critic)
What a surprise and loss …she made uncomfortable family situations humorous…she helped us a;; examined the relationships between men and woman in a new light …She let woman know they were stronger than they thought! – EM (home cook, gardener)
Every time I eat spaghetti carbonara I think of her (Heartburn). Now only more so….loved her work. - BG (Whole Foods Market Marketing Team Leader Maine)
Must read – Tom Hanks remembers Nora Ephron in Time Magazine. The last paragraph is wonderful. The piece reads like one of his beloved Oscar speeches (he gave the best ones).
Top image by Linda Nylind for the Guardian.