I never knew Nora Ephron but I’ve spent a lot of time with her. Well, okay not actually with her but through my cable box and DVD player. TBS and TNT made sure that I would stop my day when her movies came on. No matter how many times I had seen them I would stop what I was doing. I called that my Ephron break. I would (and still do) curl up with a comfy blanket and watch. I am pretty sure million others were doing the same thing. Perhaps the best Ephron breaks was when it snowed outside.
Her stories seem familiar. Her characters always had realistic living spaces and lived in places I had been to. When my brother first moved to Manhattan, my first trip was to eat at La Luna where they filmed the scene in You’ve Got Mail where Joe Fox finds out he has been chatting online with Kathleen Kelly.
Her characters were normal people really. They had comfy homes. I think Nora liked that shabby chic look for her heroine’s in You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. I always bought into the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks combination and didn’t think twice when they did another movie together. I’d like to think that almost everyone loves a Tom Hanks kind of guy.
Ephron’s films that I knew were the ones from the 1990′s. I had graduated from college and had her movies on VHS. Yes, VHS. It’s funny how the movies grow with you. What you saw back then is different than the message you receive when you are 40.
Nora wrote a scene in You’ve Got Mail that argues against that sad, caveat ridden phrase, “It’s not personal, its business.” After being around business for awhile, I agree with Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly, everything begins by being personal. Here is the line (the clip is below) where Joe Fox was apologizing for putting her small book store out of business:
Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal.
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
Nora, I completely agree.
More recently with Julie and Julia Ephron captured the challenge of being someone that can go from job to doing something on her own as well as the high regard for one of the world’s most beloved woman, Julia Child. My mom used to tell me that Sesame Street didn’t make me sit still but it was Julia Child’s cooking shows that put me in a trance when I was a little kid. I think there needs to be a whole movie about Julia Child’s life.
A few years ago when John Hughes died I wrote a blog about how his movies gave kids in the 80′s a lot of hope that things would turn out okay. In a sense I think Nora did that for a lot of single ladies in the 90s who wondered how their dating story would end.
I’m sorry that I’ll never get to meet or know Nora Ephron on a personal basis. She seemed like a friend you wanted to have. She was someone who probably had a fun circle of friends and a comfortable home. Ephron had her fill of crappy guys and drama. Like her movies, she was able to have an amazing life adventure. Ephron’s story seemed to all work out in. It was a happy ending. The way we all want a story to end.
Oh, and Nora — I hate my neck too.