Last Thursday the mother of a dear friend of mine died of lung cancer. She was two years older than me. I had only met her a few times and we hadn't exchanged more than a handful of words, but she was lovely and her death was peaceful. She didn't suffer with the disease for a long time.
Tonight the news was published that Nora Ephron had died at age 71. This actually brought tears to my eyes. Of course I didn't know Nora Ephron. Yes, I once perused the small kitchen gadget wall at Zabar's right next to her. I don't remember if I bought anything or if she did. This was years ago when we both lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But there was something about her that made it seem like she could have been a relative of mine. Someone, actually, whom I wish WAS a relative of mine. Someone funny and smart and well-connected, with a keen sense of what people were really thinking, especially Jewish women my age who had children, philandering husbands, insecurity about our looks, and an appreciation for shopping. I once read an interview with her in which she said she only had black clothing. Lots of clothes, all of them black. She said it made it so much easier to get dressed. This is only one reason I loved her. Another one was that she was slightly odd looking, with one eye a little droopy and a big toothy smile. So many times I'd read a piece of hers and marvel at how she "got it." The movies were a bonus. Yeah, the fake orgasm scene in "When Harry Met Sally." But there were so many great scenes, so many terrific essays. Thanks, Nora.
There are numerous links to her stories online. I notice the New Yorker posted this link, a fairly recent piece that any New Yorker will connect with. It makes me homesick, and it makes me happy I still own an apartment in New York and so I can live with the fantasy that I can always move back.
I don't know if the magazine site will allow full access to it, but I hope they will: