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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

'I Remember Nothing' reminds me: I forgot to write to Nora Ephron

I just want to say, Nora Ephron.

I regret never following through on my intentions to send Nora Ephron a note about how much I enjoy and admire her work.

Nora Ephron began her career as a journalist. She neither minced nor wasted worded. Her tone was always conversational, perfect for an author and columnist who was also a screenwriter. I loved her self-deprecating humor and straightforward style. She was funny.

She died on June 26, 2012. She was 71 years old, which means she was only 13 years older than me, which means she was not that old. I didn't even know she was sick, and it turned out many people who actually knew her were surprised, too.

Last summer, when she died, I regretted my procrastination about writing to her. Now I am flushed with fresh regret, because I just finished listening to her read her last book, "I Remember Nothing." I returned it to the library this morning, so now you can hear it. I loved these tales, adventures and observations, and I loved hearing them from the horse's mouth.

Failing to write to her shouldn’t bother me so much. After all, Nora Ephron didn't know me from Adam.

What difference would it have made to know that she inspired an upstate New York editor to write more often? Or that one of her essays in "I Feel Bad About My Neck" moved this 50-plus-year-old to get her first pedicure, which did indeed make all 10 toes look adorable? Or that I share the frustration of not remembering the names of familiar people and things — and nearly rewrote this paragraph because it took 30 seconds to summon up the word pedicure? 

Why would she have cared that her addiction to Scrabble Blitz was like mine to Words With Friends (although I will surely finish this post after one more game), or that what she wrote about breaking ground in journalism hit home, having become a manager editor when there was never a wait in the ladies room during breaks at newspaper conferences?

Still, what harm would it have done to send a note? But I never got it done, and suddenly it was too late.

What have I learned from my procrastination?


I have not changed my ways one bit.

The other morning I saw a friendly acquaintance at the Y. He was engaged in a conversation with someone so we just nodded and waved. Seeing him reminded me that his father had passed a few weeks ago, and I meant to send a card. I never did, even though I've been buying condolence cards by the bushel because I am at an age when parents of friends and acquaintances are dropping like flies. It's too late to send a card now and I'm sorry. I've missed the condolence boat many times lately. Also, the congratulations boat and the get well gondola.

But back to Nora Ephron. She was a total stranger who made me feel like I could have been a friend; that was the power of her writing. Perhaps what I really feel bad about is selfish: no new Nora Ephron stories or movies to enjoy, no new Nora Ephron writing to admire.

Remind me in a year or two to take “I Remember Nothing” out of the library. The twinge of regret will return. But I’ll have the pleasure of Nora Ephron reading to me all over again, as if for the first time.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Teens: Ready to get fit? Taylor's Heroes is ready to help

Taylor Miller was a typical kid who struggled with his weight. But when he decided to enlist in the Army, he decided to get fit — and he did. He shed more than 60 pounds and gained tons of self-confidence.
The Saratoga Springs High School graduate’s life was cut short in June 2010 by a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan. He was 19 years old.
Taylor Miller
In his honor, a nonprofit organization called Taylor’s Heroes has been created for local teenagers who want to be more active and healthy. The program includes three free months of fitness training, nutrition information, and exposure to a couple of sports of your choosing.
Do you know a teenager who might be ready to take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle? Are you that person? Are you a parent who’d like to make this a family effort? 
To find out more about the organization and how to apply for the next fitness session that begins the week of March 4, call 518-894-1658 or go to
This isn’t some come-on to join a gym. It’s the real deal. I know his mom, Leslie Miller, who founded Taylor’s Heroes with his aunt and others. What they are trying to do is terrific. As the website says, “Taylor’s Heroes would like to help you find the success Taylor experienced while you are young and have a lifetime to enjoy it.”
The website explains:
“Our mission is to help children who want to get fit accomplish their goal by providing them with the resources they need to succeed in a fun, non-competitive, easy format. We understand that we are only a small part of the equation because the desire must be within, and for the best chance for success, the parents must be involved in the entire process – it’s a family effort. That’s why we require that parents also commit to the program, this way we create healthier and happier families, not just children.
“We work closely with local organizations, like the Saratoga Y, to create a program that fits each child’s interests, and will give them the best chance for success. Families also receive nutritional counseling and cooking classes.
“Taylor’s Heroes is completely free to the children we accept into the program. We are committed to helping as many children and families as we can so spread the word!”
It’s that simple. The next step is yours.