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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.



Blogger Kathleen Lisson said...

I love your honesty! My father just passed away two years ago - It is not too late to send your friend a condolence card. I'm sure your kind thoughts will be welcomed.

February 21, 2013 at 8:37 PM 

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