Twenty five years ago, when I first crossed paths with Nora Ephron, I was, as the song goes, “so much older then..”
This all began in New York when a friend who was staying with me came home with a wallet she had found in a cab. When we opened it my jaw dropped – Nora Ephron’s face on her driver’s license was looking at me. I could not believe it. I had “struck gold.” My first book had just been published, and I was a younger excited new author. Having this great writer’s wallet dropped into my friend’s lap was “my sign.” Of what I didn’t know but it didn’t matter.
As it was, Nora lived two blocks away from me on 79th and Broadway, in a stunning historical building with a driveway I had seen in movies. We called Nora, she was delighted and my friend and I headed down the street carrying the wallet like it was made out of glass and an autographed copy of my book “Annie Bananie” like it was to be our new connective tissue. The doorman pleasantly accepted both. Then I went home to wait for Nora’s rave review.
The next morning, the doorbell rang. A winded delivery guy unhappily made his way up my fourth floor walk up with two beautiful bouquets. One for me and one for my friend. The cards read “with love, Nora”. My “sign” became a great writing lesson: Actions do speak louder than words. This woman was a gracious spirit. Several years later I was to write a memoir. The editor of the book was a friend of Nora’s. Nora read the book as a favor and she liked it very much. I was in heaven. This was “my sign.” That was 12 years ago.
Yesterday, the day of Nora’s death marked the anniversary of “Annie Bananie” being in print 25 years. That is a sign of something I could not have understood as well as I do now – time passes and if we are lucky we awaken to realizing each or any of our loves and achievements are a miracle and a mystery.
Today, I am also, as Nora so beautifully wrote, not enamored with my neck. But I am so grateful to still have one and to know this is “my sign.” It is that 71 is too close – too young to die. In my heart and clearly millions upon millions of others, Nora never will.