The list that I had at the end of this never-to-be-sent should have included the recently departed Nora Ephron. The announcement of her passing today caught me by surprise. I guess when she’s an artist of such caliber that I actually appreciate her as an artist rather than just as a filmmaker or a writer, then at some point she took on kind of an immortal quality. I know that Matty was honored at tonight’s game, which is part of a critical Dodgers series, but I’ve been more stuck on this Nora Ephron thing.
After I saw Sleepless In Seattle when I was a kid, I wanted to write those kinds of the movies. And I would say “like Nora Ephron,” even though I only knew her work on Sleepless In Seattle. (I didn’t see When Harry Met Sally until many, many years later.) By the time I got to high school and word got out that You’ve Got Mail was coming out soon, I was excited because it was a new Nora Ephron movie.
As a matter of fact, that list should have also included Diane English. I wanted to make TV shows like the successful way she made Murphy Brown. (And Ink, which no one remembers.) Yeah, I was a weird kid. Nod slowly when your son says that when he grows up he wants to be the Nora Ephron of his day, and try to understand.
By the way, even Pop knows Sleepless In Seattle, and he’s pretty manly. Whenever I go back to Maryland for one of my carefree visits — when I don’t have to worry about work, or being an adult, and Ma dotes on me like she always did when I was a kid — I’ll pop in Sleepless In Seattle during one of the all-too precious moments of idleness. And without missing a beat, Pop will eventually walk into the room and ask, “Is that Sleepless In Seattle?”
Once, he even asked about you.
“Is that where your baseball player lives?” he’d said.
I grinned. Pop couldn’t see my face because he was behind me looking at the TV while I was laid out on a couch all comfy under a winter blanket. I figured that Pop had meant to say “your favorite baseball player,” but I relished the moment when I could pretend that you were, in fact, mine. And I further relished the moment when Pop could make the connection between me and you, even if one doesn’t really exist.
“Yeah,” I had said to the images of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. My reply sounded far away and suddenly the movie was an afterthought. “That’s where he lives.”