Driving and Biking in the Big City

Nora Ephron always along for the ride

with 3 comments

Nora Ephron has accompanied me on many commutes — most recently, reading me on download her latest book of essays, “I Remember Nothing.” She died yesterday at age 71. The cause was pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia. She could always make me laugh and make me think. (Not to mention she knew who Deep Throat was before ex-husband Carl Bernstein ever revealed the secret. Ha!)

I was reading her before 1973 and Watergate, and I passed on my love of her work to my children. So her legacy will continue. Daughter Laura and I talked of her death last night, just minutes after husband John hollered out to me on the porch to tell me the news.  Son Travis and I spoke about her screenplay work this morning. “You’ve Got Mail” is a famous Christmas tradition around my house because of all the great lines about writing in that movie. Before my family ever saw the movie, they knew my love of a well-sharpened No. 2 pencil and of my enthusiasm for the crisp pluck of a typewriter key. I still have my Royal from sixth grade, prominently displayed at home.

Nora Ephron also wrote “Silkwood,” one of my most famous stories that I ever covered for the Beaumont Enterprise.  Karen Silkwood was from the big city of Nederland, Texas. I interviewed her dad, the reporter she was heading to meet when she was killed and spoke often with the union rep who is portrayed in that movie.  I also used the story of covering this story in my teaching days at University of Houston. Her dad was my toughest interview ever. They had not been that close, and he had blown up Karen’s driver’s license photo as large as possible, framed it and had it hanging over the couch in the very dark living room.  I can still see that room in my head. Bleak.

Nora Ephron foreshadowed her death a bit with these lists at the end of “I Remember Nothing.” They are worth repeating in her honor:

What I Won’t Miss

Dry skin

Bad dinners like the one we went to last night


Technology in general

My closet

Washing my hair



Illness everywhere

Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism



The collapse of the dollar

Joe Lieberman

Clarence Thomas

Bar mitzvahs


Dead flowers

The sound of the vacuum cleaner


E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.

Small print

Panels on Women in Film

Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss

My kids





The concept of waffles


A walk in the park

The idea of a walk in the park

The park

Shakespeare in the Park

The bed

Reading in bed



The view out the window

Twinkle lights


Dinner at home just the two of us

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives


Next year in Istanbul

Pride and Prejudice

The Christmas tree

Thanksgiving dinner

One for the table

The dogwood

Taking a bath

Coming over the bridge to Manhattan



Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

June 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

3 Responses

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  1. Beautiful Denise!


    June 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

  2. I love this & my mom, your sweet sister Ann loved Nora Ephron too! Just days before she passed away she received a package in the mail —–when I opened it up it was Nora Ephron’s book “I Feel Bad About My Neck” Momma never got to read it, I have it now & read it & loved it! Love you!

    Pam Guidry

    June 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    • Sisters are more alike than we even know. I’m not surprised that she loved Nora Ephron. Seems like I remember talking to her about that one. They were similarly strong women. My favorite.


      June 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm

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