Goodbye Nora E, though I never knew you at all

Nora Ephron died this week. She wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Silkwood, Julie & Julia. She began her career as a journalist and was also a film director, an author, and a blogger. I wonder if she was called a ‘mummy blogger’?

Nora EphronMs Ephron was a woman who was talented beyond measure, a working mum who was successful however you define it. Yet she also wrote about the unpleasant process of ageing and how unfairly biased it was against women, the focus of her best-selling collection of essays, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman“.

Nora Ephron had two children, and was a single mum for a number of years after divorcing husband Carl Bernstein of Woodward and Bernstein fame, the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal.

But clearly, she was never just the wife of someone famous. She wrote, directed or produced 15 films,  received multiple Academy Award nominations and released six collections of essays.

I love Nora Ephron’s writing, and was always drawn to words written by her or about her.

She has some classic quotes about parenting, which are often shared.

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

“Here’s what a parent is: A parent is a person who has children. Here’s what involved in being a parent: You love your children, you hang out with them from time to time, you throw balls, you read stories, you make sure they know which utensil is the salad fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework.”

“The nest is actually empty. You’re still a parent, but your parenting days are over.”

“[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”

She also crafted a fine phrase about relationships and marriage:

“I don’t want to be someone that you’re settling for. I don’t want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it, isn’t it?”
—Walter from Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

“Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
—Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally

And about life:

“Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”

I bet you love her too now, right?

Nora Ephron had an amazing life and career, which you can read more about here.

For a real treat, read her Wellsley College 1996 commencement address about women having it all.




  1. A great tribute to an amazing woman.
    Catherine Rodie Blagg @CoTaaB recently posted..Juggling PineapplesMy Profile

  2. Oh, I didn’t know she passed away!!! That’s so sad! I love that “When Harry Met Sally” quote. It has to be one of my all-time favourite movies. In fact, there’s a lot of great quotes…
    Sally: “I had these days of the week underpants…but they didn’t have Sunday…”
    Harry: “Why didn’t they make Sunday ?”
    Sally: “Because…of God” LOL!
    You’ve inspired me to have a Nora Ephron tribute night! 🙂
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    • Thekids says:

      That is funny. That quote in the above piece about he loves all those things about her… is there a more romantic speech in all of romcom kingdom!!??

  3. Denyse Whelan says:

    I really liked Nora’s work and her outlook on life as both a writer and a screen writer. When someone takes parts of our lives as she did, and makes them memorable on the screen it is a gift. I loved her movie work & how we could identify with her characters. Thank you for bringing her commemencement speech in 1996 to our attention. I read it. That’s 16 years ago. My first granddaughter was born that year. In her speech Nora speaks of a time around 7-8 years before I took off from teachers college into my career. I felt she had much to say I could identify with. Vale Nora. Her words live on. Thanks Rachel. Denyse
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    • Thekids says:

      I’m so glad you read the commencement speech Denyse. I think it’s a stand out. It was two years before I had my first daughter, and I was in a terrific career and loving work. I wish I’d read that speech then, I might have fought a bit harder to have both career and parenthood, but I am happy with what I have now and I suspect she is talking about the long game anyway.

  4. I really wasn’t aware of Nora until I saw the news about her death, but I loved those films. What a great loss to us and what a terrible shame she never received an award for her work. Sometimes we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.
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    • Thekids says:

      Yes she was nominated for so many Academy Awards but didn’t receive one. She won other prestigious awards though, and was hugely successful, so “the Academy” clearly don’t know their stuff 🙂



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