1 As the crowd filled Alice Tully Hall for Nora Ephron's memorial, the mood was quite somber, as you can imagine. However, that soon changed to heartfelt and hilarious.
2 There were about 800 notables present, by invitation only. While Nora was in the hospital dying, she organized the entire memorial, filing her plans in a folder labelled "exit."
3 She made up the guest list and decided who would speak and for how long.
4 Nora even selected the music - classic songs like "I've Got the World on a String" sung by Frank Sinatra and "You Must Remember This" sung by Jimmy Durante.
5 Nora chose this wonderful photo of herself for the program cover. She had great hair and admitted to having it blown out twice a week, stating that it was a lot cheaper than psychoanalysis.
6 The somber mood lifted when the first speaker, Martin Short, took the stage. He said, “I believe that when people pass, they zoom into the people that love them the most. So, if that’s the case, then all of us here have a piece of Nora. And that’s the way it should be. Because life would just seem all too mundane without her."
7 Richard Cohen, Washington Post columnist, said that “Nora was one degree of separation. Nora not only knew everybody, she read everything. If I had a book, she had the galleys. If I had the galleys, she had the manuscript. If I had the manuscript, she knew the author. If you wanted to read the book before she did, you had to go to the printing plant in Kentucky or someplace.”
8 Nora's son, writer Jacob Bernstein, said of his mom, “She was the most fantastic blend of joy and cynicism. She was my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and a total drill sergeant, which is basically what a great parent is supposed to be."
9 Director, Mike Nichols, said "Ephron had chosen the playlist, the huge pots of hydrangeas, the speakers, and demanded that all of us be finished in under 47 minutes. She was necessary to us."
10 Her sister Delia Ephron, stated, “Was there anyone in the world with more opinions? The planet is practically opinionless now.”
11 Nora's son, musician Max Bernstein, recalled when he had chicken pox and how it was the first time he realized how much he was loved by his mother. He also recalled Nora's resistance to having Thanksgiving dinner early in the day. “We always had it at 7, like civilized people."
12 Actress Meryl Streep said that, “She pulled a fast one on us. It’s really stupid to be mad at somebody who died, but somehow I have managed it. I guess sometimes you have to wait for someone to leave the room to say how great they are.”
13 Rosie O’Donnell read, "I Hate my Purse," a humorous excerpt from Nora and Delia's play, "Love, Loss and What I Wore."
14 The speeches were so poignant, funny, and moving that I didn't want to forget a thing.
15 The list of eleven speakers - Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson performed a humorous he-said, she-said imitation of Nora and her husband, writer Nick Pileggi. J.J. Sacha, Nora's assistant for 14 years said, "It’s fair to say I earned a Ph.D. in Nora."
16 Nora loved food and cooking and each program came with a different recipe that she provided from her personal collection. I was touched to hear that some of my recipes were included.