I was eleven when You've Got Mail came out and I saw it in theaters with my best friend (hi, Sarah!) and her mother (hi, Trudi!). I didn't fully understand the nuances of Ephron's comedy at that age, but I walked out of that theater feeling touched, forever changed. I wanted to grow up and be just like Kathleen Kelly. I wanted to have a sunny apartment on a tree-lined city street, I wanted to have a shop that was mine that I would fight for, and I wanted to one day fall in love with a man who would challenge me and love me and together we would be happy for as long as we both shall live.
As I matured and grew older, the movie changed with me. I became more acutely aware of Kathleen's dilemma and saw that small business owners across America were going through similar hardships as chain stores turned old fields into superstores and put their tiny competitors out of business. This outraged me and inspired me to shop at locally-owned businesses whenever possible. Eventually, I ended up working for a small business in Boston and I helped to make it stronger and more competitive in the marketplace. When I left the company two months ago, we were on the brink of a total brand overhaul that I so badly wanted to be a part of. Next month they are moving to a luxurious new location and I'm angry that I won't be there to welcome our clients through our shiny new door and into the chic new space. Yet I'm proud of their success and proud of the role I played in helping them move forward. It's because of Ephron's sweet interpretation of The Shop Around the Corner that I work to preserve and support the shops (and artists) around our corners that help to define and differentiate our communities and I'm excited to find new businesses to work with here in the UK.
The day after her passing, I made David watch You've Got Mail with me [again]. This time, what came through was Kathleen Kelly's optimism in light of losing everything. Despite having lost her mother, her store, and her identity, she bravely moved forward, explored her opportunities and made a new life for herself. That, my friends, is brave. That is inspiring.
"And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” –Nora Ephron.Right now, I too feel as if I've lost my identity. Making new friends, which has always come easily to me, has completely evaded me in this country and I feel claustrophobic in my small town. I've been wearing spandex leggings and t-shirts for weeks (people, to better help you understand what a monstrous tragedy this is, I only have, like, two t-shirts and one pair of leggings) and right now I'm selfishly enjoying wallowing in my own misery. Luckily, I married a man who challenges me. He knows when he needs to let me cry alone, but also knows when he needs to come and sit on the side of the bed and tell me to take control and move forward.
Much to my dismay, the UK isn't all Colin Firth, ginger biscuits and tea with the Queen. I'm learning how to be an Evil-Stepmother, how to connect with a country of people who are simultaneously much more reserved and far more crass (in my opinion) that Americans, and how to dream another dream and then make that dream my reality. One day, if I can do something one tenth as special as what Nora Ephron has done, I will be a very happy woman and right now, it's my turn to be brave.
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." –Nora Ephron.One more thing: I will not be doing a Tuesday with Moi this week because all I did today is wallow in bed, make lists, work, and write in my journal. Instead, I will be doing a 4th of July with Moi and will post pictures on Thursday. Xox