As a contributing writer for Vogue magazine, Amy Ephron penned an essay about her love affair with Saks Fifth Avenue. Simply titled “I Love Saks,” it recounts her periodic visits to the New York City department store, where even if she didn’t buy anything she always felt comforted by its textures, scents and elegance. She called it a “throwback to a kinder, gentler time.”
Her editor of 25 years enjoyed the story so much that he asked Ephron if she would like to turn it into a book. Ephron had so many stories to share — funny ones as well as sad ones, scary ones and sweet ones — that she wasted no time compiling them into Loose Diamonds and Other Things I’ve Lost (and Found) Along the Way, (William Morrow, 2011) a poignant yet humorous look at divorce, friendship, work, single parenting and remarriage.
Ephron, sister of the late award-winning screenwriter Nora Ephron, will share some of those of experiences as well as seek out those of her audience when she appears at noon Thursday, Nov. 8, at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center’s (JCC) annual Booklover’s Luncheon at JCC Uptown, 5342 St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans. Tickets are $30 for the luncheon and presentation or $10 for the presentation alone. The luncheon is catered by Rommel and groups may reserve tables on a first-come, first-served basis. Ephron will be available to sign her books after the presentation.
The luncheon is the highlight of the JCC’s Book Festival, which also features children’s author Ann Marie Asner on Sunday, Nov. 4, (free but reservations suggested) and author and humorist Dan Zevin on Sunday, Nov. 11 ($10, includes reception with light hors d’oeuvres, sushi and wine. Zevin will autograph books following the presentation. RSVPs requested by Nov. 8).
Ephron is not new to the JCC speaking circuit.
“Last year, I was speaking to a room (at the Atlanta JCC) where 60 percent of the people had read the book, and they all brought their own experiences into the room, experiences about post-modern life, about being psychic, about raising children,” Ephron said in a telephone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “That’s what I hoped it would do.
“Clearly my life is a little bit different. I was a single mother with three kids, and I’m very vocal about the fact that I did not receive child support. I did not have a smooth ride. There are ups and downs in life and things I lost and found along the way. But one of my messages is that you have to pick yourself up after a fall, that you have to have an open mind in terms of anything being possible.”
When Ephron says her life is different, she’s isn’t talking about life as a single mother with financial struggles. As far back as she can remember, stuff happened to her, from the day she was rear-ended in car pool line by her soon-to-be ex-husband’s former lover to her 1971 encounter with Lynette Alice “Squeaky” Fromme, a member of the Charles Manson family who was later convicted of trying to kill President Gerald Ford.
In the essay “Loose Diamonds,” she describes what it felt like to have her treasured jewelry collection stolen in a burglary. She wasn’t worried about the jewelry’s monetary value, but the memories that each piece held, from the gold stud earrings that her mother gave her when she had her ears pierced for the first time to the antique emerald and diamond ring that her first husband gave her on the day their second daughter Anna was born. Ephron had promised that the ring would eventually go to Anna.
Born in Beverly Hills in 1952, Ephron is the youngest of four daughters born to Henry and Phoebe Efron. Her oldest sister Nora, who died earlier this year, was best known for writing the romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and Julie and Julia.
The younger Ephron said she and her siblings inherited the writing gene from their parents, both of whom were screenwriters. In addition to Loose Diamonds, Amy Ephron has written several other books, including the best-selling Cup of Tea and One Sunday Morning. She is also a contributor to The New York Times’ T Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The Daily Beast and Huffington Post and has her own online magazine, One for the Table.
Recently, she said, there has been interest in turning “Musical Chairs” — one of the essays in Loose Diamonds — into a television series. The essay describes the prevalence of divorce and includes the infamous car pool encounter.
“Everyone was getting divorced,” Ephron said. “Everyone at this school had something going on. It was like there something in the water. It was a complete mess.”
For information on Ephron’s New Orleans appearance, to RSVP for events or order books for JCC Book Festival events, visit http://www.nojcc.org or call (504) 897-0143.