I like to start my notes to you as if we’re already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend we’re the oldest and dearest friends, instead of what we actually are: an essayist-novelist-screenwriter-director who became a cultural icon, and one of her many adoring fans.
I remember the day we met: I was 15, and I went to see You’ve Got Mail with my sister, her boyfriend, and my (male) best friend. My sister’s boyfriend, predictably, rolled his eyes, but the rest of us were instantly smitten – with Kathleen Kelly, the Shop Around the Corner, and New York in the fall (and the spring). When I finally visited New York as a twentysomething, I made a pilgrimage to Cafe Lalo, and pictured you and Kathleen walking beside me as I wandered streets overhung with blossoming trees.
My family has watched You’ve Got Mail so many times that its phrases – and its wisdom – are part of our vernacular. We all know that eucalyptus candles make an apartment smell mossy, that newly sharpened pencils are the perfect bouquet to celebrate fall, and that when you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does. (Actually, we already knew that, but you gave us the words to express it.) And you pointed out what should have been perfectly obvious all along: daisies are the friendliest flower.
Thank you for making movies that made us believe in the sparkling potential of ordinary days. Thank you for giving us characters who have become friends, lines we can repeat back to ourselves and to our loved ones, stories we can crawl into when life gets a little drab or ho-hum or cruel. Thank you for your wit, your class, your charm, your refusal to take yourself – or anyone – too seriously. But most of all, thank you for the stories you gave us, which affirm the worth of our small but valuable lives, and help make them bigger and richer and more lovely.
With much love, and lots of daisies,