Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Remembering Norris

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Remembering Norris

Article excerpt

IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, AND WE MET CUTE. It was at a 2004 PEN dinner in Boston. My husband and I were seated at the Mailers' table. A man was seated between Norris and me. After talking to each other for about ten minutes, basically leaning in in front of this man, we told him to move. We continued to talk to each other through the whole dinner; rude, to be sure, but there you are. At the end of the evening we exchanged contacts, and each other's books, and thus our friendship was born. I had, for whatever reason, always thought middle-aged ladies did not make new friends; they had the old ones. But Norris not only became a cherished friend, she became more. We called each other "the red-headed sister." I was the big sister, of course, being nine years her senior--and both of us were only children.

The unusual thing about our relationship as girlfriends was that, though we did see each other in Boston, Provincetown, and New York, we did most of our talking in emails. We went through a lot together, in the ether, as it were. For me to even meet Norris, let alone become close, was amazing to me because I had been aware of her for many years as someone who was covered in the press. The Mrs. Mailer I was used to seeing in photographs was a curvaceous, Rubenesque beauty. The Mrs. Mailer I met was reed thin--and still gorgeous. She told me, soon after we met, that she was duking it out with cancer, and she had been winning for a lot of years. …

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