ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: The Writer, His Wife, and their Afterlife

I tell Joshua of my weekend and also of my upcoming meeting with Kelly, one of the attorneys representing me in the wrongful-death lawsuit.

“No wonder you put yourself to sleep,” he says. “You’re all by yourself in that apartment filled with bad memories, having to face the worst of them.”

He talks of the creative endeavors he and Ernie did together, starting with The Dodge.

“It’s important for Kelly to know the sensitive artist, the writer, the genius my father was, and how central he was to the films I’ve done — Cain and Abel and Barracuda. Daddy and I planned to write a screenplay for Missing Faces. That was going to be our next film project. Now, that project probably won’t happen. How can you put a price on what he was capable of?” He pauses, gathers himself. “His novels can still be sold. The best ones, we still have. He’s like Van Gogh. So many people go unappreciated while they’re still alive.”

Appreciation and recognition. It’s what Ernie wanted. It’s what Joshua wants.

Or maybe, all along, what they’re really missing, what they really need, what they really want, is . . . love. And not from strangers.



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My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.