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

I run into Steve, a resident in my building. In fact, I own the tiny studio he lives in. His rent helps pay my bills.

For twenty years Steve was the head waiter, the go-to guy, in a wonderful Nantucket restaurant. Eventually, the high rent on the island drove him out. “Twelve hundred dollars I paid for a room in a house I shared with six other guys. That gets old. But when I told everyone I was moving, there was a mad rush for the room.”

“Do you miss the water?” I ask.

His brow furrows a bit under his short silvery hair. “I miss the culture, and I don’t mean art or status. It’s really the kind of people I worked with and waited on. Smart, polite. Our dishwashers were Harvard students. Here, where I’m working, the dishwashers are ex-cons. I have to watch out for them. I’d forgotten how unreflective of the world-at-large Nantucket is.”

“I feel the same way living in a world without Ernie. I’d forgotten — or never truly realized — how unreflective of people-at-large Ernie was.”

There are no other Ernies. He exists mainly in my mind and Joshua’s mind and in his writing. And here, captured in these words on paper.

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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.

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