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.



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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