Saturday, December 26, 2015

Remembering Ernie White

He was a sophisticated man. A dear friend and a highly regarded psychiatrist with a well-developed aesthetic. Yet he also had a bit of Huck Finn in him. He gave mischief a good name.

Ernie loved language like nobody else I’ve ever known. He elevated listening to an art form. He investigated words, their sound, their weight and elasticity. Also their derivation. We enjoyed many moments together knocking phrases around to see if they stood up to scrutiny.

Ernie liked to tell of his days of truancy in elementary school. He refused to make the curlicues in penmanship demanded by his teacher. For this he was banished from the room, made to stand outside in the hallway when his favorite story was being read.

Maybe it offended his aesthetic, his singularity. He owned his own voice, his particular way of seeing. I cherished the way Ernie had of re-framing a work of art or a film or a life experience.

He integrated this particular gift through his profession, his appreciation of art and his entire being. Like any artist he was both intensely present and deliberately truant. He found his perch … just outside the door.

I’d like to believe that during these past few years when he fell nearly silent he was still present refusing life’s needless curlicues.


  1. Such a lovely, wry and accurate portrayal of the Dad that I have adored. Thank you so much for your eloquent and moving tribute.

  2. Thanks, Barbara. I should have added that his several gifts have been seeded in Amy, Jon, David and yourself.