Episode 3 - Henny and Ernest

Photo of Henrietta and Ernest Poethig circa 1922
Henrietta Schoelzel and Ernest Poethig, circa 1922

Richard, the son of a working class father and a mother with higher aspirations, found a way to honor them both through his vocation. In a phone call on their father’s birthday, Richard and his sister Erna talk about Henny and Ernest and share memories about their resilient lives.

With only an eighth grade education, Richard’s father Ernest managed to keep steady work at the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company taking care of the delivery horses and cleaning the machines. He also did household chores to make life easier for Henrietta, who had tuberculosis. Henny, with her high school degree, understood the value of education and the possibilities of a middle class life. Richard absorbed the meaning of Ernest’s work—to stave off eviction and put food on the table—and of Henny’s aspirations—to strive for a better and more secure life.

When tragedy struck the family in 1945, Richard made a tough decision to continue college, rather than come home and support his father and his sister, who was only 12 years old. In this episode, Erna, now 87, helps Richard remember their years growing up together in Yorkville.


Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cure_Cottages_of_Saranac_Lake

Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_Biscuits

The Fred Waring Show https://libraries.psu.edu/about/collections/fred-warings-america/1930s-and-40s-radio-days

Music Credits

“Phase 3” by Xylo-Ziko https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/

“The Fred Waring Show,” September 23, 1947. https://otrrlibrary.org/f.html

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