Episode 3 - Henny and Ernest
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
“Phase 3” by Xylo-Ziko https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/
“The Fred Waring Show,” September 23, 1947. https://otrrlibrary.org/f.html
Conversations between a dad and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. Richard offers the wide arc of his theological understanding—from the need to care for working people to the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together. They decided to devote an entire podcast season to vocation.