All of the Wallengren's were close in age. We were part of the baby boom generation and it showed! There was often a lot of turmoil in a home full of children suffering from undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. Despite the chaos and the never ending noise, our parents provided us with all the most important gifts of childhood. We grew up surrounded by a large extended family full of artists where we were encouraged to explore, read, garden, play, create and work. Whether it was making up games or building snow intricate snow forts, Ernie was always the leader. The difference between his success and mine was in the attention to detail! His watercolors always included a price, 25c, 15c, 10c, 5c, clearly painted and circled in black on the front of the artwork, an approprate size. No questions. And he did cash in on this enterprise and many others.
I always wanted to be as smart as Ernie. I tried to keep up with him but couldn't. He was the smartest person I've ever known. He was better than any encyclopedia. I loved him most when he was comfortable with himself and when he was at home with his family. He and I corresponded every week for two years while he was a missionary in Central America for our church. I have every letter he sent me during that time and they are a treasures to me. A few years after Ernie's death every letter I wrote to Ernie during that same time was returned to me. He who was so distractable, so preoccupied, so intense, so messy had saved all those letters. They must have been his treasures too. They are over thirty years old now.
He loved his wife and children and did not want to be separtated from them. I know he believes that same sociality that existed among his family here will exist among them when they are reunited. So go for it Ernie. We're always going to be cheering for you. We are all on your team. You have fought the good fight and we are all better for knowing and loving you.