My Dear Friend Erin From Holly Street

“When thinking about the… qualities and characteristics that are important for young girls, I can’t help but remember my childhood friend, Erin.”


by Lori Sanborn

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From left to right, Amanda (Amaral ) Marr, Susan (Macchi) Hensley, Amanda Ribiero, Lori Sanborn and Erin Ernest. 1986


Raising children is a tough job.  As parents we work tirelessly to bring them up right.  Our days are filled with giggles and belly laughs, questions and crayons, pirate booty and cookies, tantrums and timeouts, spills and spending, and of course, Sophia and Jake.


Once in a while, when we’re not too tired or robotic, we get the chance to sit back and actually daydream and wonder about the future.  During rare moments like these, I wonder what type of people my daugher and son will become.   How will they act and behave at each stage in their lives? At Beeman? At O’Maley Middle School? At Gloucester High School?


As a woman, I can visualize, with much more ease, the future awaiting my daughter.  Naturally, I worry and hope that my daughter will possess a strong sense of self.  When thinking about the types of qualities and characteristics that are important for young girls, I can’t help but remember my childhood friend, Erin.


Erin was the type of girl who lived life fiercely, every single day.  She was the girl audacious enough to climb trees and pull fire alarms. The girl who always chose “dare” over truth and who was fascinated by the supernatural and the Ouija board.  I admired her fearlessness.  I admired her curiosity.


Erin was the type of girl who welcomed the exploration of the unknown and was never worried by the presence of an unknown place or person.  When others were hesitant, Erin jumped right in.  She was a leader and helped others go outside their own comfort zones. She was adventurous, every ounce of her.  I admired her courage. I admired her independence.


Erin was beautiful and mysterious, even at a young age. The type of girl who was so comfortable in her own skin. Confident enough to make declarations, like “I love Adam,” in sidewalk chalk without concern or second thought.  She didn’t care who saw it or if “Adam” felt the same.  He was cute and she wasn’t afraid to say it.  I admired her boldness. I admired her confidence.


As my daughter enters her second year of preschool, I hope that she shares more than the love of the color purple with Erin.  May she tackle each day with spirit and passion.  May she always show the world exactly who she is and never be afraid to stand out. May she inspire others around her to take risks and try new things.  Above all, may she always treasure her own childhood friends.  Because there is only one thing as special as the memories we make in our youth and that’s the kids that we made them with.


Erin, you left us way too soon.  But know that every single time my daughter laughs deeply, acts boldly or leads her friends,  I think of you, my dear friend from Holly Street.


Erin Ernest’s home at the corner of Holly Street and Washington Street, Gloucester, where her parents established the Willow Rest. She lived there all her life- just 24 years.






lori schaefer

Lori Sanborn was born in Gloucester and returned to live permanently in our seaside community three years ago. She has been a public educator for 12 years,  teaching eighth graders.  Lori is most proud of her role as mother to her children, Emerson and Ryder.




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