By Myrna Knepler
Ernst Borinski was a good friend of my late husband, Henry Knepler.
Both Europeans, they had met at the University of Chicago and travelled together in their grad student days. Later Ernst stayed with us several times in our home in Hyde Park, Chicago.
These were wonderful visits and inspiring. Ernst’s optimism and determination to find solutions rather than sit around discussing the problem in the manner of university intellectuals was continually displayed. These qualities must have been a large part of what made him key in changing the lives of so many people. Being with him always lifted my spirits.
One small story illustrates his can-do qualities. Several times during Ernst’s visits I remember beginning the discussion of what I was to prepare for dinner. Often the choice meant a trip to the local supermarket to purchase some missing ingredient. Before I could leave Ernst would say, “Sit down, I’ll prepare dinner. I’ll use whatever you have in the cupboard and fridge.” I would protest, “There’s not enough there. Besides, dinner’s my responsibility. ” Ernst swept my objections away and sailed into the kitchen. “Sit down, give me a half hour and I’ll make dinner.”
He did, often the oddest collection of leftovers and assorted pastas would be presented to us, with great pride. It might not have been four star cuisine but it was palatable and the spirit around the table was joyous.