Ernie is a minor character in The Summer I Turned Pretty series. He is an elderly widow Conrad visits on a frequent basis, having grown fond of him.
He was the owner of an old seafood restaurant that Conrad used to bus tables at, resulting in the two getting to know one another. He was well known in town, with every kid at Cousins knowing who he was. He has an excellent memory, being able to remember everyone he meets regardless of his old age.
As Ernie grew older, his nephew named John took over his business and gradually cut him out before removing him from it altogether. This left Ernie furious to where he briefly no longer considered him family, but soon forgave him. Ernie was married to a woman named Elizabeth, whom he deeply loved, until she passed away. He loved her so much that he believed she was "the one" for him and did not bother to date again following her death, believing "[his] girl was gone" and was simply "bidding [his] time" before his own eventual death.
In We'll Always Have Summer, Conrad makes his weekly visit to him to see how he was doing. They talk about Jeremiah's wedding, with Ernie saying that everyone in town knew about it and comments about how Belly is "a sweet girl". He then bluntly asks Conrad if he was "going to cry about it like a punk" or is "going to do something". This makes it immediately clear that he is aware of Conrad's romantic feelings for Belly.
This leaves Conrad shocked, resulting in him pretending not to know what he is talking about. Ernie tells him not to lie and says he knows that he actually loves Belly, but Conrad changes the subject. However, he soon asks Ernie if he believes people are truly meant to be with only one person in life, to which he asserts that he does.
He also advises Conrad to never forget about family, leading Conrad to bring up how he basically just told him to break up his brother's wedding. Ernie then simply tells him that if a girl is truly "the one" than to forget about everything else, urging Conrad to go after Belly.
- "If a girl's the one, all bets are off, family or no family."
- "Sure I do. Elizabeth was my one. When she passed, I didn't figure a reason to look for another one. My girl was gone. Now I'm just bidding my time. Get me a beer, will you?"
- "Don't be cute with me. You love her right? She's the one?"
- He and Conrad used to take smoke breaks together. Conrad felt guilty about letting an elderly man smoke, but couldn't bring himself to say no to him.
- Conrad makes weekly visits to him. This is in part to keeping him company and to make sure he takes his medicine given no one else in his family bothered to check up on him.
- He is a fan of old cop shows and enjoys having peanuts and fresh glasses of beer when viewing them.
- When they were kids, Conrad and Jeremiah told Belly that Ernie used to be a prince in Italy before moving to Cousins and became a mafioso, "The Godfather of Cousins". This resulted in her always giving him a curtsy whenever she ran into him.
- Conrad would always try to do his law and edging, but Ernie disliked how he did it.
- He only appears in a single chapter in one book out of the entire trilogy.