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Checking in with Emmett, Erling's friend

Now 9 years old, Emmett Rychner is as curious as ever.

More than ever, this a time to check in - in safe ways - with family and friends.

In that spirit, for the next few weeks we’ll be “checking in” with old friends from Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories.

We’ll start the virtual meetings by catching up with Emmett Rychner.

In 2014, the friendship between 3-year-old Emmett and his 89-year-old next door neighbor Erling Kindem became a viral sensation.

Three other stories followed:

Last week via video chat, Boyd Huppert spoke with Emmett and his mother Anika Rychner.

BOYD: Hi Emmett.


BOYD: How have you been doing?

EMMETT: Pretty good. I’ve been making a few airplanes as you can see. (Emmett is standing behind a table filled with mostly hand-built remote-control airplanes.)

BOYD: Oh my gosh.  

EMMETT:  This is my first airplane and it has some Sky Hobby motors.

BOYD: Emmett, how old are you now and in what grade are you?

EMMETT: I am nine and I’m in third grade.

BOYD: What are your favorite subjects in school now?

EMMETT: Math and science.

ANIKA: There’s a model airplane store in Eagan and when we take him there, he has these conversations with grown men about things that are completely over most people’s heads. 

BOYD: Erling flew in World War II.

ANIKA: He did, yes.  

BOYD: So, wouldn’t he enjoy Emmett’s interest in aviation?

ANIKA: He would love that. One of the last things Erling said to Emmett on our last visit with him was, "Emmett, you amaze me." And we say that to him a lot, because it just reminds us of Erling. He’s buried here in Northfield close to us, so we visit his gravesite and talk about him. 

BOYD: Does Emmett ever watch the old stories?

ANIKA: We pull them up every once in a while. He has a lot of real memories of Erling, but he also has even more memories of him because of all those videos and those stories.

BOYD: I’m thinking how much Erling would enjoy talking with Emmett now, with all of his newfound knowledge and the excitement he has for aviation.

ANIKA: I can’t imagine the two of them in a room right now, who would talk more - who would get a word in edgewise.

BOYD: (To Emmett) Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?

EMMETT: Be an engineer.

BOYD: Why an engineer?

EMMETT: That’s been something that I’ve always been interested in and building things has just been my hobby. It’s almost like playing, for me.

BOYD: It was really good to see you Emmett.

EMMETT: You too.

BOYD: Take care buddy.


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