93-year-old grandfather becomes children’s book author

Bernie Ditchik, 93, still drives, plays tennis, sculpts and, perhaps his most impressive feat, begins a new chapter in his life as an author.

The father of three and grandfather of five served in the Navy during World War II and went on to run a costume jewelry business. Penning books was never part of his plan. Then he retired and his family suggested that he write the creative bedtime stories he had always imagined in his head.

“I had sent stories to various agents many years ago,” Bernie said. “I got absolutely no response.”

At his home in Island Park, Long Island, Bernie read us excerpts from “Grandpa Bernie’s Bedtime Stories,” his first book published after nearly a decade of trying to convince an agency to try his luck with him. Before that, he distributed copies of books that he re-bound himself.

Bernie’s granddaughter, Emily Mandel, has always been impressed with her tenacity.

“It’s so exciting, I mean we never thought this opportunity would come up for him. He just loved telling us stories our whole life,” Emily said. “So now for him to have his books published is an absolute dream come true and we are so proud of him.”

Bernie’s wife of 65 years, Faigie, said her husband never fails to amaze her.

“I’m proud of him because he’s having so much fun doing what he does,” Faigie said. “And he really likes to sit in that chair and write down whatever comes his way.”

The passionate author becomes moved when he talks about his writing. All of the characters are based on special people in her life.

“I wrote it so that more kids – I’m choking,” Bernie said. “More children could listen to my stories, read them, enjoy them. That’s why I wrote them.”

Bernie’s published book has 20 stories, but he has 40 more already written and ready to launch. He would like more books to be published, but he is grateful for the opportunity to continue writing.

Grover Z. Barnes

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