Bernie Ditchik, who is a whopping 93 years old has always kept himself busy, but he never planned to become a children’s book author. In addition to writing his books, he likes to play tennis, sculpt, and he’s even still driving! Though he often came up with creative bedtime stories in his head, it took a while before he decided to start writing them down.
Bernie has three children and five grandchildren, to whom he always told his stories. And he has plenty of inspiration to draw from, having been in the Navy during World War II.
Following his deployment, he returned to his native Long Island and opened a costume jewelry business. Writing never figured as part of his future, but became a way to pass the time after retirement, which his family encouraged.
Bernie shared with Fox 5, “I had sent stories to various agents many years ago. I got absolutely no replies.” It took him nearly a decade to finally get an agent to sign onto his stories. His first book is titled, Grandpa Bernie’s Bedtime Stories, which he had previously printed and bound himself to share with friends and family.
Bernie’s granddaughter Emily said, “It’s so exciting, I mean we never thought that this opportunity would happen for him. He just enjoyed telling us stories for our whole lives. So now for him to have his books published is an absolute dream come true and we’re so proud of him.”
Speaking to Bernie’s wife, Faigie, who he’s been married to for 65 years, shared with the news, “I’m proud of him because he’s having so much fun doing what he’s doing. And he really enjoys sitting in that chair and just writing whatever comes to him.”
Bernie is deeply invested in his characters, all of whom were inspired by important people in his life. He can’t help but get emotional when he talks about his stories, of which only 20 have been published, but he has at least 40 more already written down.
“I wrote it so that more children – I’m getting choked up,” Bernie said. “More children could listen to my stories, read them, enjoy them. That’s why I wrote them.”