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Reading with my Father

Helene Cohen Bludman’s father taught her to love the power of the written word and shaped her into the amazing writer that she is today! Read more from Helene on her blog

Reading with my Father: Father's Day tribute

Helen Cohen Bludman and her father.

My dad’s high school English teacher wrote the following on his yearbook cover:

To Irv,

 You have a future in journalism!

Miss Ludwig

Miss Ludwig was an excellent judge of talent but her prediction proved to be wrong, for my dad set his sights elsewhere. Fresh out of college and recently married, he had all the markings of an entrepreneur: ambition, drive, passion and an intuitive business sense. Maybe a touch of chutzpah as well. He borrowed a few thousand dollars to launch a manufacturing company that would be the first of many successful ventures over a long career.

As his business grew, he experienced both the rewards and challenges of being a sole proprietor. Clearly there were times of stress and disappointment as well as intense satisfaction. There were demands made on him, contracts to settle, conflicts to deal with.

All I knew, as his daughter, was that my daddy was the funniest and kindest man in the world, and when he came home in time for dinner every night he was all about us, his family. I don’t remember him ever working in the evenings or on weekends.

He was a doting, affectionate, hands-on dad, always.

But back to journalism.

So he didn’t become a professional journalist. His oeuvre is pretty much limited to the occasional letter he sent me at summer camp or a funny poem for one of my children. I have kept every one of them.

Like any gifted writer, my dad is a voracious reader, and we share an affinity for the well-crafted story. As I grew older, he introduced me to the works of John Updike and John O’Hara, two terrific authors who hailed from our little corner of Pennsylvania, and a third John, John Irving, whose writing and character development we found remarkable.

My dad enjoys sharing articles that he knows I will like. Recently he cut a story out of The Wall Street Journal about a girl who loved horses (I always have). If there is a thought-provoking article in this week’s The New Yorker we will discuss it. An opinion piece by one his favorite columnists in The New York Times can inspire a conversation.

My dad and I appreciate the beauty in many forms of art, and literature is one we almost always agree about. We can marvel over a cleverly strung phrase with as much gusto as we admire a painter’s canvas or a sculptor’s carving.

If I am my father’s daughter, it is because we can lose ourselves, and find ourselves, in great literature.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

We have always shared a love of reading.


Helene Cohen Bludman

Helene Cohen Bludman is a former journalist and marketing director now reinventing herself as a full-time writer. She writes about books, midlife issues, parenting and modern culture while working on a novel. Aside from her family, her beloved dog and cat are closest to her heart. Instagram: hbludman

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Doreen McGettigan

Friday 19th of June 2015

I love that picture it tells a beautiful story. Your story reminds me of my father in a lot of ways and brought up memories of him for me. He was such a supporter of my writing and we often talked for hours about different books or articles. Happy Fathers Day to your Dad!

Meg Root

Thursday 18th of June 2015

I loved that story--so refreshing today of all days. Connection, love, simple togetherness. Maybe that's what the world is missing. Thanks for sharing your memories. Very soothing to my soul.

Helene Cohen Bludman

Friday 19th of June 2015

I so appreciate your kind comment, Meg. Thank you!

Helene Cohen Bludman

Thursday 18th of June 2015

You and I both are so blessed to have extraordinary parents. I know you are as thankful for that as I am! xoxo

Cathy Chester

Thursday 18th of June 2015

We definitely led parallel-loving lives with our dad, Helene. Your story brought tears to my eyes (and I loved that adorable photo!) What a wonderful role model that continues today with his thoughtful ways to encourage, and now enhance, your love of reading. You definitely are your father's daughter!

Now if I could only understand Shakespeare as well as my dad who still recites verses by heart...

I loved your sweet story. Happy Father's Day to your dad!


Thursday 18th of June 2015

Your father sounds wonderful!

Helene Cohen Bludman

Thursday 18th of June 2015

Thank you, Pia. I am incredibly blessed.

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