I am thrilled to announce that my daughter, Lisi Tesher, who has been a trusted friend of the Ellie Column for over a decade, will be joining me in sharing writing duties several times a week.
There’s a long tradition of families giving advice, established by famed syndicated columnists Ask Ann Landers (covered by original author’s Esther “Eppie” Lederer) and her twin sister, Dear Abby (Pauline Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren ).
Lisi is a natural to join me in this tradition. He is a committed, outgoing person who is loyal to friends of various backgrounds and interests, maintaining contact with them for many years. She has a positive, compassionate attitude to the problems of others and faces all personal challenges head-on.
Her empathy and ability to encourage people and offer helpful suggestions when they talk to her about their personal or relationship issues can reassure you that she is the right person to share this task with me.
She has been involved in this column for a long time, as the first pair of eyes on the final copy, which she edits and then sends to the editors of the Toronto Star. She follows up on all editorial matters and speaks regularly with Torstar Syndicate staff, providing the column to newspaper and digital readers across Canada.
She also seeks reader submissions to resources featured on my popular website, which she also manages.
Lisi and I sometimes have discussions regarding someone’s letter expressing despair, and I can see that she is instantly ready to shine a light through that darkness, with a fresh look at the writer’s problem.
And Lisi and I have worked together many times. We co-hosted a counseling hour several years ago on Canadian radio station CFRB, where we both answered callers’ questions in real time. Our responses had to be instant and Lisi was prompt, always respectful and caring, but never abrupt or dismissive. Lisi and I jointly gave a speech on relationship advice to a large audience of women in Chicago when Ellie’s column appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times and she joined me in other speaking engagements in Toronto.
His empathy and intention to encourage people are his own trademark.
Lisi is wife, mother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin; she is an important part of a united, diverse and caring family, and is also a loyal and trusted friend.
I have loved the opportunity the Star has given me to be a voice of advice and guidance in response to the tens of thousands of questions and concerns entrusted to me by so many of you who keep reading this column for nearly 20 years.
That’s why it’s so important for me to express my full confidence in Lisi — and that you can trust her voice and her ability to speak directly to readers.
Over the past few years of COVID, particularly during the spread of the virus, I’ve recognized that reader anxiety, stress, and isolation require more than the shrewd feedback from early celebrity syndicate advice givers (as in Landers’ gem, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!”). That was then.
The long history of newspaper advice columns and their editors – popularized in England, where they were dubbed “agony aunts”, although sometimes written by male editors – goes back to the late 1600s. writers who became so popular in America from the 1950s wrote under pseudonyms so that husbands would not be embarrassed because their wives were working. To imagine!
As for the lore, Lederer’s (aka Ann Landers) daughter, Margo Howard, wrote the Dear Prudence column for eight years. Phillips’ daughter (aka Dear Abby), Jeanne Phillips, continued her mother’s original advice column from 2002.
Now I’m so proud that Lisi is sharing a bigger role in the column, writing her own responses to the many regular readers of this article and curious new readers.
We will both appear separately, on different days of the week, online and in print, in the Toronto Star and on the Torstar Network, also syndicated in the many newspapers where you have read me.
Watch for Lisi’s first column on Monday, May 30.
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