A Letter from the Fried-Cassorla's -- 2010


Father's Day, June, 2010

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Dear family and friends,

We hope you're having a beautiful end of 2010 and are launching yourself into a even better 2011.

Martha and are happy where we are today… in sunny St. Lucia.  But I must tell you about an unhappy event…




Stanley Fried’s passing

Martha’s dad, Stanley Fried, died on May 3rd of this year.  He had been doing fairly well at Cadbury retirement center, although he had been weak and was in the nursing home part.  But why dwell on his last months? 

Stanley had accomplished so much in his life… having served as a navy officer during WW II, raised three lovely girls and launched them with his bright beautiful wife Elsie, into successful adulthood.  He was intelligent, very witty, extremely compassionate, and a terrible but lusty singer.  He volunteered to help the mentally ill at Pilgrim State Hospital.  Later he made a nuisance of himself as a member of the Board of Visitors at Pilgrim State Hospital on Long Island.  So much of a bête noire was he to the doctors, that they leaned on state legislators to have him removed.  He was pressing too much to change habits that left resident dying unnecessarily… and that was a drag.

In another capacity as a fierce defender of the public interest, he was the navy’s chief negotiator with Grumman Aircraft in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This was at a time when they were building fighter jets and demanding huge sums for cost overruns.  Stanley was even physically threatened during that period.  But he had a fierce sense of what was right, and, might have said, a la Tom Petty: “And I won’t back down!”


Simply… we miss Stanley a lot.





Emma continues to work in bioscience at the University of Pennsylvania.  She was recently promoted to research assistant from lab technician.  Her work still involves exploring the olfactory nervous system (grown to be bio-luminescent) of zebra fish, and other projects. Her next plan is to study geographical computer mapping at U. of Penn, a field she finds especially interesting.  She continues to pursue her art, and I am including a recent sample below!


A Philadelphia cityscape by Emma Fried-Cassorla

Ever the traveler, she has been to Oregon to visit her friend Marcia.  We get to see a lot of Emma, though never enough!  She lives in a cool downtown apartment in Center City Philly, where she discovers unusual things to do, such as visiting a one-hour midnight market in the Italian market, or Serbian dancing.





No new languages for Martha this year!  Pour quoi? I hear you asking. She instead studied the history of Christianity at Temple U., and learned about St. Paul, St. Augustine, and such.  This was all just to fill in gaps in her knowledge about an important religion.

Martha continues working as a clinical psychologist in private practice, having hours both in Jenkintown, near where we live, and downtown in an office on Rittenhouse Square.

 Martha loved our trip to Greece this past summer, especially seeing the Parthenon. (More on that soon.)





My mom, Betty

My mom, Betty Cassorla, is the last remaining grandparent of the four our children had. She is reasonably happy and doing well for a lady of 88 living alone.  This year, brother Marshall moved out to be with his long-term girlfriend, Christina, in New Hyde Park, Queens. 

Betty enjoys talking with friends on the phone, hearing from her children and grandchildren, watching Turner Classic Movies, and watching The View and Oprah.  She also reads as much as she can, although holding books and even newspaper has become harder, given the pain in her arms from arthritis.  Her outlook is generally buoyant, though!

Plus, she has become a Youtube star!  Check out her seven intriguing stories by searching on that site for “Betty Cassorla.”  Here's a link to one of the best of the seven, "Uncle Yusef's Crazy Dance."




Albert  (moi!)

I’m enjoying teaching in this, my fifth year.  This year, I am teaching English to students in 10th through 12th grade at Edison-Fareira High School in North Philadelphia. We have a new principal who is doing her best to improve the school in many ways.

Many of my students have challenges, and I like finding ways to interest and motivate them.  Although I no longer teach Theater, I can and do use theatrical strategies, including improvisations where appropriate.  They add spice and interest to the lessons!  We’re about to embark on a poetry unit, and I’m looking forward to enriching the curriculum with exciting favorite poems.





Scene from Truthseekers of Rittenhouse Square.  Zeus seems to have good advice for Daniel, but Aphrodite isn't buying it! 



Making movies: This past summer, I wrote and directed a 13-minute film called Truthseekers of Rittenhouse Square. It’s about Greek gods Zeus and Aphrodite coming down to earth to give advice to teenagers in the park. This was tremendous fun to make. I did it with the help of very talented actors, including a student of mine, Karina Melendez.  People who have seen it say they enjoy the film. So if you like, check it out (in 3 parts) by going to Youtube and typing in that exact title or my handle, playwrightguy.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet poem-video, see my very silly Ode to Fall at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzJuEo9G_hA




Working on other projects… I continue to work on my novel, The Last Foolish Man.  This past summer and occasionally since then, I’ve received helpful guidance from the wise and insightful James Rahn of Rittenhouse Writers Group.

My newest short story! – Care to read a fantastical tale about a squabbling couple?Then you might enjoy “Yellow Jello.”   Read it in pdf form at:


My friend and fellow writer Ed Shockley and I have been working on a movie script tentatively titled: The Art of Fine Art. This has been a great creative process, and I hope to see it produced this year.  Ed is a talented guy, and he deserves to be better known. Check him out at http://edshockley.com/



Philosophy Club – Our little club continues to be a source of great company… and maybe some shared wisdom, or at least curiosity!  Our readings are usually not too challenging…enough to squeeze into our busy work weeks. This year, we met about 6 times.  For one meeting we did read The Way of Zen by Alan Watts, a good oldie that I’d somehow missed. Our group meets at a member’s home.

We six philosophers agree that Yoshi provides the best treats, and usually the best insights too.  Our next reading will be on the branches of philosophy, just a 20-page recap. Everyone seems to have a unique role: Tom Petersen keeps us hewing to the actual text; Tom Steigerwald gives us historical and artistic insights; Ray Haupt factors in the relationship of the material to science; Joe Bowers specializes in witticisms, and I help plan.  Our readings and camaraderie keep us going in equal portions. If you'd like to be on our e-mailing list, let me know!


Melrose Park Neighbors Association – This is an organization that a few of us have kept going and which has done quite a bit in, what I’d guess is now 15 years!  A few months ago, we had a good meeting at our local library in which neighbors aired concerns and we heard from the Cheltenham Police about strides they’ve been making in crime prevention. It was sort of like a classic Norman Rockwell-depicted New England Town Meeting.



Kenny and Marshall

Middle brother Kenny continues to enjoy his family life in Santa Cruz, where he lives with wife Jeanette and sons Nathan and Tommy. They have a beautiful hilltop home, complete with a hot tub, Jacuzzi, dogs and an iguana or a snake, depending on the year – and they welcome guests!  Nate actually just moved out to be a ski instructor at Lake Tahoe, so that seems to be a major shift.

Marshall is winding down his eBay business and is finding other ways to be creatively busy. Plus, he often visits my mom to take her to keep her company, taker her to doctors, and do chores.  Thanks, Marsh!



In Oia, Santorini, overlooking the caldera


Trip to Greece

Our journey to Greece this past June was broadening and very exciting! Since I have already created a large web site on our trip, I’ll keep it short here.  If you want details, including pix and videos, visit:


I learned so much and kept studying Greek history long after our return. I like to share photos of my trip with my students, and they are very interested.

We highly recommend such a trip if you have any interest in Greece, its history or culture.  As I mentioned, the Parthenon was inexplicably beautiful… as was so much else.  Santorini and the town of Oia are just gorgeous. 




Trip to St. Lucia, December 25 – 30th

St. Lucia is a magical isle just below Martinique and above St. Vincent.  As I said earlier, we’re here now as I write (or were when I started this epic epistle!). 

Look for a different email with a link to a new St. Lucia page I’m building.  If you’d like to make the trip, we also have helpful materials to lend you.



Other journeys…

We enjoyed an outing to LA to see Benny and Priya, and also to attend Ethan Zakarin’s joyous Bar Mitzvah. There we reconnected with our college-era friend Gary Weiner, who is a fabulous story-teller and charmer.

Mark Zakarin and family also visited us earlier in the year, and we had a fab time showing them around our Philly attractions. What a beautiful, loving family!

Trip to New England.  Attended the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont (overrated, too hot and crowded) and visited our Connecticut friend, Doug Burke.


More Great Times with friends and family….

 (Warning: You probably won’t know these people, but that won’t stop me!) A new tradition in the making is spending Manhattan weekends with Dan and Martha Ruffo, seeing Broadway shows like Next to Normal this past spring and Fela! in the fall….


I continue to run with my great and attentive friend Dick Goldberg, though not as often as I'd like. He was honored this year for his outstanding work on second careers and later-in-life achievements in a great event at Philly’s Kimmel Center.

 Also had good times with Jeannie and Gail and the Mineola HS gang in New York, with Chris and Ellen Hill at the Yo-Yo Ma outdoor concert at the Mann this summer, and soon with Roger and Charlene in Rehoboth Beach and soon again in NYC.  End of summer brought good times in Thurmont, Maryland with the Fried-Petersens (F-P’s) and Whelans and more, including crawfish-catching in the Catoctin mountains.

Two quick movie recommendations 4-U, neither very recent.  Loved 500 Days of Summer and City Island.






And this past Thanksgiving, the F-Ps joined us for turkey and an amazing magic show by nephew Jesse, aka, The Obelisk.  Catch his act at:





And I hope we will soon see you, too! Do let us know, in whatever way -- how you’re doing and what’s up!



Albert, Martha, and family!

7408 Woodlawn Avenue, Melrose Park PA 19027
e-mail: albert@fried-cas.com
Poems, movie reviews, biographies, photography, plays and more are at:
phone: 215-635-5189