A Letter from the Fried-Cassorla's - 2012
Dear family and friends,
This was a busy and happy year -- hope you had one too!
Benjamin married Priya!
After eight years of testing each other out, our Benjamin and Priya finally got hitched! It was a lovely ceremony, as maybe you can tell from the photos below. The marriage began with a wedding license obtained in L.A. Then there were parties for their friends in L.A. and Brooklyn. Nest, Martha and I sponsored a rehearsal dinner at a restaurant nearby. The stories told and slide shows shown in toasts were hilarious. Finally, we had the wedding ceremony and reception at the home of Priya's parents, Sara and Swami Swaminathan.
The ceremony was beautiful and mainly in the Hindu tradition, which included fruit, prayers, the throwing of flower petals and more. I was the "rabbi" for the occasion and offered two Hebrew wedding baruchas. My Mom, Betty, graced the reception by making one of her rare excursions from her home in Bellmore. She arrived in an ambulance with my brother Marshall and thoroughly enjoyed herself and even made some swell toasts.
Ben and Priya continued to live in Los Angeles, where he makes recording, performs at clubs and on national tours (The Belle Brigade and Clogs this year), and teaches guitar. His playing with Belle Brigade on Jimmy Kimmel Live was, as we like to say, epic! Here's a pic.
Sorry, but the dynamic video (which I loved) has since been removed from Youtube. An update: Ben and Priya are now enjoying their honeymoon in Japan!
Emma got her Masters!
After studying for four years, our Emma picked up her Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She has resigned from her job as a laboratory technician at the U of Penn and is working on getting a job in the environmental field. For her Masters' thesis, she researched and wrote a highly technical report on the effects of using methyl bromide on the environment. That's a chemical used to de-bug fruit arriving at ports.
If you're technically inclined, you may read her article here: http://www.eesolutions.net/health-and-safety/treating-imports-at-philadelphias-ports/
Here's some more news about our Emma! A few months ago, she received a "Geek Award" for her work on http://phillylovenotes.com Check it out, why dontcha! Martha selected Elfreth's Alley (see July 2012), the oldest continually lived-in street in the new world. My entry is under June 2012 (see it along the right edge.) I chose the Water Works area, which I find extraordinary. The article about Emma is here:
Also, she just got two internships. Both are important to her career.
One of her two new positions is with the Montgomery County Planning Commission, and she will even be doing some work here in Cheltenham! The other is with a Philly media organization, http://americancity.org , a web site, covering urban issues. They, along with her Masters. put her in line to be better qualified for an environmental job.
We're proud of our Ems!
Spouse sings swell (Martha's choir activities)
Martha's newest preoccupation is singing her curly blond head off. She attends voice lessons weekly in Germantown, where she studies with an instructor who is also a former high school classmate of Benjamin's. The choir has performed at local churches, including a mammoth cathedral in Germantown called St. Luke"s. I was struck by these loud, organ-controlled automated trumpets that are built into the walls there. And the singing was great, too! Martha even had a solo in Cailin's new work, Creation. It was only four notes long, but as Spencer Tracy once said of Katherine Hepburn, "It ain't much, but what there is is cherce." More recently, she sang with her choir in a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and really enjoyed it.
Worth noting is that Martha has also been working! Her psychology practice continues to go strong, at both her Abington and Center City Philly offices.
Mini-Vacations at Ocean City, NJ, Tanglewood, Jacobs Pillow, Robert Frost's Home, Schenectady & Keuka Lake
No Italy or Greece this year, sorry! Both of us enjoyed our one-week vacations. One of those was in Ocean City NJ, where we took a large apartment, and spent time at the beach with family visitors. Martha and I even tried out jet skiing.
On our New England swing... In Massachusetts, we attended a concert at Tanglewood . Then we ran off to Shaftsbury, Vermont to visit a farm and house once occupied by Robert Frost. Martha and I love his poems. Next, we saw our first dance performance at Jacob's Pillow. It's well-known as an international center of dance performance - and this was our first visit.
Robert Frost's home in Shaftsbury, VT
To learn more about our industrial heritage and to make our way westward, we stopped off at the Schenectady Museum and General Electric photo archives in Schenectady, New York. The Proctor Theater there was a grand old place, and witness to the first-ever public demonstration of television. This was followed with an uproarious and relaxing time (is this combo possible?) with Dan and Martha Ruffo in scenic Keuka Lake in central New York.
Betty celebrates her 90th
My Mom ate birthday cake with about 60 friends and relatives in our less-than-capacious ancestral home in Bellmore, Long Island, NY. It was a great occasion! We sang, told stories and cavorted - driving the frigid February air away for several hours. Thank you, all who came. You can see a video of this extravaganza at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4hV4dqKf0s
My Mom is in reasonably good health, with aches and pains of course. She welcomes visitors and phone calls from all who care about her, and these are legion. In fact, give her a ring now why don'tcha at 1-516-781-3590.
Me - (Albert) I continue teaching and writing!
This current school year 2012-2013, was perhaps my best ever as a teacher! It is my 7th year of teaching overall and my 5th at Edison-Fareira High School, in a Latino area of Philly. I am very fond of my students, and some of them even like my teaching! (definitely not all!) This year, I am teaching a Drama course, which includes: Acting, Improvisation, Playwriting, Musicals (Pygmalion and My Fair Lady now). My drama colleague and I will jointly develop units on Dance, History of Movies, and Opera. History of Theatre and even more! In History of Theatre so far, we have covered Greek & Roman, with Medieval coming up. Last school year, I enjoyed teaching my 10th Grade English students A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and much more. With my 11th graders, we enjoyed and The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the ever-durable The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
Also, we produced a great Literary Journal. If you'd like to see a copy, ask me.
I consider a major part of my job to teach young people how to be read and write with greater ease and creativity; to be responsible, and to enjoy a variety of cultural offerings. I am very fortunate to be teaching these amiable teenagers such an interesting and enjoyable course.
Playwriting and readings!
My playwriting has continued apace, with two readings of my play Florals and Nudes. This is a story about an artist who wants to paint portraits of his girlfriend. He is lured from that by a wealthy heiress who has grand plans for him as a creator of models for gigantic floral sculptures. I won't tell you how it turns out! If you'd like to read the script, shoot me an email. The readings are at these web addresses:
I was also fortunate to have professional actors and a talented director work on a public performance of two beach-themed plays,
My TriniDad, viewable at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z1N5msv-Nw&feature=relmfu ; and Sea Glass Ladies, viewable at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpggX6LQuPM
This was a wonderful experience... the director gave me great notes, which I used to make the play far more interesting and credible. The actors brought it to life, even as a reading. All of this took place at the Elkins Estate, a robber baron mansion bear our home. It was a "frabjous" way to start the summer!
Our Melrose Park Philosophy Club continues to ponder concepts such as happiness and knowledge (Bertrand Russell's ), The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - very readable and a book you can dip into anywhere and learn how to slough off life's outrages. Next up: An article on Consciousness from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a Stanford U. web site. Meetings are great fun, though longer readings are taxing during the school year. The camaraderie is at least half the pleasure of it. Our next meeting is on January 10th on the subject of Love. Interested? Drop my a line!
And the work of our Melrose Park Neighbors Association has been rewarding, providing a good way to build the neighborhood, fight over-development, beautify the hood and more. Our new leader is the remarkably energetic and bright spirit, Caryl Levin. Past president Andy Rudin has led us magnificently for several years. Thanks, Andy! I recommend building or joining a neighborhood association as a great way to connect and accomplish much.
That, in brief, was our year. Here are some favorites:
Faves of all Flaves
Oh, and Bailey says hi. She's 15 years old now, which makes here about 85 in human years (you use a multiplier of 5 for small dogs). She's losing her hair, alas, so no beauty shot this time. She also is a cancer survivor, having had a successful operation this year. And she still runs with me and licks my face while I rub her ears.
Well, that's it for now! Stay good and be as happy as you can possibly be!