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Biographies

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The Autobiographies of Betty and Lou Cassorla, 1920 -1948,

 

 

Two beautiful people lived "worlds apart" in the 1920’s in New York. Their lives came together to form a beautiful marriage that lasts until this day. One of these, Betty Camhi, was a

Kastorli, a Sephardic Jew whose parents hailed from a town in Greece. The other, Louis Cassorla, was a Monastirli, meaning a Sephard from a town in Turkey.

Betty grew up with loving parents, Chaim and Mazalto. Her life with her brother Jack and her sisters was full of ambition, work and good times. Mazalto was a spark-plug of energy, dancing, cave (demitasse coffee), attendance at shul and observance of all of the Jewish traditions.

School life included excelling at typing and sports. But an evil teacher made her influence felt – the terror named Mrs. Kreegen. All of the school at PS 190 in Brooklyn was terrified of her. One day, Betty saved at a class-mate across the schoolyard. Mrs. Kreegen responded with a terrible action that left Betty needing medical attention. What did she do, and how did Betty’s Mom fight back? Read this autobiography for this wonderful story alone!

Meanwhile, Louis Cassorla was living under somewhat more prosperous conditions, but with an equally busy and loving family. The Cassorla’s moved quickly, studying, socializing, attending school and shul, opening factories, forming social clubs and more. Lou was part of the rough-and-tumble Lower East Side. His group of friends was tight.

In school, he was so handsome, he was known as "the Beau Brummel of Jefferson High School." Apparently Betty held that opinion, too. One day when Lou was visiting the Camhi household, preparing to go horseback riding with betty’s brother jack, Lou began teasing Betty. That was the start of a relationship that has lasted for 65 years as of this writing!

 

-- Albert Fried-Cassorla, September 3, 1999

Includes David Camhi Family Tree (oldest known generation); Mazalto Eli (Camhi) Family Tree; Chaim Camhi Family Tree; Betty and Lou Cassorla's family. (Note that the full Cassorla and Passo family Trees are covered separately in Lous Cassorla's section farther into the biography.)

Betty's Ancestors and her history Through Age 2. Where Betty's parents came from, how she lived on the Lower East Side, crises and more.

Living on the Lower East Side. Playing with brother Jack. Learning of her mother's diabetes. Being taught how to sew at age 6. ... Moving up the the luxury of steam heat in New Lots! Smashing through a window.... Dancing flapper girls.... Banging my head on a lock... Getting a new photograph.... Mazalto becomes "Meeldred"!... Sister Sally meets her future husband David Angel.

(1934-1944) Thrashed by the infamous teacher, Mrs. Kreegan....Mazalto fights for her daughter...Almost drowning in Woodside, NY... New Lots and Coney Island days...Uncle Joseph’s Crazy Dance... Shipwreck Kelly wants to date Mom, she declines, and he bends a fence!... First meeting Louis Cassorla, her future husband... Working for Natty Hore's Sportswear... Falling between the tracks....Sarika is born... Sarika dies...Grandmother Manah... Beautiful sister Esther... Sister Sally meets Dave Angel...Meeting the Cassorla family....Visiting Lou with his Mom, Sophie, at Fort Dix... Sewing and working in the early 1940's...Lou and Betty hug, 1942 (great shot!)...Caught smooching on the Army Base...

From his birth on the Lower East Side in 1920, through adventures with friends Callie, Moishe Copio, brothers and sisters Joe, Morris, Molly and Bessy... stealing plastic collar stays and selling them on the street... Getting their own winter coats stoeln and being scared to death about their parents' finding out... Adventures with teen-age girls in high school.... Meeting Betty Camhi... Horse riding with Betty's brother Jack...The day their Plymouth broke down in the Lincoln Tunnel...Army adventures, including the time when inexperienced radio engineer Lou was solely responsible for helping dozens of bombers land... and much more!

Betty and Lou's Joint Biographies, 1944 and Beyond: Getting married on a shoestring... The honeymoon in Woodbridge, New Jersey....Living in Charleston, NC at the air corps base... Betty enters a beauty contest on the base and nearly wins!...Encounters with officers... Dad befriends an Afro-American man whom he feels has not been treated well... Forklifting with Mom... Leaving Charleston...Working during the post-war years... Getting discharged... Returning to Brooklyn and 732 Alabama Avenue... Working as a salesman... Starting Casbro (Cassorla Brothers) Sportswear in the late 1940's...The birth of first son Albert in 1949 and more.

"A Traditional Passover -- With A Difference" is an article about my Mom's cooking and Sephardic traditions appeared in a local Long island weekly called Bellmore Life on April 19, 1967. Last updated (tweaked!) January 20, 2001.

Betty Cassorla's Sephardic Food Recipes!

This collection of memorabilia and recipes includes (page numbers):

1. an introductory letter from my Betty dated April 12, 2004

2. A sweet note from Louis Cassorla, her husband, to someone named Larry. It is written with style and enthusiasm!

3. photo of my Mom's kitchen, fully prepared

4. Betty presiding over the ingredients, ready to cook!

5-6.  Passover pastel de carne

7 - 8. Spinach Pie (Fritada)

9 - 10. Tadalikoos - Sephardic cookies

11 - 12. Borrekas background or history - desayuno, turnovers with varied fillings

13 - 14. Borrekas recipe

15. Boomwellos sweet honey, eggs and matzoh meal pastries

The Autobiographies of Elsie Maier and Stanley Fried, 1918 - 1945

I have had the great pleasure of interviewing Elsie and Stanley to create this biography. Although the idea of doing these biographies was mine, but they took to it like horse radish to gefilte fish, and it became fascinating fun. My goal was to have a lasting record of their interesting lives and great romance, one that we could pass on as a family treasure for generations.

If we have sufficient time, I would like to cover all of the remaining years that remain undescribed. Plus, I'd like to illustrate these works with the many beautiful photographs and other artifacts that enhance the story so much. Then, of course, there will be the video, the CD-ROM, and certainly the full-length feature film, and the collectible dolls. Don't laugh! These folks lived in interesting times. But… read and see for yourself.

Stan and I began work on his biography in March of 1990, and Elsie and I in November of the same year. To gather what you see here, covering just 25 or so years of their 82 or so on the planet, took at least 20 sittings and interviews with each person.

To Stanley and Elsie, thank you for trusting me with your thoughts and memories. Special thanks go to Emma Fried-Cassorla, who helped me with the editing. To the brother, sisters, nephews, nieces, friends and others who read this, I hope you enjoy this reacquaintance and perhaps different view of two wonderful people. I only apologize that this account of their is but the driest portrait of their rich lives.

Albert Fried-Cassorla's Autobiography

Born in Brooklyn, playing stickball, rooting for the Dodgers, moving to Bellmore, Long Island. Encountering the world of endless lawn-mowing, dirt bomb wars, and other unnatural experiences, W.C. Mepham High School, and more.

The unbelievably great experience of attending Harpur College, SUNY-Binghamton, Binghamton, NY. (A very brief account so far.)

This period in my life included moving to New York City, attending Columbia University, living in Greenwich Village and on the Upper West Side, meeting Louie Gzinterman, two years spent in Cambridge, MA; moving to Philadelphia, and the birth of our amazing twins!

My period at Roska Direct Marketing. Fun with colleagues. Cute pix of us cutting up!

Sophie and Avrahm Cassorla's Biographies

These are stories about my father's parents and their friends. Right now, this collection includes stories compiled by Adele Runyan (nee Baruch), my cousin. They tell of life among Separdic Jews of Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia, both in the old countries and here in te New York City area. Some of these stories go back as far as 1910. Thanks, Adele!

Some day I hope to supplement this with screen captures and transcripts of my 1979 one-hour bio film covering similar ground, called The Grandma Movie.

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