CARL KASELL ' 56
brother Jackie Kasell, "and let's just say
Carl wasn't. He was very, very smart. Very ~
articulate and bookish."
That's why his second chance -
some might even say second career -
doing entertainment radio is so delight-
ful. Kasell also returned to his stage roots
about five years ago, performing in a
bimonthly live radio show called Radio
from Downtown in Easton, Md., put
together by Van Williamson, another
NPR producer. Other NPR staples such
as Susan Stamberg also perform in the
90-minute variety program that mixes
musical numbers with interviews and
dramatic skits. Tickets to the shows at the
400-seat Avalon Theater on the Eastern
Shore have become hard to get.
"He's having more fun now," said
Edwards, who as one ofKasell's closest
friends easily embarks on a tongue-in-
cheek, woe-is-me riff. "Here I'm still the
family guy in the 'burbs. The best I get
are dance recitals. I'm a little bit jealous. I
don't understand why he continues to
work. I guess he really enjoys the news-
casting. I mean, the guy is drawing Social
Security. I should hit him up for a loan.
We're talking mammoth discretionary
All kidding aside, Edwards and other
friends and family who know Kasell agreed
that the changes in his life of late - the
gig on Vlilit, Vlilit. .. , the community
theater, and his move from northern Virginia to downtown Washington - signal
a welcome new happiness after what had
been an agonizing patch of time.
(The thing I get a kick out
if is that) when you work
in radio) you never look
like the image listeners have
i f you in their minds.
They always think that
Bob Edwards would be older
than he is [54J) and that
I would be younger.)
A love lost, then joy found
Change comes in increments, and
bliss often is preceded by grief. Kasell
knows that well.
Kasell, one of four children born to
working-class parents and the only one of
his siblings to attend college, relishes his
roots. Until his mother died four years
ago, he often returned to visit her in
"Nobody made a banana pudding like
she did," said Carl. "Nobody."
But somebody did try. Clara Kasell
stood over her mother-in-Iaw's shoulder
and watched with the eyes of a
natural-born cook. She tried to match her. She
couldn't do it.
But she could cook circles around
everyone else. Edwards and other NPR
colleagues still seem to salivate when they
talk of the treats Carl's wife made - and
of her sweet manner, the way she always
had a cheerful word.
"It's a wonder Carl wasn't 400
pounds," said Edwards. "She was always
busy feeding us - cookies and cakes and
pies. She was old school. It had butter,
Kasell met Clara DeZorzi while sta-
tioned in Italy with the Army. She lived
in Padua, with a family larger than the
largest of Southern ones, full of warmth
and closeness. They met, fittingly, at a
restaurant. He visited every weekend, hit-
ting it off with his future mother-in-law.
And when it was time to go back to the
States, he asked Clara to come with him.
Nove mb er/ D ecember 2001