MAGNOLIA – In the fall of 1939, five friends, ‘The Boys of Magnolia” gathered for a picture on the corner of Main St. in Magnolia.
The photo consisted of two sets of brothers and a close friend, Tony Tozzi, Daniel (Chappy) Cascioli, Mike Costello, Mike Tozzi and Lawrence Cascioli. The photograph was taken shortly before each of them was sent off to fight in World War II.
In the fall of 2017, another five men, all relatives of “the Boys of Magnolia” gathered at the same corner of Main St. in Magnolia, to pose for the recreation of a picture their ancestors had taken in 1939. The weather threatened to ruin the long awaited photo opportunity, but the rain subsided just long enough to capture the picture, with the men in similar attire and stance as their grandfathers and great uncles had done almost 80 years ago.
Rich Cascioli, 90, brother of Chappy and Lawrence recalled, “The photograph was taken shortly after Chappy graduated high school in 1939” and, within two years, all five men in the photograph went off to war.
Chappy never saw action, but Lawrence had to jump from a burning airplane after being shot down by the Germans. He was captured and sent to Stalag 17 as a German prisoner of war.
Tony Tozzi was an Army Tech Sergeant for the Army Corp Engineers and was present when an Australian soldier fell into the Padas River. Tony saved the soldier from drowning and received a Soldiers Medal.
Mike Tozzi was also a prisoner of war. Rich recalled a memory of Mike that made him laugh, “While a prisoner, the Germans took all of Mike’s possessions….all but one…..his watch. Mike had it hidden in his hair! His hair was so thick and curly the Germans didn’t see it. He came back from the war with that watch!”
Mike Costello was also active in the war and was walking into headquarters to be informed he was getting sent to India. As fate would have it, Mike Tozzi was walking out of the same building. They hugged and reunited and then continued on with their military orders.
As the years went on, all three families remained close. Mike Costello and Chappy Cascioli both had daughters, Debbie Costello Remark (mother of Bart Remark) and Rita Cascioli Zwick. They became best friends and were maids-of-honor in each other’s wedding. Josh Zwick, son of Rita Zwick, grandson of Chappy and great nephew of Lawrence, has worked and helped at the Tozzi’s restaurant for nearly 30 years and currently helps at the restaurant at Tozzi’s on 12th in Canton, as does Rita.
Michael Tozzi III and Jordan Tozzi are brothers, as were Mike and Tony Tozzi in the original photo. Michael and Jordan are both grandsons of Mike Tozzi, great nephews of Mike Costello and Tony Tozzi and cousins with Bart Remark. Bart Remark is grandson of Mike Costello.
Michael Mayle, grandson of Lawrence Cascioli, great nephew of Chappy and cousin of Josh Zwick, was quick to accept an invitation to be part of the recreated image and drove 2 1/2 hours for the 15-minute photo shoot by Wise Capture (granddaughter of Chappy Cascioli).
“It is AMAZING how everyone still has a connection with each other in the photo, even after all these years” commented Chris Costello Tozzi, daughter-in-law of Mike Tozzi Sr., niece of Mike Costello, wife of Michael Tozzi Jr., mother of Michael and Jordan Tozzi and now owners of Tozzi’s on 12th in Canton. “It is so remarkable to me that we were able to recreate this photo from 79 years ago with four grandsons and a great nephew.”
“So in the end, it comes down to this; the friendship, families and love of legacy of these “10” fine men will remain and never be forgotten!” she said.