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Character Profiles > Cathy Alessi Elspeth Ballantyne

Catherine 'Cathy' Alessi 1992-1993
Lived: 22 Ramsay Street
Marital Status: Benito Alessi

Children: Lindsay, Marco and Rick
Family Tree: Alessi
Occupation: Daphne's Coffee Shop Owner/Manager, The Hungry Bite Cafe Owner/Manager

The daughter of Irish immigrants, Cathy Alessi and her childhood sweetheart Benito were married young after Cathy became pregnant and was forced into putting the child up for adoption by her staunchly Catholic parents. The couple went on to have two sons, Marco and Rick, but Cathy never forgave herself for giving her little girl away - especially since she and Benito had stayed together and married anyway.

When Benito's niece, Christina and her husband Paul Robinson left No. 22 Ramsay Street in the hands of Ben and Cathy, Cathy settled into life in the street remarkably well. She became a well known face in the community when she took over the Coffee Shop lease from Madge Bishop and employed pregnant Year 12 student, Phoebe Bright to help out, quickly taking the girl under her wing. Phoebe's situation made Cathy's regrets over giving her own baby away resurface, and prompted her to announce to Benito that she wanted them to try for another baby. Benito was initially against the idea, mainly due to the fact that he had had a vasectomy after Rick was born. But Ben knew how badly Cathy wanted another child, and agreed to have the vasectomy reversed. However, Cathy was devastated when the doctors told her she would be unable to carry another child to full term due to her age, and her hopes of having a little girl of her own were ruined. Phoebe went some way towards alleviating Cathy's pain, by asking her to be godmother to her baby, Hope, when she was born a few months later.

At the Coffee Shop, Cathy wowed customers with her secret spaghetti sauce recipe, a years old family ingredient that had been passed down to her from Mama Alessi in Italy. When a sauce manufacturer wanted Cathy to sell the ingredients to them so they could market the delicious sauce, she initially refused to consider the offer, not wanting the public to know Mama Alessi's secret ingredients. The manufacturer also wanted to add extra flavourings and preservatives, which Cathy was adamant would ruin the authentic Italian taste. But the money offered was too good to turn down, and Cathy ultimately agreed to the deal.

When Marco and Rick were told about the existence of an older sister, Marco - against Cathy and Benito's wishes - begun trying to track her down. After weeks of searching, Marco eventually caught up with Lindsay, and she agreed to meet her parents only under the condition that they didn't know who she was. So, Marco brought Lindsay to dinner one night at the Alessi house, and introduced her as a new friend. Benito and Cathy mistook her for a new girlfriend of Marco's, and they were horrified afterwards when Marco told them Lindsay was actually the daughter they had given up for adoption years earlier. Lindsey and Cathy eventually arranged to meet one afternoon at No. 22, where Lindsay upset her mother by announcing she wanted to get on with her life. But after Cathy presented Lindsay with a pair of knitted booties she had kept since her birth, Lindsay was softened by the gesture and she agreed to keep in touch.

When Benito was offered a top executive's job in Sydney, Cathy was keen on relocating to sunny Sydney, and left the Coffee Shop in the hands of Phoebe and her new husband, Stephen Gottlieb. The only part of leaving Erinsborough Cathy was uncomfortable with was Rick's decision to stay behind and work part-time at Lassiter's in return for a room in the staff quarters. Rick's girlfriend, Debbie Martin, was in Erinsborough, as were all his friends, and he was determined to stay. Although Cathy was upset at the idea, she understood Rick's reasons, and gave him her blessing. But just to be extra sure he would be okay, Cathy opened a secret savings account for Rick, and made him promise to keep it between the two of them for fear of incurring Benito's wrath.

When Phoebe and Stephen left Erinsborough, Rick took over the running of the Coffee Shop until Cathy visited to terminate the lease and hand the business over to Annalise Hartman. Cathy's primary reason for returning, however, was to seek alternative accommodation for Rick because she hated the idea of him living in the staff quarters. After failing in her attempts to convince Rick to come back to Sydney with her, Cathy arranged for Lou Carpenter to take Rick in, and Cathy was able to return to Sydney feeling more comfortable about Rick's living arrangements.

1732-1925, 1972-1973

Biography by Moe