Today, August 31, 2022 would have been the 118th birthday of my mother, Ruth Butterfield James English, born August 31, 1906. This morning I mentioned that to a friend, who then asked me how I planned to celebrate. I replied, “With a smile and by making applesauce.”

So I did just that, talking and laughing with Mother as I chopped, cooked, cranked, and canned, then cleaned all the big pots. We got 11 quarts, plus there was a tasty little dish of applesauce to top off a good morning and afternoon. I saved out one really nice apple to eat, visible on the counter.

I think of the gallons and gallons of applesauce Mother made over the years.

The only photo I have of Mother in a kitchen, where she spent hours at the sink and at the stove, is this one in 1953 in our then new cabin in Jackson, NH whose hand-hewn timbers came from an old shed in Topsfield, MA. By the frost on the window and the fact she is wearing boots and a sweater to stay warm, this must have been a time we were in Jackson to ski. And yes, that was an antique (1920’s or 1930’s) refrigerator, with a “bird cage” compressor on top that my parents found/bought somewhere.