My late dear friend Joanne, who was always with us for Thanksgiving, wouldn’t let anyone else supervise the mashed potatoes, back in the days when we had as many as 30 people, big and small, sitting for dinner. You weren’t allowed to cut the potatoes into small pieces to hurry the boiling along, because they would get watery, you had to cook them to her exacting standard of doneness, and you had to use old-fashioned mashers. I can still see her, hard at work, in the corner of our kitchen between the stove and sink.
My memory for numbers has always been good. I know the phone number at the house we lived in for most of my childhood. Just now, I discovered that it is a working number in the 631 area code. I rang up to see who would answer, but the call was “forwarded to an automatic voice message system” and the number was “not available.”