Last September I went out to Provincetown, MA to shoot 96 year old Ruth O’Donnell for Yankee Magazine. She lives right in the heart of PTown, where she has spent her entire life. The story was about her cooking, and in particular her Portuguese Kale soup. At one point we needed some bread for the shot so we went to the market. She insisted on driving and expertly wheeled her Honda dodging tourists on bikes and foot. Back at her house about 10 minutes later we found two of her neighbors sitting at the kitchen table eating the freshly made Kale soup. She has an open door policy with her neighbors who I think were there in part to be sure I had no ill intentions. With satisfied bellies and reassurance that I was just there to take pictures they left us to finish up.

When I’m 96 I hope to be as full of life as Mrs O’Donnell, still driving, cooking and hanging out with caring neighbors. These are a few out takes from the shoot. The online version of the story is here.

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8 Responses to Mrs O’Donnell of Provincetown

  1. Jane Shauck says:

    These are beautiful!

  2. claire albert says:

    THis article so remiinded me of my friend Mary who tried to tell me how to make kale soup,,,She was Portugese and knew it just as Ruth did…I put too much kale in and ended up with a pot of green….I’ll try this one and know I won’t make the same mistake again…thanks

  3. Jane-Burnett (Francis) D'Onofrio says:

    I am from Provincetown, and I am sure my mother knew her well. My mom would be 92 this April if she were still with us. I use the same recipe as she does and I love it still. So nice to see this all. Wish I could communicate with her/her family. I have lost all my contaxcts in P’Towm. My heart is warmed. Jane D’Onofrio

  4. Eileen Pereira says:

    This story about the Kale Soup and Flippers brought back memories of my grandmother Mary Estelle Feno. She would make the dough to bake bread and leave some to make the flippers. THEY WERE TO DIE FOR !!! NICE STORY RUTH, GOD BLESS ………….

  5. nanci bee bop says:

    I lived upstairs for so many years–I grew into an adult under Ruth’s eye. Kale soup & Flippers were a metaphor for all the advice I would need to go through life.

    –AND, stay out of trouble!

  6. spankyd says:

    jane d’onofrio, i’m a townie as well…what was ur maiden name? mine was roda, my dad was a mailman, grampa a fisherman.

  7. [...] portraits of the vibrant 96-year-old by Julie Bidwell, who described the photo session on her blog, Jewels: Photography and Life. “At one point we needed some bread for the shot, so we went to the market. She insisted on [...]

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