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Living in Kyoto

A Surprise Gift from Mom

By January 3, 20212 Comments

My Mom’s birthday was either Jan 2 or 3.  Not much of a difference, my grandparents  just didn’t keep really close tabs on birth dates in the early 1900’s  when they were six other children to raise.  Either date, I find myself thinking of her this time of year.

While in our kitchen this afternoon, I idly picked up a Japanese cookbook I haven’t opened in a long time.  I thumbed through it, back to front.  As I neared the front of the book, something dropped out of the book.  On 5 x 7 index cards were a group of recipes my mother had handwritten for me soon after I married. Over fifty seven years ago to be exact! I was startled.

There was her familiar written script.  I had misplaced the recipes long ago. I’d branched out too in my eating habits.  I’d given up hope of finding the recipes ever again.  What a surprise gift for me.  I have no memory of having placed them in the Japanese cookbook.  There was no logic behind it.  The recipe I recreated a few weeks ago when I had an abundance of apples in the fridge was there in original detail. She called it crustless apple pie and noted that it was my favorite.   I didn’t get the topping right.  Now I found out why.  Was she watching me try to recreate it???

This time, the recipes did not get stuck back in a cookbook.  I put the cards  in my desk drawer and thanked Mom for visiting on her birthday.Next time I attempt the crustless apple pie,she’ll be by my side.

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Elaine Nakashima says:

    Oh, Dianne, I loved reading this–made me smile inside and out. Such a special occasion, and I’m so glad you recorded it. Yes, I bet she was watching you recreate that recipe! xo

    • Dianne Vapnek says:

      LIfe can work its wonders, right? It certainly was a welcome find! HNY!