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Back to School in the fall meant getting a new, cute cotton plaid dress.  It would indicate that I knew summer was over but it was still warm enough to wear cotton.  My Mother called it a transitional piece of clothing.  Not unlike the short lived, but equally essential spring coat.  A pastel item, it still had weight to it, gave off some warmth, but was inappropriate and inadequate for winter.  Because the climate shifted quickly, I never got to wear it very often. It simply got too warm.   It quickly became too heavy!  However, if I were lucky, I could wear it to the Easter Parade, aka The Drag on Northampton Street on Easter Sunday.  Note the little lady of the left in this photo below.  She rocked a spring coat.

No one cared if I was Jewish at the Parade, sneaking in on a Christian holiday.    I just joined the fun. Even though it was still Passover, I’d sneak some Easter candy into my deprived mouth. The Drag had a long tradition in Holyoke.  My mother even bought me a corsage to wear.  Bless her heart.  I think she knew what it was to want that which wasn’t hers. Btw, is that a young and chubby  Butch Connors photobombing?

I’ve been thinking about transitions lately as I make my way into my eighties.  If you look carefully, transitions are happening constantly. Things are always morphing. C’est la vie.!

The grass turns green.

Babies grow up.

Kids go off to college.

Leaves fall off trees.

The days grow longer or shorter.

The cicadas start chirping.

A child learns to read and write.

A new child is added to a family.





Maybe these life transitions are more subtle than when you’re knees or hip starts to ache.  They sure are more interesting.  They’re often less painful.

The word transition is obviously built on the word transit, which I understand to mean going from one form to another.  Hair grows grayer, waist thickens,(what an awful description), weight gets added, pace slows…ok enough of that.  A transition can also mean a physical move; to a new school, a new house, a new place to live, a new political reality, to war or to peace, from confusion to clarity.



tran·​si·​tion | \ tran(t)-ˈsi-shən  tran-ˈzi-chiefly British tran(t)-ˈsi-zhən \
plural transitions

Essential Meaning of transition

a change from one state or condition to another We want to have a smooth transition when the new owners take control of the company.the sometimes difficult transition from childhood to adulthood.
Our nation has been going through many transitions recently.  It’s hard to keep up with, some days.  I think the most challenging is the pandemic and the implications and change it brings along with it.  I have nothing original or interesting to add to that discussion.
How comfortable am I with change?  It seems useless to fight it.  Can I teach myself to be more accepting of change?  I like the term grace.  Maybe I can acquire some.
For the time being, it is easier and a lot simpler to remember the little things that meant a lot to me as a child during life’s transitions..


I couldn’t wait to get my first pair of white sneakers in the spring.  As soon as the weather began to warm, I remember urging my mother to take me to Child’s.  That was the only children’s shoe store in my hometown.  There were really no major decisions to be made about what kind of sneaker.  There was only one kind and one color.  It was a Ked’s.  My walk had an extra bounce after acquiring new pair.  It felt as if my felt were on springs.  Getting them worn -in was a bit of a task.  It was uncool for them to be squeaky clean. This sneaker transition no longer exists, of course. Sneakers are in year round.  Just thinking, maybe I’ll go back and transition to a solid white pair next?

Who are my people?

When out and about, I find myself looking at others to decide if they’re my age.  This is done for no particular reason that I’ve been able to discern.   Usually I decided I’m the youngest.  I remember when college age kids suddenly looked very young to me.  It seemed to happen overnight.  I factor in  hair style, and dress in making my decision.

I’ve been something of a clothes horse most of my life, but have eliminated some of the flourishes I enjoyed when young.  No more ruffles, puffy sleeves or anything too tight!  NO revealing bodices or midriffs,  no bikinis.  I’ve transitioned to comfort only, thank you.  I try to avoid anything that smacks of matronly.  I simply have no interest in becoming Iris Arpfel.

The Future aka The Last Transition

The transitions will probably come faster now until they don’t.   I want to continue my life’s journey to the best of my ability.  I still have some control.  For example, an exercise routine done daily would be helpful.  When I look at obituaries and the ages people die, it’s usually in their 80’s.  So, the chances are, I’ll fall into that category, like it or not.  I don’t have a transitional dress or coat to wear,  but I know I’m transitioning. I’m grateful (a little) that I recognize it.  Can it call it conscious transitioning?

I want to make the most of the days I have left.  But there are days when just staying in bed seems like the right choice.  Recently not much seems inspiring. I want to get back to Japan, but still can’t go.  Hopefully restrictions will lift soon.

Is my lack of motivation me or the Covid Blues?

Maybe a little of each!

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.