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My neighborhood is not the same. The delicatessen on the corner is now a commercial film processor, the grocery store has disappeared in favor of a marine supply house, while the gift and card shop across from it has become a fajita grill. The only stability seems to be in the liquor store -- which has expanded -- and the drugstore that now has weekly specials on canned foods, towels and mixing bowls.

Change is inevitable, I suppose, but I sometimes wonder if it is for the best. The other day I met the most handsome man, who greeted me as if he knew me. He did. He went to school with one of my daughters in the third to fifth grades.

There are no longer children in the neighborhood -- except for the daughter of a friend's daughter, who bought a house next door. Most of my neighbors appear to be graying.

The biggest changes are those that impinge on everyday doings from outside. My spending money comes from ATMs, where I have to remember a four-digit number or it refuses to give me my funds. Access is the prevailing term. Typewriters have memories now, computers have menus and updated programs. To survive in the work world one has to learn an ever expanding technology.

Even leisure activities call for a knowledge of remote controls, programming buttons and, yes, the "accessing" of music, movies and cable programs.

Everything around me is changing. I look in the mirror and still see me underneath the changes. Or perhaps I just see a memory. Around me, everything is evolving, challenging me with demands for new knowledge. It is bewildering and exciting. It is disturbing, and awesome. It will not let me sit still and grow old. But then, what was it they used to say? One either grows or stagnates, and the end of stagnation is death. I give humble thanks for the changes.

DIANE C. PROCHOWNIK lives in Buffalo.

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