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The Daily Post

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Looking for free, self-guided courses to help you get started with your blog (or revive…

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Summer with Ella in America

Goodbye Ella

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- As our time together with Ella winds down, I write this with deep sadness in my heart.

Today is Ella’s last day at the Early Fives summer program at St. Patrick’s School in Parnell. I went into my husband Ludek’s experiment with butterflies in my stomach.

“Ella will stay with us this summer and you will fly back with her to France,” Ludek said back in May.

“Wow, slow down I got to work,” I said surprised.

Ella will be going to the first grade in the wine village of Fixin in Burgundy, France after the summer break in the USA. In six years, we’ve seen her six times, when she came for brief visits with her mother Emma.

“That’s the price you pay for immigration,” I said to Ludek and my friends.

And that’s when Ludek came up with the idea of having Ella here to capture the time gone by over the years, as she was growing up.

It wasn’t just the ocean of time that separated us. It was all the little things that we missed. All the firsts that had gone by: the first steps, first words, first hugs, first laughs and first tears.

I’ve never imagined that I could miss someone else’s tears or laughs.

But, the reality is different.

“I will miss your laugh,” said former publisher Val at the Ionia Sentinel-Standard when I left the paper for good in 1993.

“How about her work,” snapped the editor also Val.

Ella has grown from the toddler that we took with us to the beach in South Haven back in 2011 to a smart and sassy girl with an artsy flair.

“Why do you get angry,” I asked her the other day in the car on the way back from school as the Queen rocked & rolled to full blast.

“Because sometimes you annoy me,” Ella said pouting.

“Really, so no more crepes or ice cream for you,” I said.

“No, sorry.”

We missed all the sorries, too.

“Sorry, grandpa,” Ella apologized after refusing to follow another one of Ludek’s orders.

However, time apart brings along appreciation, deeper love and understanding.

“I miss my mommy,” Ella cried one afternoon after school as she hugged Emma’s graduation picture hanging in the living room next to Mona Lisa.

“I am sure she misses you too,” I said.

“I want to be with her,” Ella continued.

“You will eventually,” I said trying to comfort her.

But, Ella was inconsolable. The persistent little girls cried hours into the night.

“Alright, you’re flying back with her to France tomorrow,” I said to Ludek.

 

The next day was a brand new day.

“Will I see my friends today?” Ella asked on our way to school with Queen blasting in the background. “Tell me one of your stories.”

And I started telling her the story of Scheherazade and the mean king, and the story of the guy with the expensive McLaren automobile who ran a red stop sign.

“Tell me the story about the bracelet and Jake’s wedding ring,” Ella demanded more storytelling.

Ella loves the music of Queen after a Picnic Pops concert at Cannonsburg in July.

“I am like Freddie Mercury, I want it all,” she laughs as we go back home.

Throughout these six weeks, I’ve learned several big lessons. I learned that stories are soothing and healing. I learned that food which reminds you of home is comforting. I learned that the jittery music of Queen can bring on the atmosphere of home. And that the school environment is good for kids.

So, whenever Ella got homesick, I made French crepes and opened a jar of “cornichons.” We call them dills, here in America.

And I spent a perfect day with Ella doing the “Back to School Shopping” rut that was so new to me. Finally, Ella got her ears pierced at the Piercing Pagoda at the mall.

And I told her my endless stories on demand.

I will keep telling them, until I can’t speak or write anymore.

Goodbye, my friend. It was brief, but it was. It really did happen that you were here in America.

I need to assure myself.

Note: Most of my relationship stories appear in the “Greenwich Meridian” (c) memoir, as well as ethnic and travel stories. I hope to finish the memoir for publication my Mother’s Day 2017.

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

In search of the Fallasburg past online

I’ve been increasingly using social media for my research online and for other work with clients like looking for guest speakers. Pinterest is a great research resource for collections of data. Social media continue to fascinate me for their outreach capacity.
The future “Past Online” will place the historical collections together. I feel my passion for history flourishing as it enters the technology sphere.

Fallasburg Today

Searching for the Fallasburg past online

By Emma Palova

Note: This is the second part of a story about a former Calvin College history intern Katelyn Bosch. Bosch completed her internship at the Lowell Area Historical Museum and the Fallasburg Historical Society this summer.

Bosch has laid a foundation for future organizing and computerizing of the FHS artifacts dating back to 1839 when John W. Fallass came to the site.

Fallasburg, MI -The internship has strengthened the bond between the two like-minded organizations, FHS and LAHM, while collectively taking part in preserving, and disseminating the knowledge of the local history, according to FHS president Ken Tamke.

Katelyn Bosch at Fallasburg. Calvin College intern Katelyn Bosch assisted Fallasburg with computerization of artifacts.

It is the hope that the project of cataloguing and digitalizing the FHS artifacts will continue through another internship.

“It’s been wonderful to experience the whole process of accessing the artifacts and to…

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Czechoslovak Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival celebrates Czech traditions

By Emma Palova

Bannister, MI- No matter how long I’ve lived in North America, I still sometimes miss my home country, the Czech Republic.

It’s hard to pin point what exactly am I missing? My whole family, except for daughter Emma Chavent, lives here in Michigan. Although, we don’t have family reunions, we often visit with each other. We all speak the Czech language including our youngest granddaughter Josephine Marie Palova. She was born in Kalamazoo in 2013 to American mother and to son Jake.

Czechoslovak Harvest Festival.
The Czech & Slovak dance group.

So, it isn’t just the language that I miss. Sometimes, I think it’s the food. But, that can’t be right, both my husband Ludek and I can cook any Czech meal. We usually cook Czech food on Sundays.

The perfect Czech Sunday meal are either schnitzels or pork, cabbage and dumplings.

Every August, we go to the Czechoslovak Harvest Festival held in Bannister, MI.  ZCBJ Lodge #225 in Bannister organizes the annual event.

We do this to remind ourselves, our kids and grandchildren of our Czech origins. French-born Ella Chavent enjoyed the festival for the first time. She has never seen the traditional Czech and Slovak festive costumes or the dances.

Czech festival in Bannister.
Czechoslovak Harvest Festival.

Ella marveled both at the dances and the music. She loved the full Czech fare that consisted of ham, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, dumplings, cabbage, cucumber salad and Czech desserts.

As in most countries, the food and the desserts are the pride of that particular nation. The ZCBJ Bannister lodge volunteers have cooked the delicious spread since 1976. Although somewhat modified, the food carries the Czech staples of dumplings, cabbage and cucumber salad.

The dance troop celebrated 40th anniversary under the leadership of Diane and Tom Bradley. Another group played the accordions, a common instrument for the Polka music.

Every year, I am flabbergasted by the dedication of the organizers to the Czech culture. Although, they are of Czech origin, most of them have never visited Czech or Slovak republics. Their meticulous research has brought them closer to the country located in the heart of Europe, thousands of miles away from the American shore.

Czech & Slovak dancers at the Harvest Festival in Bannister.
Czech & Slovak dances at Harvest Festival.

The dedication also shows in the compiled recipes in the Czech anniversary cookbooks. Most recipes are in memory of loved ones.

A Polka brass band accompanies the mass at the Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church. The dance troop also dances polka and other Czech dances.

What makes the Czechoslovak Harvest Festival even more special is the fact that such events are dying out in the old country as the older generation passes on.

“Lodge Michigan #225 has been fortunate to have members who willingly give of themselves, who live not in the past, but rather use the past to build for the future,” the festival program reads.

“Vitejte holka na Dozinky,” Tom Bradley greeted Ella in Czech.

I used to worry about the future of this Czech event that annually takes place in the middle nowhere, not close to Lansing and not close to Grand Rapids.

Since yesterday, I don’t worry anymore. I saw young blood everywhere; from the dancers to the accordion players. Among the visitors were a lot of young people, who probably have never seen anything like the traditional costumed dances.

The event closes with a dance for the public inside the ZCBJ Lodge. The lodge itself is a feast for the eyes. It has a traditional stage for the Polka band. Paintings from Czech history decorate the walls of the 1916 hall.

Thanks to all the volunteers for keeping the Czech tradition in Midwest alive.

The next Czechoslovak Harvest Festival in Bannister will be held on Aug. 6th, 2017.

For more information visit www.zcbjbannister.org or find them on Facebook.

You can also rent the hall for events. Contact Ann VanDeusen at 1-(989) 534-1862.

To join the Western Fraternal Life go to http://www.wflains.org

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Grandma Anna

Family members inspire memoir

This is the first post in a series about family relationships that have inspired me to write the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets West” (c)

Some time ago, I wrote the post “Two sisters still at war” about the friction between my mother Ella and her sister Anna aka Anyna. The derogatory version of the beautiful name refers to the relationship between the two aging sisters. Notice that the word Anyna is missing on the greeting card for Anna’s Day.

Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”  and Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” kindled my inquisitive mind  to further explore relationships and psychology.

Watch as I pick up on the tension between the two sisters. Check out the post at the following link:

Mom Ella & aunt Anna

Popular name brings back memories By Emma Palova EW Emma’s Writings Lowell, MI- As I was checking Facebook for messages, I came across a greeting card for Anna from the group Czechoslovak Friends o…

Source: Anna

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Anna

Popular name brings back memories

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- As I was checking Facebook for messages, I came across a greeting card for Anna from the group Czechoslovak Friends on Facebook. The greeting card wished well to all the girls and women who carry this beautiful name.

In the Czech calendar each day is dedicated to a certain name, known as “svatek” or saint’s day. July 26th is Anna’s day. The name Anna has a very special meaning to me. I write about it in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west.”©

Anna & Anna Drabkova
Front row from left to right: grandparents Anna & Joseph. Top row: Sisters Eliska and Anna.

Our family celebrated Anna’s day to honor three great women: Grandmother Anna Drabkova of Vizovice, aunt and godmother Anna Chudarkova of Zlin and paternal aunt Anna Tomankova of Otrokovice.

However, not everyone thought they were great.  But, time changes everything.

I spent all the summers with grandma Anna and my grandpa Joseph; first at their old dwelling “chalupa” near the river Lutoninka and later at their ranch no.111 on a hill.

Grandma Anna accompanied me to the first grade at the Vizovice Elementary School in mid 1960s. At the time my parents and brother Vas were in Sudan, Africa. Dad Vaclav Konecny was teaching physics & mathematics at the University of Khartoum.

Wallachian town Vizovice was a paradise during formative years for the future writer. My first memory goes back to Vizovice. I remember chasing after our neighbor farmer Vlada for whatever reason, as I fell on the crushed asphalt path leading to the river Lutoninka and the wheat fields.

I hurt my knee. A little trickle of blood came out of the scratched skin. I couldn’t get up and I desperately reached out to Vlada.

“Wait for me, wait for me,” I screamed.

Farmer Vlada kept on walking. I finally got up, turned around and ran back to the “chalupa.”

“Babiiiii, babii, I am hurt,” I whined.

“That’s nothing,” said grandpa Joseph without looking up from the sewing machine that he was just repairing.

“Look here,” I cried pointing at my first wound.

Anna bent down to me and patted me on the head and then on my hurt knee.

“Come on little one,” she soothed me.

Grandma Anna was the youngest of seven children. Some of them died prematurely. She was taking care of her two single brothers, farmers Frank and Joseph. The brothers owned the family field called “Hrabina” close to the famous plum brandy plant “Jelinek.”

The field was a fraction of what they used to own prior to the 1948 socialization of private businesses and farms.

Both grandparents spent endless hours working in the fields after work and on weekends. They worked at the local shoe factory Svedrup. Grandpa Joseph as the lead machine maintenance man.

Anna was a seamstress, who also worked at Svedrup until she got a heart attack.

That day, the family forgot to pick me up from kindergarten.

 

To be continued….

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Frail things

This is my take on the “Frail” one word prompt by the WordPress Daily Post.

Small frail things matter “Do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa By Emma Palova Lowell, MI- I have just found out that small things matter, that destiny  exists and that life …

Source: Frail things

EW This WordPress.com site is about Emma's Writings.

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