Category Archives: history

Rainbow over pretty town

I had to share this morning picture from our pretty little town of Lowell that nestles on the Flat and the Grand rivers in the northeast part of Kent County in Midwest Michigan.

In the forefront is the famous & inspiring Showboat idling on the Flat. It will be replaced with a replica in the near future.

I consider the Showboat a Penchant that crowns the town’s treasures waiting to be explored.

Come and visit with us this weekend for the Fallasburg village bazaar, Emma’s Book Signing event of Shifting Sands Short Stories and the Fallasburg Arts Festival.

All the action will take place three miles north of town @Fallasburg on Sept.16 and Sept.17 from 10 am to 5 pm. Just cross the romantic Covered Bridge into the 1850s pioneer village of Fallasburg founded by John W. Fallass.

You will be enchanted by the autumn ambiance of the village nestling on the banks of the shallow Flat River.

Emma’s Book Signing event at the one-room Fallasburg schoolhouse is from 1 pm to 4 pm on both days.

Pick up a copy of the book @Schuler Books in Grand Rapids on 28th Street and in Lansing or order on Amazon.

We will have desserts and cider.

Stop by to discover treasures, history, arts and great conversation.

For more info go to:

Fallasburg Today on http://fallasburgtoday.org or http://www.fallasburg.org

Schuler Books at http://www.schulerbooks.com

Fallasburg Arts Festival at http://www.lowellartsmi.org

Copyright (c)2017. Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

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Lake Michigan circle tour, part 1

Crossing Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger carferry as stories like waters Unfurl

By Emma Palova

Ludington, MI – We crossed Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger on Aug. 14 from Ludington to Manitowoc, WI. It was a four-hour long voyage across the 60 miles of calm waters, as we enjoyed the breeze and the sun in the lounge chairs on the bow of the ship.

By taking the car ferry, which is part of the U.S. 10 highway system across the Midwest, we sailed a piece of history. The Badger was officially designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in February 2016 by the Secretary of the Interior in recognition of the American transportation technology in the mid-twentieth century.

The designation is rare, making U.S. 10 one of only two U.S. highways with a ferry service connection.

We sailed aboard the 410-foot ship complete with a museum, gift shop, game & movie rooms and cafes. However, unlike the luxury cruise ships in the Caribbean, this vessel was built for transporting heavy railroad cars  across the lake in 1953.

Badger has two decks below for cars, tour buses and RVs and both were full to the aft of the ship. The upper and lower passenger decks were filled with tourists and families. However, it’s not usual for passengers to Inhabit one of only 24 staterooms.

Aboard the ship, I learned the sailing lingo like the “starboard” side is the right side of the ship, while the port side is the left side.

The trip saves approximately 300 miles of driving around the lake, while providing magnificent vistas of the dunes, the lighthouses and the glistening lake.

For me, the most relaxing was just listening to the waters splash against the ship, as the sun kissed my face. The other pastime was listening to people talk about their adventures from other boats and times, as we smoothly sailed forward to the shores of Wisconsin.

Nothing inspires me more than water, whether still or in motion, being in it, on it or around it. The next best thing to water for inspiration is history. The stories like the waters or sails Unfurlin front of me.

The Badger leaves a legacy as the last coal-fired, steam-powered passenger vessel operating in the United States. The ship continues a unique and vital maritime tradition. The crew of 50 makes every effort to celebrate the heritage on board to educate and entertain the passengers.

We smoothly sailed onward to our next adventure along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

For more info about the S.S. Badger go to http://www.ssbadger.com

Watch for next post….Pirates of Lake Superior

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

On the other side

Ask the author, Storyteller 2017

In this series following the release of the Shifting Sands Short Stories collection, I answer questions about the stories, characters, me and my writing career.

By Emma Palova

I’ve been on the other side of an interview only twice in my life. That is if I don’t count job interviews. As a reporter, I’ve interviewed thousands of people for newspaper and magazine stories over the years. I’ve always been very comfortable at asking questions, in person or over the phone.

The subject didn’t really matter, unless it was a personal issue of officials resigning under duress.

Recently, Tim McAllister  interviewed me for the local paper the Lowell Ledger about the Shifting Sands Short Stories book release. I wrote for the paper for many years as the lead reporter. The article “Ledger reporter pens book of short stories” came out on July 5.

It was a great interview that resulted in a great story. And I am grateful for that. Thank you.

An interview is like a Bridge  to a destination. A good interview is a firm bridge to a good story with a firm foundation. It is a lot like the physical structure that connects two places.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite bridges, and that is the Fallasburg Covered Bridge built in 1871. It has been connecting people with the Fallasburg pioneer village  for the last 146 years.

And because everything is connected, my book signing on July 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. will be held at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum. Everyone is invited into the historic setting, that well fits the premise of the short stories set in hometown Midwest America.

The only other time I was interviewed was when I became an USA citizen in 1999 in a naturalization ceremony at the Gerald Ford Museum, along with my daughter Doc Emma.

And now I have found out that I am equally comfortable on the other side of the interview. That is answering questions about my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories, me and my writing career.

I love the interaction with my followers, friends and family.

Just yesterday, I got this question:

“What is your favorite story in the book?” asked my daughter-in-law Maranda.

I love this question. I used to ask artists the same thing.

“What is your favorite painting?”

I use the analogy of releasing the book to releasing your child into the world, after he or she graduates. You nurture them or the book idea for years. Then you work it into a book, and release it to the world.

“You’re kind of sad, and it’s also a highly emotional situation that you did everything you could possibly do,” I said.

The entire world around the publication of the book is different from anything else. I had to write it down on a piece of paper:

“Don’t treat this like everything else you’ve done in life, because it’s different.”

The difference is mainly in the novelty and the complexity of the entire publication process from the inception of the idea to holding the actual book in your hands.

“I got shivers for you when we got your book in the mail,” said Maranda.

I couldn’t have said it better.

Thank you all for making this possible.

Ask the Author, Storyteller 2017 to be continued

The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Emma’s book signing in Lowell

Emma’s booksigning of Shifting Sands Short Stories  will be held in downtown Lowell on Oct.19 @Sweet Seasons Bakery & Cafe from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. during Girls Night Out.

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Come, bring your book and chat with the author about the egotistical characters like Rachel in Orange Nights or the math professor Martin Duggan in the Temptation of Martin Duggan.

“I am very excited about my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories which is gaining momentum on the market. ”

My book is now available at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids on 28th Street and in Lansing at the Eastwood Towne Center and the Meridian Mall.

Ask author Emma about her new book.

Everyone is invited to the book signing event in the historic Lowell downtown.

“History is one of my many passions that also fuels my fiction,” said Emma. “I’ve always been interested in history, as a kid. And then of course, I lived it with the Russian invasion of former Czechoslovakia.”

Watch for Emma’s newsletter filled with writing tips and excerpts from the book.

You can order the Shifting Sands Short Stories book on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

 

 

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

All about Big Birthdays

Big birthdays bring back memories of old “Czechoslovakian” birthing centers

Note: These are excerpts from my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” © 2017 Copyright Emma Palova about the Konecny family immigration saga spanning three generations.

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By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Big birthdays. We all have them. What is a big birthday? Do you remember your big birthdays, what did you do, where, with whom and what happened?

If you can answer the questions above, without looking at photos, it was a big birthday.

Today, on March 1st, our son Jakub Pala is celebrating his 30th birthday with the slogan:

“Got 30, Jake?”

“Yes, beers.”

He was born on a chilly damp Sunday morning in former Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia in 1987. So, says his birth certificate. Neither the city nor the country exist under those names. They are now, the city of Zlin, Czech Republic, which is part of the European Union.

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Doc Emma and Hotshot Jake in Paris, 2009

In 1987, the “Porodnice” or the birthing center was on the cutting edge with the “rooming in” accommodations for the newborns with their mothers. Before that, the babies were separated from their mothers, and the nurses brought out the babies to their mothers only for nursing. The babies were all changed, snug and clean. They were only crying because they were hungry.

Speaking ironically of the “bad communist” healthcare in former Czechoslovakia, we stayed in the hospital for a week, before we were released for home. The staff washed and folded the cloth diapers and newborn shirts in the traditional birthing centers.

I’ve had it both ways; traditional and “rooming-in.” Each was an experience to remember, as any mom can attest to that, in any country, and in any regime.
With the first baby “Doc Emma” born in April 1979, husband and daddy Ludek came to say hi to us under the windows of the “Porodnice” in Gottwaldow surrounded by pine trees.

Daddies and families were not allowed inside. Ludek had to give the flowers to the nurse, who set them in a vase on my bedside stand, along with a novel. I am trying to remember what I was reading back then. I could use it now on the “Goodreads” platform, for a book review. Just, kidding. However, I do think it was in that birthing room in 1979, that I decided I wanted to write for a living, to make other people happy.

I came home with “Doc Emma” on Easter weekend in 1979 to the smell of hot homemade chicken soup with dumplings that I will never forget, after the awful tomato gravies at the hospital.

Mom Ella made the soup, all worried about the new addition to the family house hold. We lived in a four-bedroom flat at the housing mega complex known as “Southern Slopes” or “Jizni Svahy” in Gottwaldov.

The “Southern Slopes” complex still exists and it’s growing. I witnessed that during my most recent visit to Czech Republic in January.

Eight years later, with the second baby, now regional distribution manager “Hotshot Jake,” daddy Ludek and “Doc Emma” came to say hi to the window of the “rooming-in” birthing center on the grounds of the Gottwaldov Hospital, still surrounded by pine trees.

“Oh, mom,” he’s ugly,” said “Doc Emma” throwing her big red hair around.

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Doc Em & Hotshot Jake in Caledonia

Yeah, “Hotshot Jake” wasn’t the best looking baby having the newborn jaundice, few hairs sticking out, screaming and kicking like crazy.

“Is he eating and when are you coming home,” Daddy Ludek, always practical, asked.

Ludek was all giddy, that we had a boy. He had visions of paying for a big drinking round at the pub “U Byka” aka “At the Bull” in his hometown of Stipa.

“Hopefully soon,” I answered.

The second delivery at the cutting edge “rooming in” birthing center, still in communist Gottwaldov, wasn’t as convenient as the one with “Doc Emma.”

There were seven mothers with their babies in one big room. That’s 14 bodies; I don’t think anyone had twins. We had the cribs with the infants by our beds. The nurses came in only to assist “as needed.” Whatever that means. In the morning, we all faced together the feared “rounds” known as visitation. In vain, we were hoping we would be released that same day.

If a baby was screaming loud enough that it kept awake the entire building, then the nurse would take the “culprit” with her to the nurses’ quarters somewhere down the hall, where it smelled of disinfectants.

If the babies slept after nursing, we folded the cloth diapers and the tiny shirts for newborns. We ate in the room whatever the hospital cooked for all patients. No, menu style here. I just remember, the horrid tomato soup or gravy, with the soggy dumplings sprawled all over the plate.

With the release from the “Porodnice” after a week-long drill of learning how to take care of the newborn, I breathed with relief stating:
“Never again.”

Today, from a distance of 30 plus years and 6,000 kilometers, I look back at that time in “Porodnice” in communist Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, with a smile on my face.

The “babies” have grown up into colorful characters, fashionable, cute “Doc Emma” who resides in France, and handsome “Hotshot Jake.”

They will soon be leaving with their spouses for a big 30th birthday trip, to Bali in Indonesia. The exotic trip comes as a compliment of the ever-generous “Doc Emma.”

In the meantime, we get to watch their extensions for continued joy.

Some of you know them. They bring joy to our lives. Say hi to them when you see them out and about.

Thank you for the beautiful tapestry, called life.

Love always,

Emma

Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Lowell artist inspires generations

IW Inspiring Women – Jan Y. Johnson

Longtime artist inspires generations embedded in Lowell area

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Note: The IW winter series, which leads up to the International Women’s Day on March 8, features women from all walks of life who continue to inspire others in our communities.

Inspiring women
Inspiring women

Their positions in the society are not measured by money or the accolades they receive, but by contributions to progress and well-being of all.

Nominate a woman who has inspired you for the series.

Lowell, MI – Artist Janet Y. Johnson, 86, is an icon. Together with artists late David Davis and current Kathleen Mooney, they have created an artistic legacy for generations embedded in the greater Lowell area.

Lowell artist Janet Johnson has created a legacy.
Lowell artist Janet Johnson has created a legacy.

Johnson has been a staple at the Flat River Gallery & Framing in downtown Lowell with countless exhibits of watercolor and acrylic paintings.

The gallery will celebrate its fourth anniversary with the “Let’s celebrate” event with champagne and chocolates on Feb. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Johnson recalls all the great years of exhibiting and painting in the Lowell area.

“They’re all realistic paintings,” said Johnson about her work.

Some of them go as far back as to the heydays of another icon, the Lowell Showboat on the Flat River in the 1950s.

“I used to sing on it, and then I painted it,” Johnson said during a recent interview at her home.

As we looked at the dark blue watercolor painting of the Showboat with strings of lights floating on the Flat River hanging in the detached studio, one could imagine the lively atmosphere on the deck.

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Iconic Lowell Showboat with windows into the past by Jan Y. Johnson

You could almost hear the voices singing:

“Here comes the Showboat.”

Circus elephants by artist Jan Johnson of Lowell.
Circus elephants by artist Jan Johnson of Lowell.

Johnson sold two paintings of the Showboat and bought one back when the owner stated, that the painting should stay in the Lowell area.

Johnson has lived in the Lowell area for 57 years.

Growing up on a farm in Alto, Johnson acquired a natural affinity to all animals.

Johnson studied animal drawing at the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL and graduated in 1951.

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Miller Circus at Lowell Fairgrounds, 2016

Prior to that, she studied at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, and worked as a publication designer for Amway in the 70s.

“It was a wonderful place to work,” she said.

Among her favorites are vivid paintings of exotic animals in circus settings.

Work in progress by Jan Johnson.
“A friend’s boat,” work in progress by Jan Johnson.

Johnson’s most recent watercolor painting is of the Miller Circus which performed in Lowell last August after the fair. She will hang the painting of the circus at the gallery for the new February show.

According to Johnson, the circus ringmaster at the Miller Circus was connected to  the Ringlings.

Johnson spent most of 2016 illustrating the children’s book  “Gertie Goose.”

“It’s a story about bullying,” said Johnson.

Pat Markle, former teacher of Hastings Schools, wrote the book. This was the third project for the author illustrator duo during the last decade.

The book is available at the Lowell Arts and at the Flat River galleries for $15.

“Gertie Goose” was published by J-Ad Graphics of Hastings in 2016.

“They do a good job,” said Johnson.

For more info on publishing go to www.http://www.j-adgraphics.com/

It is also available on Jan’s Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/janet.johnson.96742277

Johnson’s art will be at the ArtPrize 2017 from Sept. 20 through Oct. 8.

ArtPrize: https://www.artprize.org/jan-y-johnson

For more info on the Flat River Gallery go to: http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

info@flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this story or its photos may be reproduced without the written consent of author Emma Palova. @EmmaPalova

Lowell Showboat icon closes to public

Lowell Showboat closes to public

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – Looking from her chamber office window on a chilly January afternoon, executive director Liz Baker has a clear picture of the Lowell Showboat still decked out in its Christmas glory.

There’s the mailbox for letters to the Santa and the big sugar canes, garlands and Christmas figurines. The archway is decorated with pink garland.

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“The showboat is iconic,” Baker said. “It’s been a part of so many people’s lives.”

The fifth replica of a Mississippi steamboat, has served as the Lowell Area Chamber’s logo for the last 20 years, until the chamber adopted a new one.

In the official press release, city manager Mike Burns stated the need to close the Showboat to the public as of Jan. 4, 2017 for safety reasons.

“The Robert E. Lee’s long history and tradition in the community has made this a very difficult decision,” he said.

However, the committee “Rebuild the Lowell Showboat” has already been preparing to replace the Showboat with a new structure.

“We’ve been preparing for this,” Baker said. “There is going to be a new structure that will somewhat resemble the old Showboat.”

The committee expects to submit formal application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) by the end of the month.

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The new lower maintenance structure will sit on a platform dock to prevent rotting in water.

The current Showboat, although closed to the public, is not going anywhere.

“It will stand there until we’re ready to put the new structure out there,” Baker said. “The chamber will continue to maintain it.”

The Showboat has been an integral part of the Lowell community and its citizens. Over the last 85 years, it has served as the major venue for entertainment, and as a backdrop for the Sizzlin’ Summer concert series, the Riverwalk Festival and the Lowell Christmas festivities.

Santa posed with children for the last time on the Showboat during Christmas festivities in december of 2016.

“Things deteriorate,” said Baker, “our hope is to create a different structure with some of the old elements like the smoke stacks, and better use of space. It will serve the same purpose.”

According to Baker, the Showboat, owned by the city, has outlived similar venues.

“It is our shared belief that the current structure built in 1979 has served us well, it has outlived its expected lifespan,” said Burns.

The “Rebuild the Lowell Showboat” committee will be hosting an informational meeting on Jan. 19th at 7 p.m. at the city hall seeking input from the residents.

It is the hope of the committee, to have a new structiure in place in 2018.

“The Showboat is is iconic, but it is also our future,” said Baker.

Copyright © 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

In Retrospect 2016

Looking back at the second half of 2016

Note: This is the second post on the Daily Post theme “Retrospective” on https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/retrospective/

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- The second half of 2016 rocked and we rocked with it. We rocked the Milky Way as we elected the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump by the vote of the Electoral College.

We’ve seen stars rise, shine and fall; both on the human scene and in the sky. Most recently we marked the death of Carrie Fisher better known as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, the star of the 1952 “Singin’ in the Rain” musical died one day later.

They joined a string of deaths of famous personalities in 2016, starting with David Bowie in January and Prince in April.

We proudly watched the summer Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

We lived through nature’s wrath at us in tornadoes and fires, as we ran human stampedes in malls seeking deals after Christmas.

Finally, we were so disappointed after the much coveted “Hatchanimals” that didn’t hatch.

It was a year to remember, personally and nationally.

Things lost, things found in 2016

Summer breaks rediscovered 

In July, I rediscovered the magic of the summer break as our granddaughter Ella Chavent, 6, of Fixin’, France spent her first summer on our three-acre ranch in northeast Kent County.

Starting in July, every morning I took her to the St. Pat’s summer school in Parnell, MI so she can improve her English.

“Grandma, tell me one of your stories,” she asked.

During our brief ride, accompanied by the music of Queen, I told Ella about “that dude with the fancy Corvette,” who almost ran over a boy.

Together, we celebrated Christmas in July after I bought Santa and rocking horse ornaments at an estate sale in Fallasburg for quarter a piece.

“Who died?” I asked at the sales tent which featured lovely items like a black J. Marco Galleries dress with a perfume bottle pattern.

“Our sister did,” said the lady at the dress tent. “We miss her.”

We went to the Picnic Pops concert in Canonsburg to listen to the music of Queen. We beat the heat on the beach in South Haven and explored Ella’s first fairs: the Ionia Free Fair and the Kent County Youth Fair in Lowell.

We gardened and picked red currant to make currant pies, we bought tart cherries at H&W Farms in Belding and made tart preserves and syrup.

Ella went on her first field trips to local farms.

Motivated by Ella who was going to a catholic school, I returned back to church after a 10-year long sabbatical.

And a new journey has begun. I still have on the fridge Ella’s paper star with these words:

“You were made for greatness,” Pope Benedict.

August, Burgundy revisited

 Ella and I headed back to France in mid-August. I had her on a leash and she carried in her backpack a collection of stuffed animals.

“They are my tain tains,” Ella said passionately. I could only feel what tain tains mean.

“Grandma, hold on to me, I need you,” she said.

We held on together as we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris after a sleepless flight.

“Nice to meet you,” said a woman in a short skirt.

“Selene, this is mom,” Doc Emma introduced us. “Mom, this is our friend and au pair, Selene.”

Selene was the first of a colorful set of characters, I was to meet during my third stay in Burgundy.

From my studio on Rue Magniens in the peaceful wine village of Fixin’ I wrote about the “Climates” aka vineyards in the aftermath of the Bastille Day killings in Nice.

September, things new. .Podcast platform

 Upon my return from France, I dedicated my studio time to new accounts, such as the Americas Community Voices Network as we headed into the election.

It was a feverish time of exploring and discovering on both the WordPress and Podcast platforms.

The fall at the Pala ranch means preservation of pickles and tomatoes. Why? Because you have to answer to winter when she asks.
“What did you do in summer?” so goes the old Czech saying.

October, things old, things new

October delivered a bang in many different ways, on many different levels. My cousin Brona Pink of Stipa, maintenance manager for Zoo Lesna, visited the USA for the first time. He stayed at my parents’ Ella & Vaclav Konecny in Big Rapids.

Today, I wish we had spent more time together.

We also celebrated our wedding anniversaries, Ludek and mine, along with our son’s Jake & Maranda.

On Oct. 21, the Rockford Ambulance took me to the Metro Hospital on M-6 aka “Hotel.” I passed out from exhaustion and dehydration, and I started a new path to better health and wellness.

November ushers in president-elect Trump

 In spite of my better judgment, I voted for Mr. Donald Trump on Nov. 8th. As a lifelong Democrat I voted Republican for the first time. Doc Emma missed the election by one day.

“Good, at least she couldn’t vote for Trump ,” my mom Ella said angrily.

Tired of old Washington tactics, much like the rest of the nation, I was ready for a change.

A spiritual and physical change in everything.

I started with myself; I did a thorough inventory of my mind and my physical belongings.

I have fiction manuscripts collecting dust on the shelves in my studio. They’re good stories. I was the bad one.

I stopped the rut of yo-yo dieting and overeating. I cleaned the shelves of my pantry and threw out a lot of old things.

If perfection exists in this world, the family Thanksgiving 2016 was next to perfect. As a family we got together, we didn’t fight, nobody got drunk and we didn’t burn the turkey.

After the holiday, my parents left for their winter stay in Venice, Florida, as fires blazed in Kentucky and tornadoes whipped Alabama.

December whips and shakes

 Dec.7, 2016- On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I tied yellow ribbons of hope around our ranch.

On Dec. 7th, I  published the first installment of the 2016 IW Inspiring Women series featuring artist Linda Kropf Phillips of Lowell at https://emmapalova.com/2016/12/07

Dec. 8- I started marketing a brand new account for Costa Rica on ETravel & Food at https://etravelandfood.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/visit-jaco-costa-rica/

Dec. 10- Together with the Fallasburg Historical Society, we celebrated the biggest “Christmas at Fallasburg” party ever, thanks to the power of the social media.

“Thank you Mr. Zuckerberg, your Facebook helped me make the party a huge success.

No pun intended, but it was a party for the “history books.”

On Dec. 17, I passed the Czech Christmas baking tradition on to granddaughter Josephine Marie Palova, 3. She joins the gallery of the Palova bakers spanning generations of traditional Czech baking.

Yesterday on Dec 28, I mourned the loss of my doggie friend, Annie. Annie was the neighbor’s dog who filled in the gap after my dog Haryk died almost three years ago.

“We’re heartbroken,” our neighbor announced Annie’s death.

“I loved her like my own dog,” I responded in tears. “Goodbye, Annie.”

As we close on this year, and the red dogwood twigs in Christmas bouquets have new shoots, the yellow ribbons are still hanging around the house.

Dec. 29- Today is my brother Vas’ birthday. He has completed 55 trips around the Sun. May he enjoy many more.

“Happy birthday, Vas.”

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

END

2016 Retrospective Kaleidoscope

Looking back into the future

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – As I look back at 2016 like into a colorful kaleidoscope that keeps changing when I move it, I see a clear picture of the past.

I move it again, and I can see how the little pieces are transforming into the future, that is the upcoming year 2017.

Sometimes I shake that kaleidoscope violently, so that the picture changes into what I want it to be.

Well, it never is what I wanted it to be. Just like the molecules and atoms in space keep fusing and defusing, so do the events that these little pieces form not always to our liking.

And I have to quote Mr. Albert Einstein:

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

As in years previous, I looked deeper and deeper into what I saw around me. At times, experts call this,” being aware.”

Things lost, things found in 2016
Things lost, things found in 2016

Things lost and found in 2016, things old and new

On the last day of January in 2016, I rediscovered the power of the church in the christening of grandson Dominik Ludek Pala at St. Rose Catholic Church in Hastings, MI.

I had broken away from the church for many years. As I watched the christening rituals and both of my adult children, Emma & Jake, standing at the altar with the baby at the center of attention, I realized something big was happening inside and out.

My brother Vas was sitting in the first pew to the right, Dominik’s uncle, war veteran Tony was holding the baby, and my daughter Doc Emma Chavent flew in from Dijon, FR to be the Godmother to Dominik.

The power of church, 2016
The power of church, 2016

The church united us all together regardless beliefs, distance or occupation.

Things lost for 10 years: the church, but not faith

In February, I rediscovered Florida, that some people Up North lovingly call southern overrated “Hicksville,” either flooded by tourists or college kids on their spring break.

I’ve been going to Venice, FL for writer’s retreats since 2009. This time, our entire group led by Doc Emma went to Saint Petersburg. And I loved it. I loved St. Pete for its cosmopolitan feel, culture and secluded historical beaches.

Things lost:  St. Pete’s city pier that has been rebuilt many times was gone to make way for a new one.

In March, I observed my son Jake’s birthday too sick to go to Hastings. On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, I gave accolades to all the women who are making a difference in this world in my popular series on EW Emma’s Writings “Inspiring Women.”

Also my favorite feature post on March 19th is “Czech Name Days” honoring my grandpa Joseph along with millions of Josephs around the world.

Czech & Slovak Easter traditions
Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

We celebrated Easter on March 27, still without my parents Ella & Vaclav, who winter in Venice, FL.

I wasn’t even a CEO (Christmas, Easter, Only) visitor to church on that festive Easter Sunday, when most of the women wear white dresses.

However, I wrote about the age-old custom, the whipping of girls and women in “Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter Traditions” in Czech Republic. The post generated incredible controversy about being evil to women.

See post :https://wordpress.com/post/emmapalova.com/167550

Things lost: me

 April to me signifies spring, here in the North. I gave it salute in many different ways: April 8th, according to Czech calendar is Emma’s name day. Throughout the year, I write posts about Czech name days wondering why Hallmark has never jumped on this social occasion. Many countries around the world celebrate name days, not just Saint Patrick of Ireland.

My daughter Doc Emma was also born on that day in the old country Czechoslovakia.

Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL
Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL

Her birth certificate is now a historic document, a testament to the changing times in the former socialist country. It reads, born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. The Moravian city Gottwaldov no longer exists under that name. It took back on the old name from the capitalist times under the industrialist Bata, and that is Zlin.

It was also the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. I usually write the post “Earth Day” to honor Mother Nature. Locally, the sign by Wege/Wittenbach Environmental Center in Lowell best expresses my feelings at any time of the year, and especially now as we enter 2017:

“May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

 May is big, anyway you look at it. It’s “Mother’s Day” and the earth blossoms to honor all mothers. I celebrate my birthday on May 9th with my family and my friends. The annual get together on our three-acre ranch surrounded by lilacs in northeast Kent County is the highlight of my year.

Anna & Anna Drabkova
Greenwich Meridian memoir inspiration; the family Drabkova. Front row from left to right: grandparents Anna & Joseph.
Top row: Eliska and Anna.

May 9th also coincides with the “Czech national holiday” that celebrated the freeing of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945 when Soviet troops arrived in Prague.

The modern calendar changed it to May 8th when the Americans freed the beer city of Pilsner in western Bohemia.

I call the change in the date of the biggest Czech national holiday, a farce in history, depending on who you are currently serving. Actually, it is a little piece in that ever-changing kaleidoscope.

 Naturally, people critiqued me for using the real date of freedom for the Czech national holiday. For me it was a lot like changing the American Fourth of July Independence Day to let’s say July 3rd.

History, and the way we live it and change it to our own fancy, is an endless source of inspiration to me.

On May 13, 2016, I picked back up the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir which was the reason, why I started blogging in the first place in January of 2013.

Based on that, I published the post “Picking up the Pieces” on https://emmapalova.com/2016/05/13/picking-up-the-pieces/

 I call June the month of the Gemini and the Summer Solstice. I write about both in my posts. Three of my great friends are all Geminis. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or some kind of a card trick that I could use.

In June of 2016, I found a friend that I thought I had lost a long time ago. I found her in such a way that even a kaleidoscope couldn’t put a picture like that together. I am sure I will write about this in 2017.

Right now she is calling me for the fourth time, so I am wrapping up the first half of the year 2016.

Written also in response to the Daily Post Retrospective

Retrospective

The second half of 2016 will continue, stay tuned…..

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

White Christmas in Fallasburg pioneer village

Experience an old-fashioned white Christmas at Fallasburg tonight

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Fallasburg, MI- Come and chat with an old friend tonight during the annual vintage Christmas party. The topic will be “Christmases of the Past” at the historical village of Fallasburg.

Create some memories forever. Thank a volunteer from the Fallasburg Historical Society. They make things happen your round at the sleepy hamlet northeast of Lowell.

The FHS mission is to preserve Fallasburg history for future generations.

Visit Fallasburg tonight at 6 p.m. for a memorable white Christmas . Experience a white Christmas of the past inside the old 1867 Fallasburg one-r…

Source: White Christmas in Fallasburg pioneer village