Fallasburg Historical Society president Ken Tamke shares memories of the oldest and one of the founding members of the FHS.
According to the obituary, Edwin Roth still cut his own wood at 95. He was second generation Swiss, and proud of his ancestry. He never missed an FHS event, and attended the Tri-River Historical Museum network monthly meetings.
Frank Brechbiel gave him rides to meetings.
“It’s the least I can do,” he said last summer in Clarksville.
Mr. Roth’s secret to long life
“To say Ed lived life to the fullest would be a vast understatement. His spirit will of course live on, his legacy, one of many, Fallasburg village today.
“I believe we all marveled at his longevity in our individual quests to find the fountain of youth. Ed’s answer was simple, eat right, live clean, and another nugget he shared with me last Christmas with a large smile, “Don’t go to Doctors”! That was Ed.”
Excerpt from FHS President’s message on the passing of Mr. Edwin Christian Roth on March 8,2018.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
This is one of my most popular posts.; back by demand
Happy May Day
May 1st traditions in Czech Republic & around the world
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – Every year, I observe May 1st as May Day in the renaissance Czech tradition with warm memories of the socialist past. If I close my eyes, I can still see the parades, the tribunes and the socialist propaganda with the slogans and the banners on the backdrop of the blossoming lilacs. The socialist patriotic hymns were blasting from the loudspeakers.
May Day pole tied with ribbons signifies love and spring.
May Day pole with ribbons in Bannister, Michigan
Today, Czech Republic still celebrates May 1, as an official holiday with a day off to commemorate the union manifestations in Chicago in 1884. Only this time around, without the parades or the slogans.
But most of all, May Day, was a great day off known for its official opening of the beer gardens, and the infamous “march of the thieves.”
May Day in Czech Republic.
The photo was taken at Larkin’s Restaurant in Lowell, MI.
The organized labor from the factories marched in the parades, while some individuals used the opportunity to steal from the gated factories because of less supervision. Therein the name “march of the thieves.”
First and foremost, May is the month of love, not just labor.
And I write about all this in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” with a light heart and a smile on my face with a touch of nostalgia.
I admire the old Czech country for being able to keep both the old socialist holidays, take on new ones, and tamper with the most important holiday of all that is the liberation of the country from the Nazi occupation in 1945.
New politicians with new agendas changed the date of the liberation of former Czechoslovakia from May 9th to May 8th based on the controversy who really liberated the country, whether it was the Soviets or the Americans. The question at hand; who was the first and where?
Having lived in many countries around the world, our family always honored the holidays of that particular country, otherwise we would have time off all the time.
Looking at my calendar last week for a summary, I found amusing that Canada also has Easter Monday off as an official holiday, just like the Czech Republic.
However, any holiday can take root in any country as I have witnessed in my hometown of Vizovice.
I remember our neighbor bus driver Mr. Hlavenka in Vizovice, used to celebrate Fourth of July by taking the day off in the old socialist era.
I’ve always wondered, how did he know about Independence Day with all the propaganda against American capitalism.
But, May 1st has deep agricultural connotations as well. People gather wildflowers and crown a May king and queen, weave floral garlands, and set up a maypole.
They also have bonfires to encourage the fertility of the land and animals in the coming year.
It is fascinating how different traditions and believes take roots in different countries, and how they continue to evolve.
Watch for more upcoming May posts.
Copyright (c) 2017-2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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?”
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.
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.
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:
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.
Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
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.
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.
You could almost hear the voices singing:
“Here comes the Showboat.”
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.
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.
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.