Category Archives: memoir

Born on Victory Day, May 9th

Born on Czech national holiday Victory Day

A lifestyle of a writer and a history lover

Lifestyle

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I was born with history in my blood in the wee hours on Victory Day, May 9th to the cracking of the fireworks and the fragrance of the blossoming lilacs.

Before the semantics & politics of the new regime, May 9th was the national holiday in my homeland of Czech Republic.

Every year, on this day, my mother Ella lovingly says this sentence:

“I thought they were bombing, but the country was celebrating your birthday. The entire earth blossoms for you.”

me Manistee (2)
Emma in Manistee National Forest north of Baldwin, morel hunting on May 6.

Now, my mom Ella is not exactly the most humble person. She loves to show off. She takes that after Grandpa Joseph of Vizovice.

Annually, the country celebrates the anniversary of its freedom from the Nazi occupation in 1945. The holiday has been moved to May 8th based on the age-old dispute, “Who was first, the chicken or the egg?” That is the dispute over which army freed former Czechoslovakia first.

Was it the Soviet or the American army?

The Soviets freed the capital Prague on May 9th, while the Americans freed Plzen in West Bohemia on May 8th. Maybe, the switch was due to the fact that Plzen is home to the famous brewery, Pilsner.

The country boasts its love for beer, and often takes first place in consumption between the top beer consuming trio of Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

However, in our immigration hearts, the holiday will always be on May 9th, even though we love Czech Pilsner.

So, by default, the love for history has been circulating in my blood from the first day of birth.

Our immigration Konecny saga started with the infamous occupation of the country by the Soviets in the Prague Spring of 1968. The era of hardline communism ensued after the invasion for decades to come under President Gustav Husak.

I am also the child of the 1989 Velvet Revolution led by  my hero, late president Vaclav Havel who was part of the Prague Spring 1968 reformation movement.

ew-havel

I can trace the origins of my writing to that tumultuous time in our lives.

And I write about this in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian, where East meets West.” Copyright © 2017. Emma Palova

My paternal grandpa Antonin was the keeper of the “Chronicles of the Stipa JZD” which was the Stipa Agricultural Cooperative, while my late Aunt Martha secretly worked on the Konecny family genealogy. My grandma Anezka was a first grade teacher at ZDS Stipa and a poet.

“You can’t deny genes,” said Martha’s colleague Mrs. Fickova at the funeral wake on Jan. 11th held at the Stipa Senk.

After Aunt Martha’s death on January 7th, 2017, I started the Facebook page Ancestry Konecny on:

https://www.facebook.com/Ancestry-Konecny-1715844132078471/

The page is also a resource for others who want to conduct genealogy research.

Based on a ZDS reunion in 2015, that we couldn’t attend, I started the Alumni ZDS Stipa page on:

https://www.facebook.com/zdsstipa/

As an author, writer, journalist and photographer, I keep track of happenings on daily basis in my physical and digital diaries. I also do that for other people on the WordPress portfolio.

My May 9th morning  started with Google Doodle wishing a happy birthday.

http://www.onthisday.com/events/may/9

https://g.co/kgs/apAhlt

Now, that’s a first for this year 2017.

Every morning before I start writing, I check social media for inspiration and to get a feeling for the day.

I made me a cup of French Roast coffee and smelled the bouquet of lilacs from our gardens on the ranch. It took 20 years for the fragrant shrubs to come to their full beauty. Not quite like the historical ones on my beloved Mackinac Island, but they’re getting there.

Yesterday, my husband Ludek and I feared for the budding wisteria because of the early morning frost. We had to put out the fan to keep the wisteria, sprawling on the octagon pergola, warm.

Then, as always I gather my thoughts based on analyzing the previous day, and what I have learned from it, that is worth bringing into the future. I always remember the socialist propaganda, “Tomorrow is already yesterday.”

I pinned to the top, “Spring into the Past” museum tour 2017 organized by the Tri-River Historical Museum Network on the new museum page.

I also made sure that the 23rd annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour in Fallasburg is correctly dated for Sunday July 9th.

I looked in the mirror, after finishing most of this post, and I realized I am very fortunate, and that any victory comes at a price. I’ve come to that conclusion not from the image that I see, but by the person I reflect in my writings.

I have a head full of graying hair, a happy smile on my face, a caring husband and family, hundreds of fans and well-wishers from all over the world, and the determination of a Taurus.

My short story collection “Shifting Sands” is ready for June 1st publication on kindle and Amazon.

And speaking about karma or karmic energy.

My friends from the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) Tina Siciliano Cadwallader and Tracy Worthington are planning a book signing event for the “Shifting Sands” fiction short story collection at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum on June 25th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Shifting sands cover

I’ve just found out that mom Ella is going to bake a cake for the book signing. And I have received tulips and irises from Doc Em, based in Fixin, France, and a video from Josephine & Dominik Pala of Hastings.

Life is good. As Doc Em says:

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Everyone is invited to Fallasburg on June 25. Come and enjoy the beautiful Fallasburg Park, the pioneer village, the history and mom’s cake.

With this post, I would like to thank everyone for all the support over the years, especially my neighbor Catherine. Because only Catherine knows who I really am.

“You make me who I am.”

Love always,

Emma

Lowell, May 9th 2017

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.

Emma’s Publishing Odyssey 1989-2017

Emma’s status update

Hello friends,

Have you been through the publishing odyssey between agents, traditional publishing houses and self-publishing?
I have been on this route for the last 28 years, and I have learned a lot about the publishing, the filming and the arts industries, as well as  about myself. I traveled this path as a print media journalist who swapped ink for the digital WordPress platform in 2013 with the first post published on Jan. 15.

I am  an author, journalist, writer, screenwriter, designer, photographer and an entrepreneur of Emma Blogs, LLC, based in Lowell, MIchigan. That is professionally. I am also a human being: a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a grandmother. Some people call me, Mrs. Emma.

And I am somebody’s aunt, a Godmother and a”babe.”

Ella & Emma
Missing my mother.Ella & Emma, Venice 2015

How many different hats can a writer wear? Many. But the real question is, “Which is the right hat, and where do we hang it? Where do we put what?

Where do we put what?
Where do we put what?

 My new friends like T.G., Barb and Wendy, think I am a geek. Ask my old artistic friends like Tom and Pam Woodruff of Leland, or Eva Laurencikova of Kromeriz, Czech Republic, “Who am I?”

I started my own flagship blog EW Emma’s Writing on http://emmapalova.com after advise from agents to build up the Emma Palova name brand in pursuit of publishing Greenwich Meridian (c) 2017, a memoir about the Konecny family immigration saga, @emmapalova @ludekpala now spanning three generations.

The mission of Emma Blogs, LLC

Over the four years of my publishing journey on WordPress, I have diversified into providing an advertising platform for others on the Emma Blogs portfolio, creating blogs for other people, publishing and most recently  re-branding old structures into new designs. In Russia, they called it “Perestroika.”

Opportunities await if we keep our minds open to them

You guessed it, the “Wasteland” (c) 2017 theme park is on my mind. After all, who doesn’t want to re-do a theme park or the arts sphere?  Stay tuned for more on this.

The screenshot of your Place at Home opportunity.
The screenshot of your Place at Home opportunity.

Re-branding and re-structuring into new designs

I have assisted in the digital re-do of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) organization founded by a group of women in 1965, who used to get together somewhere on the grounds of the Fallasburg Park, into a digital conglomerate, known around the world.

The FHS slogan now is, “The next 50 years of Fallasburg.”

When asked about the direction of the Fallasburg historical organization, president Ken Tamke said the goal is to spread the word about the Fallasburg village on the Internet, and then people may actually find the hamlet in the northeast Kent County.

http://fallasburgtoday.org

The FHS also has a new website http://www.fallasburg.org . So visit and chat with us before you head out there. You never know what you’re going to find.

The FHS is part of the innovative project “The Past Online” on http://www.thepastonline.org.

Current projects

Currently, I am working with the arts community of the greater Lowell area to create a new palette.

You can call or e-mail Emma for a re-branding consultation as we fly fast toward 2020. Don’t wait around. You can do your research, but  make a move now, or we will all miss the train. One person cannot rebuild an empire overnight.

My publishing ventures on Edition Emma 

Tell us your story
Tell us your story

Join me on my explorations of the publishing industry on both platforms; print and digital. Like most of my friends, authors and artists, I’ve learned the hard way; endless rejections, phone calls from sales people from different Publishing Houses that are now going digital.
Being constantly broke, I had to get more resourceful than just waiting around for a publishing prince to arrive on a white horse at my doorstep. He or she never did.

I also looked for the magical publishing white horse in the actual zoo as a kind sign that I might find an avenue one day.

That’s why I rolled out the blogging/writing portfolio, Emma Blogs, LLC in the summer of 2014.
Part of the portfolio is my own Publishing House Edition Emma (c) 2017 copyright. All rights reserved.
If you want to get published, submit your work to Edition Emma. Looking forward to seeing your work.
Love always,
Emma

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

Graceful

In search of grace

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I write this not only in response to the Daily Post @graceful photo prompt, but also to find solace and reprieve in grace.

Graceful

Contrary to my better judgment, I’ve been writing a lot about politics lately. I don’t know if I’ve been doing that to make myself feel better or more responsive to what has been going on in North America, UK and the Middle East.

And I still don’t know if it was the journalist bursting out of me, or the Czech ex-patriot living currently in America. I guess, I’ll never know.

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Graceful orchids in full bloom at the end of January.

Somebody once said that the worst thing of all is “indifference.” No matter, how hard I try to be immune to it all, the current affairs just bug me.

I am trying to find the grace in me, to accept the future of democracy.

Along with writing about religion, writing about politics, no matter how unbiased, usually gets me into trouble. I really don’t need any distraction at a time when I’ve picked up the momentum to finish the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir about the Konecny family immigration saga.

After coming back from Aunt Marta’s funeral in mid January in Czech Republic, I was so re-energized to finish the memoir, and to pursue the greater Konecny Saga picture. I made space for it in my mind, in my studio and in my work day.

I’ve gathered the necessary research, started the Ancestry Konecny Facebook page, caught up with the Alumni ZDS Stipa page to set the stage for everything to finally wrap up. I have built up the following on social media and most platforms that I know of. I hooked up with a dear director friend whom we seem to have similar goals, at times.

Thanks to my never-ending insomnia, I am caught up with client projects into 2017 as they constantly evolve. I did all the little bureaucracy that I needed to do, put things in fancy five-star folders, and such. I straightened my affairs both here and there, and in between.

I’ve communicated and answered messages both domestic and foreign; on messenger, on text, on Skype, and on phone.

I said hi to an old friend of Irish origin at church last Sunday. I  asked about the immigrant family from Africa that the church had sponsored in 2016. I was supposed to teach them English as a Second Language (ESL), but other projects came up.

“Oh, I’ve been neglecting them since it’s so cold outside,” he said. “I really feel bad.”

“Me too,” I thought, without any particular reference to anything.

So what happened? The world happened. I am burnt out like a candle, like the fire in our wood stove.

Even host Alfonso Ribeiro on AFV last Sunday said, “I am out like acid-washed jeans or mullets.”

It’s a cold early afternoon in January. The day is grayish, and so are my heart and soul.

“So, what are you going to do for yourself, today,” Facebook friend Fiosa posted this Monday morning.

Somebody out there on that vast Internet sea responded:

“I am going to look for a job.”

Just before reading that, I arranged my beautiful collection of blooming orchids for a photo shoot for the @graceful photo prompt.

If I really love anything and need anything when I feel whipped, it’s these enigmatic flowers. They literally speak to me in their own language with their beautiful shapes and colors and their bold structure.

They come into full bloom during the deepest frosts Up North in Michigan. They engage in nothing but themselves, in their own grace.

Where do you find grace?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/graceful/#respond

Thank you for being.

Love always,

Emma

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

Four Years on WordPress

Trip from Czech homeland marks 4th anniversary of blogging

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- On board Air France flight 1383 from Paris to Detroit, I was watching our route leaving the shores of Europe on Jan. 15, 2017, as I realized it was the fourth anniversary of my writing on WordPress.

ew-anniversary-2x-4-years
500 posts Four-year anniversary

It was all so fitting, because I started blogging on WordPress in 2013 to promote my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” Copyright 2017 Emma Palova. I named the book Greenwich Meridian to depict our family immigration saga between the East and the Western hemispheres over the last five decades. The memoir tracks the Konecny family migration between former Czechoslovakia and the USA from 1969 through present.

Reaching higher with WordPress after four years.
Reaching higher with WordPress after four years.

The journey of blogging parallels my writing path through life almost identically. I don’t remember a period in my life not writing.

At first, it was writing letters to my mother Ella when she immigrated to the USA for the second time in 1980 to join my father Vaclav Konecny. Later, when I arrived in the USA in 1989, I embarked on a professional writing career as a journalist and correspondent for regional and Czech media, based in Michigan, New York and in Prague.

I followed Earnest Hemmingway’s correspondent footsteps.

Writing much like my husband Ludek have been my lifelong companions in good and in bad times, as expressed in our wedding wows in 1978 in Stipa, former Czechoslovakia at the Church of Saint Mary.

Writing has helped me survive major life crisis, like in 2008 when Ludek and I had to part due to the economic crisis in the first decade of the millennium. At that time, Ludek worked in Prarie du Chien, Wisconsin, while I stayed in Michigan to save our house. In the winter of 2008-2009, I wrote the screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” Copyright © 2009- 2019 inspired by a hometown clown parade in Lowell that celebrated 175 years of the town’s establishment.

Writing has been the fuel of my life. Writing for me is like a fountain or elixir of life, when everything else around me is arid, dry and angry.

Instead of turning to violence and despair, I turn inside, meditate and feel into the overall emotions of the surrounding world. Then, I transform these powerful outside forces into a stream or an avalanche blanketing all with a soft cover of love, like a mother covering her child.

Transforming violence into love.
Transforming violence into love. A sculpture at LaCoste in Provence.

Today, as I write this 500th post on the WordPress publishing platform, I am thankful for the 1,066 followers and the future ones to come.

I also would like to thank all, who never stopped believing in me.

At the end of last year, just before I have reached the 1,000 followers mark, I realized that I have completed a second degree thanks to the WordPress (WP) Blogging University, the support happiness WP engineering team, my family and my beloved readers.

“Congratulations, honey. You have another degree,” said my husband Ludek. “It was just like back when you were in school in Brno. I had to be constantly quiet.”

I wanted to quit just as many times as I did while working on my bachelor’s degree at the Technical University of Brno from 1982 to 1986 in former Czechoslovakia. My path on WordPress was constantly jeopardized by the lack of finances and understanding of the principles of freelance blogging.

I plan on finishing my second degree on the WordPress publishing platform with a blogging directory and an app for the thesis.

Of course, in the meantime the memoir Greenwich Meridian has become the first part of the Konecny Saga (c) copyright 2017.

Thank you. You make me who I am.

Love always,

Emma

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.

Czech Christmas

Czech Christmas at the Palas

Note: This account of Czech Christmas contains excerpts from my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” © about the family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the USA dedicated to my mother Ella.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I carefully set my foot on the American soil for the second time on Dec. 22, 1989 at the frozen John F. Kennedy airport in NYC. I had two children by my side: daughter Emma, 10 and son Jake, 2.5.

With a shaking hand, I signed off on the US resident’s green card long before (Transportation Security Agency) TSA came into existence.

The night had already set in on the city with its million lights and bridges.

Before we headed out west like the early settlers, we stayed overnight at my parents friends’ house for some respite from the travel across the Atlantic.

In the meantime, my husband Ludek was waiting for us in Montreal, Quebec. He received immigration visa to Canada, while I received mine to the USA.

After two days on the road in a frosted car on the deserted turnpike, we arrived at our destination: the college town of Big Rapids in Northern Michigan on Christmas Eve.

Mom Ella had already prepared everything ahead of time as we picked up brother Vas in Roger’s Heights for my first Christmas.

Later, in the early years around holiday time, I would drive to the Gerald Ford International Airport in Kentwood and nostalgically dream about hometown Christmas in Czechoslovakia with all its magic under the chestnut trees. That meant treasures bought at the Zlin Christmas market. I brought a piece of that Christmas magic with me to the new country in 1989. This included the hand-crochet yellow doilies for afternoon high tea and tablecloths made by ladies from Slovakia.

Whenever I get homesick, and I still do, I pull these treasures out of their drawers at our Pala homestead in Lowell. I try not to use them so I can preserve them forever. I usually have a story attached to whatever I keep, and my adult children and friends can attest to that.

20161223_101747.jpg

I think of that time long ago at the market under the chestnut trees. It must have been that first bronze shopping weekend in Advent when I walked past the booths with silver and golden coated mistletoe all piled up into these pyramids.

I was immediately drawn to a lady dressed in a folk costume called “kroje.” She was always there also on Saturdays throughout the year. I wish I had asked for her name.

“I am looking for a Christmas present for my mother,” I said.

“What does she like?”

That made me think; what does my mother like? Do I know her?

I picked up the yellow hand crochet doilies set and admired the craftsmanship that would become lost art. I looked up at the woman with an old wrinkly face from the sun in the Slovakian highlands.

“How much are they?”

“Your mother is going to love them,” she smiled as she held up the biggest met for the coffee table.

I was a student at the time, and I didn’t have a lot of money.

I remember exactly, they were 220 Czech crowns which was a lot of money for anyone to pay for a fancy fragile cloth.

“I’ll take them,” the lady wrapped them in a brown paper.

At our Southern Slopes apartment, I hid them in a closet. The Sunday after we came home from church, my mom made festive dinner and we sat down for desserts in the living room. We reserved Sunday afternoons for guests. Mom, like most women in the old republic, always baked for the weekends, not just around Christmas.

“You’re such a bake nut,” aunt Anna always laughed at mom because she was jealous.

I noticed the old worn-out coffee table met.

“Mom, I got something for you,” I said.

“Why? What is it?” she asked.

I came back and gave her the Christmas gift wrapped in brown paper three weeks early.

“That’s beautiful, but why?” she pursued. “It’s not Christmas yet.”

“Because I can’t wait for you to have it,” I said smiling. “I would die waiting. Please, please take it.”

That little episode still brings a smile to my face. Mom Ella knew how much I loved that set. When she moved permanently to the USA to join my father Vaclav in 1980, she left the yellow doilies set at home.

“Mom, you forgot your yellow tea crochet set,” I said in a phone call months later.

“I know, I left them for you.”

Merry Christmas 2016 and a sincere thank you to all my followers.

May peace prevail on Earth.

Czech Christmas to be continued……….Excerpts from the “Greenwich Meridian” © 2016-2017

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