Category Archives: relationships

Be Bold For Change

International Women’s Day theme 2017 encourages to Be Bold For Change

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Hastings, MI- The screen on all my devices says Wednesday, March 8. Today is International Women’s Day.  Every year on this day, I think about the women in this world, both privileged and underprivileged.

I think about the progress we have made since the suffragist movement for the women’s right to vote in the early 1900s. I also think about the progress we have yet to make.

Yes, in modern societies we get equal education like men in any given field, at any given time. The difference is in what happens after schooling, regardless the continent we live on.

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Annie Conboy with daughter Erin blogs for a better world for her daughter.

I am not a feminist by any stretch of imagination, but I do have to admit after years in the labor market, I have to say:

“It is still a man’s world.”

Years ago, the pretty blonde character Amanda from the TV series “Melrose Place,” said it the best, as she was in vain climbing the company ladder.

“The big boys will let us go only so far.”

That is not to say that I haven’t met women in top positions as editors, publishers and business owners. I am an Internet entrepreneur with a big love for the free business spirit. And I know other women who own businesses like Nancy DeBoer, owner of Station Salon in Lowell.

But, even then, there is a missing fraction of an inch, that missing gap why Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first female president of the USA last year.

The movement for women’s rights is not always just about money and equal opportunities. It’s more about a woman’s positioning in the society.

Maybe, it’s because our primary role is to take care of our families; at first children and then aging parents or grandparents.

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The hand and nails of a 76-year old woman

“What do you like about being a woman?” I asked babysitter Heather before I left for a meeting on this very windy morning.

“Being a mom,” she said laughing, “a man can’t say that.”

And yes, I braved the 50-mile winds to drive 40 miles to a meeting, only to find out there was no power. There was no meeting and tree limbs blocked the roads. I ventured into the local KDL library in hometown Lowell to finish writing this International Women’s Day post because I couldn’t get home due to a fallen tree in the road.

No matter how brave we are, at any given stage in life, we will always be the primary caregivers. The society relies on us in any country around the world to take care of what really matters, at a time when it matters.

On daily basis we drive cars, buses, use public transportation, order food in restaurants, pay for it, pound the keyboards, stand in front of cameras and lead in meetings and speeches.

We are teachers, nurses, doctors, babysitters, high-lo drivers and construction workers.

But, first and foremost, we are moms, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends looking out for each other in a fellowship.

This global fellowship is called womanhood.

As I have recently and gratefully found out, we also have to take care of each other. If we don’t do that, no one else will do that for us. We get together, whether in knitting or gardening clubs, to encourage each other.

So in essence, the 2017 theme “Be Bold For Change” has always been with us for the last 100 years since the Soviet Revolution.

A prologue quote to one novel says:

“May you live in changing times.”

In the popular winter series “Inspiring Women” on EW Emma’s Writings that leads up to the International Women’s Day, I have written about women from all walks of life. They have always stood boldly in the face of adversity, without expecting any rewards.

Hiker Babe Gail Lowe walked in memory of her daughter Becka 4,600 miles on the North Country Trail (NCT) to commemorate her life in 2014.

Hiker Babe
Gail Lowe on a mission walk in memory of daughter.

Since the establishment of NCT in 1980, only five men have completed a thru hike of the trail and Lowe was the sixth person, and the only woman in the USA.

NCTA executive director Bruce Matthews said Lowe’s hike elevates the awareness of the North Country Trail.

“It fires people’s imagination and makes the trail more accessible to women,” he said. “It expands the horizon. It is unusual to complete it in one season.”

Matthews said solitude is part of the trail experience.

“We hope it inspires others to hike the trail,” he said.

Fellowship with women at home and around the world is the key to overall well-being and peace.

Helping women in the Third World countries is the primary mission of the SowHope organization based in Grand Rapids.

“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty,” said SowHope director Mary Dailey Brown.

On this day, women are also gathering around the world to protest the status quo of inequality and the violation of women’s rights to decide about their own health.

For more info go to:

 For more posts about Inspiring Women go to:

Hiker Babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of daughter

https://emmapalova.com/2015/02/28/iw-hiker-babe-walks-4600-miles-in-memory-of-daughter/

1001 Day Blogger Annie

http://www.annieconboy.net

Sow Hope director Mary Dailey Brown

https://emmapalova.com/tag/mary-dailey-brown/

International Women’s Day – Wikipedia

Copyright © 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

November events inspire memoir

November events fuel Greenwich Meridian © memoir

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- The months of November and May, with events both in the family and in the history of the Czech Republic, have inspired entire chapters in my Greenwich Meridian © memoir.

November is significant historically and spiritually worldwide. The thread of events that I track in the memoir starts with All Souls Day on Nov. 2, touches on US elections and leads up to the 27th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution on Nov. 17, a state holiday.

“We’re surrounded by death,” said Fr. Mark Peacock pointing to the shrine of the dead at the altar of St. Patrick’s Church in Parnell during mass last Sunday. “Look at the trees and the nature; but we know all will live again in the spring and in heaven.”

On All Souls Day in former Czechoslovakia, we headed out to the decorated cemeteries to remember all the dead in the family. The cemeteries glowed in the night with only the light from thousands of candles.

Spooky, you might say. But entire families gathered at the graves to reminisce and pray. Before the souls remembrance day we cleaned and polished the monuments at the gravesites.

I loved the yellow spiky asters arranged in wreaths, pots and vases.

At that time in 1989, my grandpa Josef Drabek from Vizovice was already very sick. He was transferred from the hospital in Olomouc to the Hospital of the Merciful Brothers in his hometown Vizovice.

I visited him at the hospital on regular basis. Pale, skinny and weak, grandpa could always recognize me. Stepping inside the hospital room, I already feared the next time.

One Sunday afternoon, I took him in the wheelchair to the hospital garden. The leaves on the trees were still orange and red, and there was water in the fountain and the pond. I could hear coughing and I could smell smoke.

More men congregated by the garden shed. My socialite grandpa didn’t want to join the group. As we passed by them, I could not believe my eyes. Standing or sitting in their hospital striped robes, that were hanging down from what used to be their shoulders and chest, the terminally ill men were smoking.

With shaking hands and fingers, they were holding onto what may be their last cigarette.

“Come and join us,” said one of them with a scratchy voice.

Grandpa turned his head the other way.

“You sold the ranch?” he asked me.

“Grandpa, you know I had to, so I could pay for my education before I leave,” I was crying.

Grandpa’s serious illness consumed me, so I hardly noticed that Nov. 7th has rolled around. Back in the totalitarian era from 1949 until 1989, November was the month of Czechoslovak Soviet Friendship.

It was a month of mandatory celebrations of the “Great October Socialist Revolution the military coup of 11.7. 1917 or 10.25. 1917 according to the old Russian calendar in St. Petersburg.

“Hurry up, Emma, you can’t be late for the parade,” I put a coat on my daughter and handed her the Chinese lantern. “You’ll light it when you get to the Revolutionary Boulevard.”

This time father-in-law Joseph took Emma to the parade, and I just stayed home. It was cold and dark. I was shivering from the upcoming events.

I had nothing to lose. I had my exit visa to the USA, and I had sold everything. No one could hurt me anymore by writing some bad cadre profile about me not being at the Russian Revolution celebrations.

The news magazine before movies was all about the Russian Revolution; that is about the Bolshevik movement with Trotsky and V.I. Lenin and the occupation of the Winter Palace.

My Alma Mater, the Gottwaldov Gymnasium pumped all the Russian & Soviet history into us. It was a total brainwash with weird results.

But behind the scenes, a different revolution was brewing preceded by months of unrest.

 

To be continued…..

 

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

Thoughts on big & brave

The strength to face another day

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I had to take a break from writing my own EW Emma’s Writings blog because I was working on a client brand new podcast website Americas Community Voices Network from Tampa, Florida.

The ambitious project was plagued by everything possible you could think of: from novelty of the British Podcast Websites, still under development and changing, to Hurricane Matthew and sicknesses on both sides, the clients’ and my own.

When I finished the podcast website last Friday around 2 p.m., I was totally drained, exhausted and dehydrated. My energy level was zero. I could hardly stand up from the computer. I was shaking with cold and my hands were sweating.

When my husband Ludek came home from work, my head started to spin. He started disappearing in front of me and instead I saw a dark tunnel encircled by a wreath of stars, kind of like the European Union logo. Then I passed out with my body shaking. My husband thought I was having a stroke.

I woke up in the ambulance close to the Metro Health Emergency Center in Grand Rapids on a Friday evening. All the emergency personnel kept asking me for my name. I knew who I was. But, I didn’t understand what was going on.

“Emma Palova,” I responded.

The emergency staff put at least 50 MediTrace electrodes on me and connected me to the EKG equipment. I was still finding electrodes on me three days later.

“We’re going to pump some liquids into you,” said the technician. “What are you in for?”

And they got the bag of IV going into my veins.

After a C-scan of the brain, x-rays and blood work, they rendered different diagnosis such as vasovagal syncope or neurocardiogenic syncope, fainting due to extreme emotional distress. That is a definition according to Mayo Clinic. And other stuff, that I may or may not write about later.

The emergency doctor prescribed me Oxazepam to get me rid of anxiety and for sleep, so I could finally sleep after weeks of sleepless nights.

Insomnia has been troubling me ever since I can remember.

Five hours later, I got home scared, still exhausted, but relatively alright. I dropped into the bed thankful to my husband Ludek for his fast reaction.

Now, I am recovering from the shock of what had happened. There is a long road ahead of me, but I will not be walking it alone.

Big and brave, Ludek has always been by my side. He never wavered, he never flinched. Just like God.

Thank you for saving me.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer with Ella in America

Goodbye Ella

By Emma Palova

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, the reality is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, sorry.”

We missed all the sorries, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The next day was a brand new day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I told her my endless stories on demand.

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

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

I need to assure myself.

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

 

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