Final goodbye to Czech Republic

Dad heads home to bid farewell to family

United Airlines flight 974 with my dad Vaclav Konecny on board just landed in Geneva four and a half hours late due to maintenance on one of the Pratt & Whitney motors.


My dad is 80 and he flew home to Czech Republic to say final goodbye to the family. Dad has only one living sibling left, aunt Marta.

He is the founder of our immigration saga that started with the Soviet invasion in 1968. And it continues to evolve to this day with third generation.

That is basically what my memoir Greenwich Meridian is about.

Venice, Florida
Dad in Venice, Florida

To be continued

Note: This is my 150th post on EW Emma’s Writings on WordPress. The 15th new follower of EW will get a $25 gift certificate to Steak & Shake.

Copyright (c) 2014


Pout ke svatbe, journey to wedding

Sledujte nas na nasi pouti ke svatbe Maranda Ruegsegger a Jakub Pala v kostele Svateho Patricka v Parnellu, Michigan.

Follow us on our journey to the international wedding of Maranda Ruegsegger and Jakub Pala at Saint Patrick’s Church in Parnell, Michigan.

Fall blueberry pie
Fall blueberry pie

Lowell woman behind the Pink Arrow Pride

Lowell woman makes Pink Arrow Pride happen along with husband and other volunteers


LOWELL, MI-When Teresa Beachum received a phone call from varsity football coach Noel Dean, she stepped up to take action.

Dean was telling her about a wife of a football player who was sporting a pink jersey at an NFL game.

The pink symbolized breast cancer. An idea was born seven years ago that has grown into a phenomenon.

The two wondered if the Lowell Football team would be strong enough to carry some else’s name on the shoulder of their pink jerseys.

The community walk prior to Pink Arrow game
The community walk prior to Pink Arrow game

“We wanted to honor those on a cancer journey or in memory of,”she said.

Beachum lost her brother Jeff Timpson to cancer.

Pink Arrow players
Pink Arrow players

The Pink Arrow Pride symbolizes the pride the players have to have to represent someone else, she said.

The Pink Arrow VII game against Chicago Hubbard is scheduled this year for Sept.5.

The Survivor’s Lap precedes the game from the Lowell High School down to the stadium.

“Everybody comes together, the fire and the police department, the band and the churches,” Beachum said.

This is followed by a victory lap around the stadium.

“The view is a sea of pink, the field, the goal post and even the trash cans,” she said.

And something new is added every year like fireworks last year.

But, there is more to this than just the game in pink.

“It teaches students how to channel grief and their emotions,” she said.

The Pink Arrow Pride has so far raised one million dollars. This money goes toward programming at Gilda’s Club, medical student scholarships, assistance to cancer survivors and Lowell Community Wellness.

“It has grown into a new dimension of playing for a cause,” Beachum said.

The two scholarships are Dr. Donald Gerard’s and Kathy Talus.

Beachum stays involved year round with the Pink Arrow Pride. Together with Ethel Stears, she delivers gifts to cancer survivors.

“I wanted to support the cause because everyone knows someone who has walked the cancer journey,” Beachum said.

The t-shirt sales have brought in $8,000 alone during the last worst seven years in economy.

“Cancer does not discriminate,” she said. “It strikes the young, the old, retirees and students.”

In the weeks prior to the game, Perry and Teresa Beachum turn their house into a Pink Arrow Pride stronghold with brochures, logos and promotions everywhere.

“The logo is customized and every year we add new things, “she said.

For their efforts, the couple has been awarded as the Chamber People of the Year.

For more info go to:

Copyright (c)2014 story by Emma Palova, photos by Pink Arrow Pride

Supermom hosts exchange students

Back to school
EW writer Sarah Harmon hosts exchange students
EW writer Sarah Harmon hosts exchange students
By Sarah Harmon
EW writer
When I was in high school, I always loved befriending foreign exchange students. I never would have guessed that ten years after graduation, I would be the host mom of one of them.
Wandering around the Riverwalk Festival in July 2013, I stopped at a booth for an organization that sponsored exchange students coming to America. It turned out I was the minimum age for a host parent, and there was a girl that it looked like would be a good fit. I thought for a few days before deciding to go for it. In that time, the girl I had wanted found another family, but the program director had a profile of a Chinese girl she thought might work. I took a look at Xuan, not expecting to be impressed since I’m more interested in European culture than Asian.
Exchange student Xuan 2013-2014
Exchange student Xuan 2013-2014
Decisions like this should never be made lightly. You are committing to putting a lot of energy and countless hours into helping this student to experience America for almost ten months. After talking to friends and family at length about if Xuan was the right girl and if I was insane enough to do this, considering I was single with two jobs plus volunteer work, I went for it. There are a lot of things you take for granted that you never truly understand until you see your home through someone else’s eyes. For instance, living in a big city in China, Xuan had never been up close to horses, goats, or pigs. I thought she was crazy when she said you weren’t supposed to touch farm animals. We have petting zoos everywhere!
Holidays were another whole new experience. It’s hard for us to imagine meeting Santa for the first time as a 16 year old. Xuan didn’t know what to ask for, so she jokingly chose a unicorn. She left some excellent homemade cookies out for him, and Christmas morning, Santa brought her a toy unicorn. The look on her face was priceless. Old holiday traditions suddenly seem a lot less cheesy when you know this kid will only get one chance in her life to do them.
Sarah and Xuan
Sarah and Xuan
It was a lot of work, mostly because I wanted to be Supermom and do a thousand things with her. (She has the 107 page scrapbook to prove it!) Yes, we had our struggles (she hated American food), but overall I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Xuan cried all the way to the airport in June, and I cried the whole drive home. Despite saying I would take a year off, right now I’m cleaning up Xuan’s old room to welcome Eva from Austria this Sunday. It’s going to be another crazy year of hosting, but I’m looking forward to every minute of it.


Copyright (c) 2014 story by Sarah Harmon

Pink Arrow Pride phenomenon

Watch for a full story on the Pink Arrow Pride phenomenon and the woman behind it-Teresa Beachum of Lowell, MIchigan. Teresa became involved with the Pink Arrow project seven years ago after she received a phone call from varsity football coach Noel Dean.

“We didn’t know our goals then,” she said, “but we raised $98,000 the first year.”

The project has raised over one million dollars in six years to benefit cancer patients, students and programming at Gilda’s Club.

“Because everyone knows someone with cancer,” said Beachum. “Cancer does not discriminate. It strikes the young, the old, the students and retirees.”

Decked out in pink for the Pink Arrow project.
Decked out in pink for the Pink Arrow project.

Meet Bruce Doll-the fair man

Bruce Doll-the fair man
Bruce Doll-the fair man

Meet the people who make the Kent County Youth Fair happen

Bruce Doll is one of many people who make the Kent County Youth Fair happen along with fair manager Jessica Marks

Name: Bruce Doll

 Position: Vice President

 Residence: beautiful Vergennes township

 Education: Studied Computers and computer graphix at the New York Institute of Technology         ( not Oral Roberts University )

Experience: 16 years at the Computer Graphix Research Lab at New York Institute of Technology, 24 years IT Manager at Alternate Postal Direct

Family: My  son Tom and his wife Nicole, and son Justin

 Hobbies: Photography, woodworking

 How did you get started in the fair business?

I visited the Kent County Youth Fair 15 years ago while living in Kentwood and fell in love with it. I sent then a bunch of pictures I took to the board and was asked to attend a board meeting and the rest is history.

 What were some of the early challenges, and how did you overcome them?

My level of knowledge was about the same as the level of technology in use at the fair, very low.  However, the folks at fair, both the board and exhibitors are always willing to share their knowledge about agriculture and animals.  It was a bit harder for me to explain the technology side, when I talked about having a website I did get some blank stares.

 What were some of your early accomplishments?

We updated the computers and software and did some training.  The first website was created.

 What goals do you set for yourself?

I always try to make things better and provide a better experience for the general public and our exhibitors.  Programs such as Reading-for-Rides and the Handi-Capable day are always being tweaked.

 How do you accomplish them?

Lists — I am a list person.  I make lists and check off items as I get them done.  This is especially true during fair where I have a list of what needs to be done on each day.  This year the list was about 5 pages long.

 What motivates you?

When I hear people say the week of fair is the best week of the year. When I see hundreds of kids showcasing their projects.  When I see the smiles of the kids.  When the general public visits the fair, I hope that they realize how much work goes into the projects that the exhibitors do.  They learn what hard work is, and it shows in the quality of the projects.

 How do you want your peers/customers to view you?

I believe that you have to be passionate about what you do.  Yes, you can do something if you are not passionate about it, but the difference between doing something and doing something amazing comes when you are passionate about what you do.

 What gives the fair competitive advantage?

We provide a safe family friendly fair.  We have hardworking people who are great at what they do all coming together into what is fair. We provide a great experience for folks and it keeps them coming back year after year, generation after generation.

 How do you integrate technology and innovations into the fair?

We use a fair management software package that helps us with the exhibitor and livestock sale.  Our website, has all of the information about the fair for the general public and for exhibitors.  We use to register people for various events, constant contact for our email blasts and of course, facebook.

How has the fair changed over the years?

It has changed significantly behind the scenes, but we try to keep our “look and feel” close what we have been doing for years.

 How do you make big projects happen? How long does it take ready for the fair?

When a project arises, there is almost always someone to take charge of it, otherwise we will volunteer someone.  We have a wrap-up meeting 2 weeks after fair and then we begin working on the next years fair.

 How do you make the fair thrive in hard economic times?

  We try to keep our prices down on rides and fair food.  We provide a good value. Our parking is one of the few ways that we make money to support our operating budget. Without our parking revenue, there probably would not be a fair.

How do you feel you have most contributed to the fair?

I have this problem with the word “No” in that I don’t use it much.  I currently manage the technology.  I also am the sponsorship and entertainment coördinator.

 What do you like most about it?

It just makes me happy.

 What makes you successful?

Again being passionate about what you do and also having great people who share the passion.

 What does a good/bad day at the fair look like?

There is no bad day at fair.

 What was new at the fair this year?

We had a dodge ball tournament, princess tea, and scavenger hunt, disc golf, Audacious Hoops, Alpacas! We had a new educational area that will be growing every year.  We added a book exchange to the Reading-for-Rides program that was a great success.

 Where do you see yourself and the fair in five years?

I see the same culture of our  fair in a new location that will provide us with the venue to improve what we do now and add more and more fun and educational aspects to the fair.

Copyright (c) 2014 All rights reserved by Emma Palova

Storefront preview

Hi to all,

I will soon be opening a brand new virtual storefront on all Emma Blogs. I will feature Czech-inspired products such as the Palinka (r) line of canned products.

The products such as the sweet and sour dill pickles are all home-made from an old family pickling recipe. The secret recipe has been handed down from generation to generation.

My mother Ella Konecny pictured in the featured photo started canning in the USA during her second immigration in the late 1970s. She didn’t like the sour taste of American pickles or the color.

She would stand up and imitate our grandpa Joseph making a grimace from the sour taste.

“See they twist your mouth,” she said. “We have to start making our own.”

Ella most likely learned how to can from her own mother Anna.

Mom and dad still grow their own cucumbers for pickling. But the weather hasn’t been great for pickles. Ella is also the woman behind the brand name “Palinka.”

My husband Ludek and I are the third generation canning these goodies in our outdoors kitchen.designed for this purpose. Because as  the Czech saying goes, “Be prepared to answer when winter asks you what you did in the summer.”

We use only fresh pickling cucumbers sorted by size and cut to the favorite spears, slices or whole. We can other vegetables like red beets and gardiniera mix.

We also make salsa and marinara sauces with either Merlot and basil or Cabernet-Sauvignon with garlic, as well as barrel-aged sauerkraut.

We plan to add more products in the future.


Palinka (R) line of canned goods such as the sweet and sour dill pickles made from an old family pickling recipe.  The prices will be $6 per pint and $9 per quart. The gift packages of three different varieties in a wooden carved Michigan box will be $39.99 Stay tuned for the official opening on all Emma Blogs soon.
Palinka (r) line of canned goods such as the sweet and sour dill pickles made from an old family pickling recipe.
The prices will be $6 per pint and $9 per quart.
The gift packages of three different varieties in a wooden carved Michigan box will be $39.99
Stay tuned for the official opening on all Emma Blogs soon.


I will also present  my blog design and writing services in an app Emma Blogs format coming soon.

Let me know what you would like to see in this big marketplace by emailing me at

Or you can comment on any of the sites of Emma Blogs. These are:

I am looking forward to this new venture.


Emma Palova




EW This site is about Emma's Writings.