Tag Archives: Belding

Day 26: COVID-19 quarantine insights

What I have learned in the quarantine

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- It’s a sunny Saturday in the quarantine so I write this with a light heart filled with hope.

As I journal through the Michigan Coronavirus quarantine, I have gathered some insights over the last four weeks. I’ve also learned new terms and words to enrich my vocabulary.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE can take on many different shapes and forms.

For me PPE constitutes a box of chocolates,candy bars, a head band flipped into a mask and winter gloves. For my husband Ludek, it’s a box of red Cabernet, a respirator and gloves. And for our son Jake, it is a six pack of Bell’s Two-Hearted, Jelinek’s plum brandy, gloves and a mask. Our daughter Doc Em just alternates the real hospital PPE gear with sweatpants in France.

New normal shopping

Number one: shopping in the quarantine is a mission and a challenge. First, we have to get ready our PPE consisting of masks, gloves, a sanitizer and a list. I don’t think bags are allowed or returnables in the stores. Usually Ludek goes by himself, but this time I was brave enough to join the adventure. I suited up with an orange headband that I slid down my face for a mask; I couldn’t wear the respirator because I couldn’t breathe in it.

Some shelves at Ric’s on Belding Road were completely wiped out. Most shelves had signs with limitations on the number of purchases. The dairy aisle was half empty offering only real butter. The store offered no ads, off course.

“I couldn’t believe there was no fake butter spread like the brand ‘ I can’t believe it’s not butter.”

Meat was expensive and nasty. We’ll see what happens with pork next week in the aftermath of the Smithfield plant Coronavirus disaster in South Dakota.

Just to make sure we have meat, we drove out into the country to Jones Meat Market near Saranac. The family-owned butcher shop offered high quality meat and sausages. Ludek spent another $80 and I restocked the freezer. People were properly social distancing outside the shop, while the strong wind was lifting their bandanas aka masks. I felt like in a bandit movie.

On our way back via Potters Rd., I noticed the signs by the road:

“Pharaoh, let us mow.”

Liberate Michigan

I’ve learned that Gov. Whitmer is now a pharaoh ordering her subjects not to mow, not to golf and not to plant, in the wake of the protest rally in Lansing on Wednesday. But, I’ve also learned she is being considered as Joe Biden’s running mate in the fall presidential election.

How did a medical problem turn political so fast? The political game has started.


I’ve learned that the contagion may have accidentally escaped from the U.S. biochemical labs, if it first hadn’t leaked from the Chinese labs or maybe European? Which will it be? The blame game has started.

Parade of Planets

Early in the morning before the day brought in disturbances, I watched the “Parade of Planets” as the morning planets Mars, Saturn and Jupiter perfectly lined up.

The morning planets created the “Parade of Planets.”

Planting in a professional greenhouse box

I used a brand new professional mini greenhouse to plant seeds for our future dills. The store- bought seeds for $2.29 looked exactly like the ones from an overgrown yellow cucumber I had discarded into our manure pile last year.

Bummer, I should have known better. I’ve been growing veggies from seeds for the last two decades.

It was another great day in the quarantine.

Thank you essential workers for keeping us alive. We salute you.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the coronavirus quarantine.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Belding Museum at Historic Belrockton

“Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.”
Marissa Meyer

Back to the keyboard

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I am back behind the computer after a summer filled with author’s gigs, book marketing, anniversary parties and granddaughter Ella’s departure for Fixin, France.

The fall solstice weather is also much more conducive to being tied to the chair without any distractions; that includes minimum social media and Internet browsing only for research purposes and logging in daily word count on the NaNoWriMo website at https://www.nanowrimo.org/

Emma’s book signing during Fallasburg Village Bazaar at the one-room schoolhouse.

However, I have one more big author event to go to before I embark on my second National Novel Writing Month 50k challenge starting on Nov. 1 with prep work in October.

Belrockton Dormitory , home of the Belding Museum

107 Hanover St. Belding, Oct. 6, 2019 1 pm – 4 pm

I am especially looking forward to this book signing of “Shifting Sands: Secrets” inside the original dormitory that housed the silk city girls when Belding was known as the” Silk City of the World.”

The making of “Silk Nora”

The long short story “Silk Nora” is the main story in book 2 in the Shifting Sands Short Stories series. By genre, it belongs to the historical fiction/historical romance catefories. So a good way to search for the book online is by using the keywords #historical fiction #historical romance. In physical bookstores, the book can be found in the fiction category.

The story digs deep into the history of the silk city girls’ dormitory “Belrockton” in Belding at the turn-of-the-century.

The Classical Revival-inspired building was erected in 1906 at a cost of $30,000 . It provided accommodations for 100 single female workers and staff. It was better known as the “Bel” and it is the last dormitory left from the three buildings. Much like the Richardson Mill is the last structure left from the three silk mills in Belding.

As a reporter for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in the early 2000s, I visited the museum on multiple occassions. But, it wasn’t until two years ago, when I spotted a picture of a woman in a hat during the museum’s fashion hat display in the fall of 2017. She was very elegant and beautiful with a nostalgic look on her face.

That woman in a hat served as a model for creating the main character Nora in the historical fiction story “Silk Nora,” which is the main story in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.”

I also explored extensively the interior of the dormitory including the girls’ rooms. There was another picture in an oval frame. This was a photo of Mathilda Adrian, who lived in the dormitory. Right next to the oval photo was her marriage certificate to John Mahar dated April 1917. And a double love story was born.

This discovery inspired the character of Mathilda, who became Nora’s best friend. So, at this point I had the main characters, and then I added Doris, the matron and the men into the story. All the characters are woven into Belding’s history of the silk industry started by the Belding Brothers in 1860 by selling silk from house to house.

Creativity of Belrockton staff

The creativity of the Belrockton Museum staff, Jane Forth, Barb Fagerlin, Jan Mehney along with others inspired my own creativity.

T he creative displays at the museum from Hotel Belding such as the receptionist’s desk helped me recreate the scenes of social life at the hotel.

The displays of girls’ rooms complete with mannequins, the movie theater, grocery store, fueled my imagination.

When I discovered the optical illusion picture of the “Face of Gossip” at the dormitory bathrooms, I was totally flabbergasted by the chain of coincidences that made the individual pieces fit into a complete story.

To be continued

Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Palova. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.