Tag Archives: Belrockton

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.

Day 4 #nanowrimo

Time change favors productivity of Wrimos with excerpts

nano-2018-writer-twitter-header

Lowell, MI -The time change favored the brave Wrimo writers of the National Novel Writing Month falling back an hour.

I started writing probably somewhere around 5:30 a.m. of the new time. The first signs of a new day came around 8:30 a.m. I logged in a total of  8,590 words with the short story “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” from the new collection “Secrets” (c) copyright Emma Palova.

The way the story unraveled itself surprised even me as I was writing and the characters began to lead me into their lives. Thank you main characters Zita, mom Dona, boyfriend Kurt and Mother Karla.

I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets” upon the completion of the 50K word goal of the National Novel Writing Month.

After the morning writing marathon, the day became quite a challenge with the regular Sunday routine broken not only by writing, but also by a visit to the Belrockton museum in search of inspiration. That’s where I discovered the poster for the cover of the new book, and a million ideas for a new story.

Another day of #nanowrimo is on the horizon, and I don’t have the luxury to run out of story fuel.

My parents Ella and Vaclav came over with brother Vas for an unusual Sunday afternoon visit. The rut of the Sunday visits from the old country of Czechoslovakia came back. Vas and mom were fighting.

I am grateful that we live close enough to visit, plus we had fun with my husband’s newly acquired fame thanks to his shining U.S. citizenship. Ludek even got a letter from one of his fans, Dave.

Here is an excerpt from “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Dona drove through the long alley of beautiful crab apple and oak trees. The crab apple trees were now in their late pink and white blossoms, so the petals were all over the dirt road leading to the Dominican campus. Dona passed the small red barn on the right with the apple orchard also in full blossom. The labyrinth of dirt roads took her to the main building. She knocked on the big heavy door again.

Mother Karla opened the door and welcomed the woman into her quarters. Sitting at a big desk with a cross behind her, Karla folded her hands and looked up at Dona. A rosary was intertwined between her fingers and wrapped around her right wrist.

This time, Dona was more composed. She dressed appropriately for a battle with what should become the new mother of her only child. Dona put on her best suit, a striped navy-blue jacket and skirt, and a white silk blouse. Golden bracelets were dangling from her left wrist, and Dona made sure she put the diamond ring on the correct finger of the left hand even though it was a little big.

An hour before Dona’s arrival, Mother Karla went through a different ritual of preparing for a dangerous guest. She prayed for a successful outcome. Karla too put on her best foot forward in her white garb.

“Speak about what brings you here,” Mother Karla said watching Dona closely.

Without wincing or fidgeting, Dona went straight to the point looking directly into the Mother’s eyes.

“I will not let my only child become a nun,” said Dona firmly. “There is no way, my child will be a nun; not while I am alive. It will happen only over my dead body. I will fight this. You lured her to this. She would have never done this on her own.”

Dona leaned back into the leather armchair crossing her slender legs. Mother Karla leaned forward over her desk toward Dona playing with the beads of the lavender-colored rosary. She inched her fingers toward the cross on the rosary.

“Why would I lure your child to the order?” asked Karla strictly.

Dona stood up and walked closer to the big desk breathing heavily into Karla’s face.

“You coaxed her into this with your lies and deceptions,” she attacked Karla.

Dona slammed her small fist in front of Karla’s face on the big desk. Karla stood up too and walked around the desk to stand face to face with Dona. Karla put her hands against her wide hips:

“First of all, I am a woman of cloth. I do not deceive or lie,” she said. “It is my highest duty to tell the truth to anyone who is seeking it.”

Dona was sobbing out loud now. She was trying to catch her breath before speaking again. Then, she collapsed back into the leather armchair.

“You’re stealing my daughter from me,” she wept. “You’re a thief.”

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.