Tag Archives: Ferris State University

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day ties to Greenwich Meridian (c) memoir

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- Every year on Mother’s Day, I think about my mom Ella Konecny. That is why I dedicated “Greenwich Meridian” memoir to her. I hope to finish the book within the next few months.

Mom Ella Konecny, the pharmacist
Mom Ella Konecny, the pharmacist

Actually people have been already asking me about the memoir that covers our three-generation immigration saga. I had to put it on hold while I was establishing my Internet presence and my business Emma Blogs, LLC.

Now, that I feel well grounded I am picking back up both fiction and memoir writing.

My mother Ella is both funny and sad. She likes being the center of attention at anyone’s birthday party even at my own. I have a birthday tomorrow, one day before the official Mother’s Day. May 9th was also a national holiday in Czech Republic.

Whenever we gather around the dining table, she stands up and starts telling a joke or whatever she can think of. Ella takes that after my grandpa Joseph Drabek. Her maiden name is Drabkova. The -ova ending to Drabek, is the female linguistic twist to the male version of the name.

Mom, a former pharmacist, is witty, progressive and quickly understands new things like working on blogging projects.

“Do you have to work until you finish it?” she asked on Friday when she brought over birthday gifts early.

Happy Mother's Day
Happy Mother’s Day

“Yes, mom. You have to finish a task otherwise you won’t know where you stopped and you might lose it,” I answered.

“Sure. That’s what I thought,” she nodded.

Other than just mentioning info technology, Ella hates it. Both mom and dad are refusing to get a smart phone. That drives my son Jake nuts.

“I want to send them photos of the kids,” he said. “This is crazy, they are fighting it so hard.”

“You can’t force them,” I told him. “They will resist it even more.”

Ella is an awesome cook. Ever since she retired from Ferris State University, biology department, Ella improved her chef skills by 100 percent. Not, that she was a bad cook before, but mom just didn’t have the time.

“What do you want me to make?” she always asks before we come to their home in Big Rapids.

Mom Ella with me on the Venice peer, 2014.
Mom Ella with me on the Venice peer, 2014.

“What do you want me to bring over?” she asks before they come  for a visit to our house in Lowell.

So, I have the privilege of picking from a wide menu of choices; anything from Moroccan beef, Stroganoff beef, Chinese to Czech dill sauce with dumplings.

I like to pick kebabs any style.

Mom Ella is a very sensitive person. She cries over both man-made and natural disasters. Mom cried over the oil spill in the gulf that destroyed a lot of marine life. She cries over the situation in Syria. She cries over our lives.

When I see her cry, I cry too. It’s somewhat of an emotional synergy.

She is generous all around; in church, with the family, close and distant and in the developing countries.

She’s getting fragile. Ella will turn 80 next year.

I can’t believe it. My beautiful and kind mother is aging. Last year, she had skin cancer removed from her face. Before that, she underwent countless surgeries, both successful and unsuccessful.

“Everybody lies to me, because it’s easy, I am old,” she said the other day. “Old people get lied to.”

As years go by, Ella is getting more stubborn. She does not want to reconciliate the discord with her only sister Anna, who lives in Czech Republic.

“Mom you should make up with your sister,” I said.

“She doesn’t want to make up with me,” she snapped at me.

Ella and dad have always strove for perfection and to fit in with the most. That may have been hard on them. Ella has a perfectly clean house where everything has its own spot.

She gets upset with me because not everything in my house has its own spot. I like to move things around. I sometimes leave dishes behind.

Ella is very vocal about my life; that I could have done a lot more with it.

“We were at this concert where Ferris students played,” she said Friday. “Can you imagine how those parents felt when they have such successful and serious kids?”

We each have things that bother us. We cover it up, hold it inside or we talk about it.

At a certain point, we have to come to terms with anything that’s depriving us of living a life to its fullest extent.

Mom has given me life and all the tools to live it.

Thank you, Mom.

Yours forever,

Emma

Cover photo of tulips by Emma White Darling of Parnell, MI.

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

 

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Dad spearheads immigration saga

Dad’s birthday spurs creative juices

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

I want to dedicate this day to my forever young dad  Vaclav Konecny who turns 81 today. He was born in Brest, Czechoslovakia on July 23, 1934 to parents Anezka & Antonin Konecny. He is the older of the two remaining  siblings  with Aunt Martha Pink. Both claim the original residence as Stipa near Zlin.

He is the behind the scenes character who along with my mom Ella inspired the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga that now spans three generations.

Dad continues to inspire me with his humor and sometimes cranky optimism and sarcasm.  He is what I call an atypical Leo. Dad has the strength of the Leo, as well as his leadership and determination to carry out projects to his liking.

Parents Vaclav & Ella have inspired the memoir.
Parents Vaclav & Ella have inspired the memoir.

But, he is not by any stretch of imagination a show off in the regal colors of golden and purple like the king of jungle or King Vaclav he is named after. On the contrary, dad is truly the entire support system behind a spectacular show.

However, during his tenure as math professor at Ferris State University from 1980 until 2001 in Big Rapids, he did play the role of the lion in front of the blackboard.

“You know you have to put on a show,” he always told me.

Students laughed at him, but colleagues admired him then as much as they do now.

Dad can make people around him flourish putting them at the center of attention instead of himself.

One time at a university party, dad hit a conversation with a complete stranger.

“Who was that,” mom asked.

“He is a dentist,” dad laughed.

“What did you talk to him about?” she watched him closely.

“About teeth, of course,” he laughed again.

At 81, he can strike magic with any female whether at a party, while wintering in Florida or at a perfectly authentic Spanish or Mexican restaurant. Maybe, that is where his lion’s character shows the best.

“Women admire him,” mom says.

Yes, dad is likable. He is witty, funny, talented and creative. Who ever has said that math or physics are boring, just never had the pleasure of meeting my dad. Vaclav Konecny studied physics in Brno and later took on math.

A life-long learner himself, dad studied computer science at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, while teaching full-time math at Ferris. During the turbulent times of the 70s, dad took to the canvas and painted his oils from mosques in Sudan, Niagara Falls to Saguaro cacti in the national park in Arizona.

Many years later he found love in languages, Spanish and French. Both, mom and I watched him in awe freely communicate with Mexican wait staff and owners at different restaurants.

I don’t know, but I have a valid feeling that his favorite food is Mexican or Spanish even though he will not admit that in front of mom.

He has the vitality of a 30-year old not quite grown up man. His persistence lets him drive 1,367 miles from Big Rapids to Venice, Florida.

His innovation spirit can take him anywhere. He closes his eyes and imagines new routes and new paths to mathematical solutions.

“He’s solving problems all the time or counting the number of people in pews,” mom says.

Dad is a perfectionist at the expense of being disappointed with the imperfection of others. He is a true gentleman with manners from the court and always lets women go first.

I always ask myself this question when mom dictates what’s going to happen next:

“Is mom really the true boss in the Konecny household?”

She appears to be, and dad wants it that way to stay in her shadow with his quiet personality hiding the lion’s strength.

But, dad has been the driving force behind the family happenings  over the last 47 years since we have ventured out over the Atlantic pond.

Thanks dad for being the modern captain on this bold voyage, for showing us the world, for broadening our horizons and for creating endless surprises.

Happy birthday,

Emma & the family

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Happy Father’s Day

Father, the founder of immigration

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- As we ready to head out west for the Rendezvous in Prairie du Chien, I can’t help but think about my father Vaclav Konecny. Mom Ella calls him the founder of immigration.

“Without him we’d be back home,” she said.

I never know if mom is sarcastic when she says this.

Once my father sets his mind on something, he goes and pursues it until he gets it. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be a math problem, a new shower or toilet.

“He’s a perfectionist,” mom says about dad.

Dad explains triple integrals to FSU students
Dad explains triple integrals to FSU students

Dad, former math professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, still calculates math problems for journals. He will be 80 this July. He has always been fascinated by Fermat’s Last Theorem and sought to solve it. Originally, a physicist, dad loves Einstein’s relativity theory and makes endless jokes about it.

He has proposed many math problems himself.

“That can sometimes be harder than solving them,” dad says.

Math is still the anchor of his life to which he turns when times are good or bad.

“In my mind, I can travel anywhere,” he said.

His co-anchors are languages. At 60, he learned Spanish motivated by a trip to Mexico and Spain. At 75, dad started studying French motivated by my daughter Emma’s wedding in France.

Dad now reads novels in Spanish and French.

He relentlessly pursues perfection in all its forms, whether intellectual or physical. Dad has always been on a strict diet, never gaining an extra pound.

“He gets his discipline from the seminary,” Ella says.

Both dad and his brother Tony went to the seminary in Kromeriz.

But, paternal grandpa and grandma too requested 100 percent obedience. I found that out the hard way when we went back to Czechoslovakia in 1973 from the USA. We lived in their house under strict rules.

The ruling nature of grandparents has never transferred on my dad.

“He never yells,” says mom, “he’s forever patient.”

Dad can patiently wait for hours at the airport for a delayed plane. His quest for perfection has rubbed off to a certain point on me; that is in my creative work. But, I lack both his discipline and obedience.

Only once, dad yelled at mom, when he was teaching her how to drive in Africa.

Dad taught me how to drive in 1990 in Big Rapids.

“The car is a weapon,” he said, “be careful with it.”

Unlike my mom, dad has always been encouraging and positive about everything.

“You have to pursue things,” he says.

A great educator and a lifelong student, dad continues to pursue things with the same energy he had, when he emigrated some 50 years ago.

Happy Father’s Day, dad

Emma

Copyright (c) 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova