Tag Archives: Greenwich Meridian memoir

Day 60: covid-19 quarantine in michigan

Happy Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day 2019 at the Oakwood Cemetery in Lowell. This year’s Memorial Day parade and activities have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new normal ahead of Memorial Day weekend

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – While northern Michigan is opening today for business in the COVID-19 era, the rest of Michigan is still on stay-at-home order through May 28 with many unknowns looming as we head into the Memorial Day weekend.

Hit by a dual disaster of dam failures in Midland, the state is suffering from a prolonged status-quo of the state of emergency, but eager to reopen.

Although the manufacturing sector is slowly starting up and the gardening places are open, we’re still not going to get a haircut, a steak or a tooth pulled.

Social distancing

This week I got a full-flavored taste of the new normal. A special meeting of the Fallasburg Historical Society on Monday, held at the site of the Tower Farm, was attended with board members wearing masks. The members were properly spaced six feet apart in a circle on the lawn by the Tower Farm.

Read the story “Tower Farm rennovations to complete Fallasburg village street look.”

Mask Wars

The issue of wearing masks has been at the forefront of fierce fights on Facebook, in stores, at home and in different organizations. The complaints against masks range from difficulty in breathing to freedom of choice. Somehow masks got political.

Luckily, living in the country, we have enough space to face-off the six foot social distancing challenge.

On day 58, I marked the passage of time by planting my window boxes with geraniums thinking about the health care heroes and praying for them.

Silver linings

In the afternoon we test rode our new EVs (electrical vehicles) that is bikes boosted with a battery. On the news, I found out that due to COVID-19, bicycles have sold out all over the country. People prefer bikes to public transportation for fear of getting infected.

There have been silver linings all along in the quarantine: increased outdoor activity, creativity and innovation to offset the cancelled parades and Memorial Day activities.

Although I’ve delayed the publishing of the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir,” I am moving ahead with the book launch planning. I will have my book launch at LowellArts, as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Book launch at LowellArts

The book is now available for preorder on Amazon. Click below.

Greenwich Meridian Memoir

Memorial Day weekend tips

Gatherings of people up to 10 are allowed. However, people from different parties have to social distance.

Community dishes must be eliminated and replaced by everything individual.

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

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Day 46: COVID-19 quarantined birthdays

Happy birthday to all the people who are celebrating their birthdays in the COVID-19 quarantine in 2020.

Alright, I caved in and decided to celebrate my birthday tomorrow on zoom at the Pushkin’s Bar.

All you need is the free zoom app from the app stores to join in. I will send the link and the password tomorrow to join. You don’t need to wear a mask unless you want to. BYOB

The band of choice is Twisted Sisters with their “We’re not gonna take it.”

Thanks to graphic artist Jeanne Boss for creating the perfect me in the featured photo.

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

Day 43: COVID-19 from the history of Spanish Flu Pandemic

History teaches us lessons. I couldn’t resist sharing this blast from the past: compliments of the Lake County Historical Museum in Baldwin, MI.

102 years ago our nation was fighting the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. This family with their protective face masks paused in their daily life to pose for this family portrait. Obviously they were taking no chances with their pet cat as he is also outfitted with a tiny feline mask.

I am almost done with May e-newsletters. Now is the time to stay in touch with your customer/client base, so you are ready when the economy fully reopens. Contact Emma with your direct marketing needs.

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Day 42: COVID-19 May the Fourth be with you

Celebrating Star Wars, hope for reopening

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – So today is Star Wars Day which celebrates George Lucas’s Star Wars media franchise. The date, according to Wikipedia, was chosen for the pun on the catchphrase “May the Force be with you.”

As we move into the eighth week of the quarantine in Michigan, we are hoping that all the positive forces will be with us to stop the spread of the virus and to re-engage the economy. The case numbers over the weekend seemed to either flatten or decline. On Sunday, the lowest increase of COVID-19 deaths was reported at 29 since March 29.

The total number of cases in Michigan is 42,356 with 3,866 deaths and 15,659 Michiganders have recovered. And the gas prices are rising to an average of $1.53 per gallon.

But the golfers at the Arrowhead Meadows are encouraging and so are the fishermen on Murray Lake.

May is a busy month as I continue to wrap up the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” Based on a consultation with mom Ella, I will be adding photos to the memoir. It is actually a joyful task to finally be able to go through the album with some perspective without the pressure of writing.

I like the pictures from Africa: the University of Khartoum and the apartments, where we lived. I actually remember them, the exotic markets and the River Nile.

I made friends while living in Khartoum, but I haven’t been able to locate them. So I don’t know if that counts, but it feels good.

Check out my May e-newsletter. I am including the Introduction and the first chapter of the memoir.

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DAY 39: may day sees tensions rise in covid-19 quarantine

May Day pole tied with ribbons signifies love and spring.

As the quarantine in Michigan continues through May 15, tensions are rising among the public with May Day strikes around the globe. Curtailed by the quarantine, the strikes took on different forms from honking horns in cars to singing on the balconies.

This time the protestors are on both sides of the COVID-19 quarantine issue. One wave of protestors is comprised of health care and essential workers fearing for their safety, the other wave fears for their economic well-being.

In Michigan, protesters were early as they swarmed the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday scaring the legislators with their rifles and signs.

“Today was scary, I won’t mince words. But the signs the protestors carried reeked of misogyny, racism and anti-semitism. I cannot imagine what it was like to walk into the Capitol today as a female person of color.”

— State Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), tweeting Thursday night about the loud, heavily armed conservative protest at the state Capitol that spilled into the building.

Millions of others defying the stay-at-home orders, opened their doors to business on this first day of May in a hurting economy.

May Day Kaleidoscope

May Day in former Czechoslovakia.

May Day aka former International Workers Day was also a national holiday in socialist Czechoslovakia.

For me, May Day remains a day of observance–a kaleidoscope of colorful bits and pieces encompassing the past and the present. It’s sort of like bringing a bouquet of fragrant lilacs to a monument; the lilacs have the same smell, but the monuments keep changing.

Just the words May Day still bring a smile to my face; even after more than 30 years of celebrating it on the Revolutionary Boulevard in then Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. We marched down the boulevard waving small flags and patriotic pompoms in the mandatory socialist parades.

If I close my eyes, I can still feel into the atmosphere of the parades, the tribunes and the socialist propaganda with the slogans and the banners on the backdrop of the blossoming lilacs. The socialist patriotic anthems were blasting from the loudspeakers including the Soviet anthem “Coyuz Nerusimij.”

We all had to Partake in the May Day parade.  Those who didn’t participate got later into trouble at work or in school like our English teacher who crumpled up a patriotic pompom. She got written up.

And I write about all this in my upcoming new book the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” Here is an excerpt:

Parades known as March of Thieves

During national holidays, the workers would steal anything and take it through the gates without being checked because there were so many of them leaving at once for the parades. So, the parades were known as the “March of Thieves.” Some parades actually started inside the factory. On the matter of overtime, one individual was selected to punch for all those, who waited somewhere outside the factory behind the gates.

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Day 38: COVID-19 quarantine virtual crop HUNGER walk

Walk virtually.   Give online.   Change the world.

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – The annual Crop Hunger Walk set for May 3 will alleviate the impact of COVID-19 related hunger due to hurting economy.

Sadly, the impact of COVID-19 is far reaching; from young people still battling the complications of the coronavirus after weeks of breathing difficulties to people impacted by the hurting economy with hunger roaming at large.

And reports have it that the food supply chain may have been broken due to COVID-19 infections at the U.S. meat processing plants.

But, hope is the light on the horizon just before the sun comes up.

I see hope in the COVID-19 survivor, who made it out of the Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC alive after 53 days. I see hope in the Ebola drug, Remdesivir.

I see hope in this year’s virtual crop walk set for May 3. To register or find a Cropwalk in your community go to:

https://www.crophungerwalk.org/lowellmi

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day-by-day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

May e-newsletters

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Day 35: COVID-19 Waste, wait & help

CZECH STAROPRAMEN WASTED

Lowell, MI – This morning I found out from the Expatriots.cz newsletter, that Prague’s Staropramen Brewery will dump hundreds of thousands of liters of beer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coming from this country, that holds monopoly on both beer production and consumption, I find this sad and excessive. Staropramen, a subsidiary of Molson Coors, could export the beer.

For more info go to:
news.expats.cz/czech-food-drink/pragues-staropramen-brewery-will-ecologically-dispose-of-hundreds-of-thousands-of-liters-of-beer/

The media reported earlier in the pandemic, that the US farmers will be dumping milk because the schools and the restaurants didn’t need it due to the shutdown. However, the cows still had to be milked.

Helping out Lowell, Canfield’s matching program until May 1

You can still buy a gift certificate to the local hair/nail salons or restaurants and Canfield Plumbing & Heating will match it up to $50 per household. We went for Sneaker’s.

THE FESTIVAL WAITING GAME 2020

Festival news from the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon

We have heard from a number of exhibitors and guests and are so thankful for the outpouring of support for the Lakeshore Art Festival and would like to provide an update for this year’s event. We are closely following the status of COVID-19 within our state and throughout the country. Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our community, artists and guests. We also understand the extreme financial burden that is being placed on artists, businesses and employees. Taking all of that into consideration and the fact that our event is in July, we have decided to wait until mid-May before we determine how to proceed with the festival. By the end of May we will provide another communication with details on the status of Lakeshore Art Festival 2020. Please note: Status may change based on new directives put forth by the Governor of Michigan.

Thank you all health care and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day quarantine coverage from Michigan.

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

day 31: poetry in the covid- 19 quarantine

Opening Michigan economy in waves

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – April is poetry month. The featured photo is a poem “Love’s Omnipresence” by Joshua Sylvester printed on an Almond Butter chocolate wrapper.

My hopes are high as we await Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s word on Friday about the possible extension of the stay-at-home order and mainly about the reopening of the Michigan economy.

Coronavirus isolation.

To the dismay of the most vulnerable people in the COVID-19 pandemic, protests have been sweeping the country to reopen the economies.

In the meantime, I moved ahead with the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” formatting on Kindle Create. The manuscript is now available for reviews. Please email Emma at emmapalova@yahoo.com for Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs).

Visit the page for reviewers:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/emmapalova.com/325962

Overall, it’s been a dark, cold and cloudy April in Michigan. We had an occassional frost in the morning. I managed only three walks to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, two walks on the trails, and a total of four zoo room meetings. But the main thing that I really feared is done until the next formatting comes up for the paperback.

I also filed for the Library of Congress cataloging number for the upcoming “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” If you wish to check that out go to:

https://www.loc.gov/

I have just found out that April is poetry month from the Library of Congress website. That’s good to know, since I love poetry, so I used Sylvester’s poem for the featured photo.

Hopefully, the economy will reopen to the satisfaction of everyone; I would be surprised if it did.

Introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir

I wrote this introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir during the unprecedented time of the coronavirus pandemic, as we celebrated the Easter Triduum in front of televised services in empty churches across the nation without audiences. 

More than half a billion people around the globe are under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. This includes my homeland, the Czech Republic. The coronavirus did not discriminate or recognized borders between the states, the countries or the continents. Time will show if this was a modern apocalypse. 

Our immigration story from former socialist Czechoslovakia to the U.S. has come full circle; from one history milestone to another one. 

The milestone that offset our journey across three continents–Europe, Africa, USA– was the reformist movement known as the Prague Spring 1968 under the leadership of Alexander Dubcek.  

The epic story of love and desire for freedom spans 52 years at the date of publishing of this memoir. The major characters, Ella and Vaclav Konecny, are my parents, to whom I have dedicated this memoir. Mom Ella was a happy pharmacist in former Czechoslovakia, while Dad Vaclav was an unhappy mathematician in the old country. 

Dad’s quest for his career fulfillment has been a constant source of inspiration for me in good and in bad times. Recently, I found out that dad was afraid in the old country of persecution by the communists due to our religious beliefs. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to fully realize his teaching ambitions. 

From the humble hometowns of Vizovice and Stipa in the hilly Moravia, we traveled to exotic places such as Khartoum in Africa, to the ancient Byblos known for its papyrus and the “City of Jasmine” Damascus in Syria with the Roman Temple of Jupiter. 

We were no strangers to dangers connected to travel in the Third World Countries. My parents had a few close calls: the tourist boat on the Nile capsized with all the people on board either drowning or the crocodiles ate them in the murky waters, a week after we were aboard the cruise. 

Then a cable car to the second highest peak in the Alps, Matterhorn, crashed also a few days after my parents were on it. 

An interview with my parents in Venice, Florida in March of 2013 revealed that the hardest trial of all was the separation from the family back in Czechoslovakia. Nothing can bring back the lost time or not being able to say the last good-byes to the loved ones, as we have recently found out during the COVID-19 quarantine. 

My parents both surprised me with an answer to my question about immigration. 

“Would you do it again?” I asked seated in their pretty white dining room with mirrors in Venice. 

The unison answer from both was a definite no. They both added their own written accounts of the immigration experience to the memoir, which I am grateful for. 

I structured the memoir in a way that all three of us tell our stories. I lead off each chapter with the storyteller part, as I remember it. Then follows either my mom’s account titled “In her own words” or dad’s experiences. 

I put emphasis on the phrase, “As we remember it.” 

The accounts may wary in details, but together they bring forth a cohesive picture of immigration through the eyes of both adults and a growing up kid. The immigration experience has left its scars on all four of us, but it has also transformed us. 

We lived through the hardline communism and the rolling capitalism. In addition to that, we are Catholics, so we have had the religious experience that is often tied to different regimes. Religion gave another dimension to our story, since it stood at the roots of our immigration together with the Prague Spring movement. 

The immigration experience touched each one of us in a different way. Here is quote from my mom Ella: 

During my lifetime, I have met a lot of good people that I wouldn’t have met in Czech Republic, because of limited travel. USA has its pluses and minuses–the society is too materialistic. In Czech Republic, we didn’t make a lot of money, but we were all equal. We had basic rights: right to work, right to education and healthcare. USA does not have that. People are afraid of socialism, but they basically don’t know what it is. I lived in socialism and I will continue to live in capitalism; one must try both regimes to know what’s better. 

On the other hand, we most likely wouldn’t have houses, if we had stayed in Czech Republic. The majority of the population lives in apartments, that is if they are lucky waiting it out on long lists. I wouldn’t have realized my author’s dream in the old country. 

The Greenwich Meridian Memoir is by no means a treatise on either of the above- mentioned regimes, then or now.  

We each were free to return back to our homeland at any point in time during the 52 years. And we have. That is our story. Come along on a journey of a lifetime. 

April, 2020 

The latest COVID-19 tally in Michigan on April 22, 2020.

Total cases: 33,966

Total deaths: 2,813

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

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

DAy 29: Working in the COVID -19 quarantine

“Hope…is the companion of power and the mother of success, for who so hopes, has within him the gift of miracles.”

– Samuel Smiles

Greenwich Meridian Memoir project update

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI -Following the quote above, I am hoping to launch my new book the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon on July 3 &4. At this point in time, there are no further details available about reopening the economy in waves in Michigan beyond May 1.

Coronavirus distancing.

I am moving ahead with the formatting of the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” on the Kindle Create platform by Amazon. I finished the front and the back matters for the book: these include the acknowledgment, dedication and intro to the book and the biography on the back.

I am including the full introduction to the book here:

Introduction to the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir”

I wrote this introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir during the unprecedented time of the coronavirus pandemic, as we celebrated the Easter Triduum in front of televised services in empty churches across the nation without audiences. 

Greenwich Meridian Memoir cover designed by Jeanne Boss.

More than half a billion people around the globe are under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. This includes my homeland, the Czech Republic. The coronavirus did not discriminate or recognized borders between the states, the countries or the continents. Time will show if this was a modern apocalypse. 

Our immigration story from former socialist Czechoslovakia to the U.S. has come full circle; from one history milestone to another one. 

The milestone that offset our journey across three continents–Europe, Africa, USA– was the reformist movement known as the Prague Spring 1968 under the leadership of Alexander Dubcek.  

The epic story of love and desire for freedom spans 52 years at the date of publishing of this memoir. The major characters, Ella and Vaclav Konecny, are my parents, to whom I have dedicated this memoir. Mom Ella was a happy pharmacist in former Czechoslovakia, while Dad Vaclav was an unhappy mathematician in the old country. 

Dad’s quest for his career fulfillment has been a constant source of inspiration for me in good and in bad times. Recently, I found out that dad was afraid in the old country of persecution by the communists due to our religious beliefs. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to fully realize his teaching ambitions. 

From the humble hometowns of Vizovice and Stipa in the hilly Moravia, we traveled to exotic places such as Khartoum in Africa, to the ancient Byblos known for its papyrus and the “City of Jasmine” Damascus in Syria with the Roman Temple of Jupiter. 

We were no strangers to dangers connected to travel in the Third World Countries. My parents had a few close calls: the tourist boat on the Nile capsized with all the people on board either drowning or the crocodiles ate them in the murky waters, a week after we were aboard the cruise. 

Then a cable car to the second highest peak in the Alps, Matterhorn, crashed also a few days after my parents were on it. 

An interview with my parents in Venice, Florida in March of 2013 revealed that the hardest trial of all was the separation from the family back in Czechoslovakia. Nothing can bring back the lost time or not being able to say the last good-byes to the loved ones, as we have recently found out during the COVID-19 quarantine. 

My parents both surprised me with an answer to my question about immigration. 

“Would you do it again?” I asked seated in their pretty white dining room with mirrors in Venice. 

The unison answer from both was a definite no. They both added their own written accounts of the immigration experience to the memoir, which I am grateful for. 

I structured the memoir in a way that all three of us tell our stories. I lead off each chapter with the storyteller part, as I remember it. Then follows either my mom’s account titled “In her own words” or dad’s experiences. 

I put emphasis on the phrase, “As we remember it.” 

The accounts may wary in details, but together they bring forth a cohesive picture of immigration through the eyes of both adults and a growing up kid. The immigration experience has left its scars on all four of us, but it has also transformed us. 

We lived through the hardline communism and the rolling capitalism. In addition to that, we are Catholics, so we have had the religious experience that is often tied to different regimes. Religion gave another dimension to our story, since it stood at the roots of our immigration together with the Prague Spring movement. 

The immigration experience touched each one of us in a different way. Here is quote from my mom Ella: 

During my lifetime, I have met a lot of good people that I wouldn’t have met in Czech Republic, because of limited travel. USA has its pluses and minuses–the society is too materialistic. In Czech Republic, we didn’t make a lot of money, but we were all equal. We had basic rights: right to work, right to education and healthcare. USA does not have that. People are afraid of socialism, but they basically don’t know what it is. I lived in socialism and I will continue to live in capitalism; one must try both regimes to know what’s better. 

On the other hand, we most likely wouldn’t have houses, if we had stayed in Czech Republic. The majority of the population lives in apartments, that is if they are lucky waiting it out on long lists. I wouldn’t have realized my author’s dream in the old country. 

The Greenwich Meridian Memoir is by no means a treatise on either of the above- mentioned regimes, then or now.  

We each were free to return back to our homeland at any point in time during the 52 years. And we have. That is our story. Come along on a journey of a lifetime. 

April, 2020 

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

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

Day 28: Friendships in COVID-19 quarantine

Contagion cannot stifle relationships

Contagion: coronavirus

By Emma Palova

Among a multitude of other things COVID-19 has impacted how people meet due to social distancing. Since there are no coffee shops or restaurants open, a meeting alternative is nature. Even some parks are closed in Michigan.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we sat on the shore of Murray Lake with a friend. I will call her Lilian. She is a pretty blonde, who usually dresses up for the smallest of occasions. Lilian arrived all disheveled, wearing her black tights and a skirt with a flashy pink sweater. Her mask has slid down her chin to the neck. She drove 18 miles so we could talk about life’s troubles outside of the contagion realm.

We didn’t hug. She rolled out her sleeping bag on the green grass. I pulled out a folding chair from the trunk, that I didn’t know I had, and set it not quite six feet apart in order to hear her in the wind.

We watched the wind whip the waves on the lake from west to northeast as a blue heron glided above the water, swiftly navigating the wind. The water in the lake had a soothing feeling on the emotions that were riding high. Even though cars and bikes kept flying on the road behind us in spite of the quarantine restrictions, we felt a sense unity in the Coronavirus isolation.

Of course, we could have talked on the phone or texted. However, some things don’t convey well via media, and this was one of them. Just the fact that we could get together helped us both relieve the tension and anxiety of the last few weeks.

“Sorry, that I look like thrash,” I apologized for my Up North orange sweatpants and a black jacket with a ripped zipper. My hair was a mess too, due to the wind and the lack of a proper haicut.

“That’s ok, I had the same clothes on yesterday,” Lilian said looking at me.

“We finally meet under these circumstances,” I said. “It took Coronavirus for us to meet.”

During normal times before the virus, we had ample opportunities to meet in the eclectic cafes or restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. Seldom, we took the advantage of our freedom to meet, until yesterday.

What will the next meeting look like?

Work front in the quarantine

On the work front, I continued with my front and back matters for the upcoming book, the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” I will include the introduction in one of the upcoming daily posts.

Since the COVID-19 quarantine has impacted everything around us including book marketing, I was happy to find out that May is the National Novel Promoting Month brought to us by the goodwill of the NaNoWriMo organizers.

Join us in May.

Michigan may re-open on May 1

Below is a link to a warning from Dr. Fauci about premature opening of the economy.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/493647-fauci-warns-protests-against-against-stay-at-home-orders-will

Check out also the newest post on our partner site “Fallasburg Today” at

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

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