I am supposed to consolidate my position and clarify my goals, according to today’s horoscope for the determined Taurus.
I especially like the quote from Bruce Lee: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
That’s a pretty heavy quote that has inspired this entire post. To answer the last part of it; I am refining the content of the Greenwich Meridian memoir about our family immigration saga.
Inspired by Stephen and Owen King’s cooperation on the latest “Sleeping Beauties: A Novel”, I asked my mom Ella to write two chapters for the memoir. I would not be able to write them, because during mom’s second time around in the USA, I wasn’t with her. I was still back in Czechoslovakia.
I wrongfully called Chapter 13, “First years in America.” And surely mom struggled with that, because it was her second time around from 1980 to present. After more than an hour on the phone, we clarified that.
During mom’s writing process, dad discovered a precious document; his bio when he was applying for jobs. It was stored away in old luggage in the basement, where I would have never found it.
This document, probably from the 1970s, and my parents’ involvement will help move the memoir along. For months, I struggled with it. I got stuck halfway through the manuscript.
Lowell, MI- Big birthdays. We all have them. What is a big birthday? Do you remember your big birthdays, what did you do, where, with whom and what happened?
If you can answer the questions above, without looking at photos, it was a big birthday.
Today, on March 1st, our son Jakub Pala is celebrating his 30th birthday with the slogan:
“Got 30, Jake?”
He was born on a chilly damp Sunday morning in former Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia in 1987. So, says his birth certificate. Neither the city nor the country exist under those names. They are now, the city of Zlin, Czech Republic, which is part of the European Union.
In 1987, the “Porodnice” or the birthing center was on the cutting edge with the “rooming in” accommodations for the newborns with their mothers. Before that, the babies were separated from their mothers, and the nurses brought out the babies to their mothers only for nursing. The babies were all changed, snug and clean. They were only crying because they were hungry.
Speaking ironically of the “bad communist” healthcare in former Czechoslovakia, we stayed in the hospital for a week, before we were released for home. The staff washed and folded the cloth diapers and newborn shirts in the traditional birthing centers.
I’ve had it both ways; traditional and “rooming-in.” Each was an experience to remember, as any mom can attest to that, in any country, and in any regime.
With the first baby “Doc Emma” born in April 1979, husband and daddy Ludek came to say hi to us under the windows of the “Porodnice” in Gottwaldow surrounded by pine trees.
Daddies and families were not allowed inside. Ludek had to give the flowers to the nurse, who set them in a vase on my bedside stand, along with a novel. I am trying to remember what I was reading back then. I could use it now on the “Goodreads” platform, for a book review. Just, kidding. However, I do think it was in that birthing room in 1979, that I decided I wanted to write for a living, to make other people happy.
I came home with “Doc Emma” on Easter weekend in 1979 to the smell of hot homemade chicken soup with dumplings that I will never forget, after the awful tomato gravies at the hospital.
Mom Ella made the soup, all worried about the new addition to the family house hold. We lived in a four-bedroom flat at the housing mega complex known as “Southern Slopes” or “Jizni Svahy” in Gottwaldov.
The “Southern Slopes” complex still exists and it’s growing. I witnessed that during my most recent visit to Czech Republic in January.
Eight years later, with the second baby, now regional distribution manager “Hotshot Jake,” daddy Ludek and “Doc Emma” came to say hi to the window of the “rooming-in” birthing center on the grounds of the Gottwaldov Hospital, still surrounded by pine trees.
“Oh, mom,” he’s ugly,” said “Doc Emma” throwing her big red hair around.
Yeah, “Hotshot Jake” wasn’t the best looking baby having the newborn jaundice, few hairs sticking out, screaming and kicking like crazy.
“Is he eating and when are you coming home,” Daddy Ludek, always practical, asked.
Ludek was all giddy, that we had a boy. He had visions of paying for a big drinking round at the pub “U Byka” aka “At the Bull” in his hometown of Stipa.
“Hopefully soon,” I answered.
The second delivery at the cutting edge “rooming in” birthing center, still in communist Gottwaldov, wasn’t as convenient as the one with “Doc Emma.”
There were seven mothers with their babies in one big room. That’s 14 bodies; I don’t think anyone had twins. We had the cribs with the infants by our beds. The nurses came in only to assist “as needed.” Whatever that means. In the morning, we all faced together the feared “rounds” known as visitation. In vain, we were hoping we would be released that same day.
If a baby was screaming loud enough that it kept awake the entire building, then the nurse would take the “culprit” with her to the nurses’ quarters somewhere down the hall, where it smelled of disinfectants.
If the babies slept after nursing, we folded the cloth diapers and the tiny shirts for newborns. We ate in the room whatever the hospital cooked for all patients. No, menu style here. I just remember, the horrid tomato soup or gravy, with the soggy dumplings sprawled all over the plate.
With the release from the “Porodnice” after a week-long drill of learning how to take care of the newborn, I breathed with relief stating:
Today, from a distance of 30 plus years and 6,000 kilometers, I look back at that time in “Porodnice” in communist Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, with a smile on my face.
The “babies” have grown up into colorful characters, fashionable, cute “Doc Emma” who resides in France, and handsome “Hotshot Jake.”
They will soon be leaving with their spouses for a big 30th birthday trip, to Bali in Indonesia. The exotic trip comes as a compliment of the ever-generous “Doc Emma.”
In the meantime, we get to watch their extensions for continued joy.
Some of you know them. They bring joy to our lives. Say hi to them when you see them out and about.
Thank you for the beautiful tapestry, called life.
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“It will increase traffic to the blog a lot,” said editor Lori Kilchermann. “I will do some promos in the coming days and weeks.”
This has been my goal for a long time. I finally feel like I have stepped into the future. I worked for the Sentinel from 1998 to 2003, and I received several awards for community and mental health reporting. Internet was still a baby at the time and so were RSS feeds, content writing and social media.
The EW Emma’s Writings blog on the WordPress platform features a mix of local and international stories in support of the publication of my memoir Greenwich Meridian where East meets west. The memoir is about our family immigration saga now spanning three generations. I will dedicate the memoir to my mother Ella Konecny who suffered the most with immigration.
I established the blog in January of 2013 to increase exposure on the Internet. It has been steadily growing both in audience and content. The page About People is just like its title suggests about interesting people from the area such as Connie Elsasser with her carriage rides, the Ionia Community Mental Health director Bob Lathers or the Kropf apple legend.
I update the blog twice a week and use my photography. Other users of WordPress include CNN, Bangor Daily, TechCrunch, Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.
I use WordPress themes 2014, Skylark, Hemingway re-written, Splendio and more.
I also started to write and design blogs for other people. Blogs are dynamic, fast and versatile. Search engines like them and they drive traffic to sites. If you want me to design and write your blog e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote. I can also teach you how to blog to drive traffic to your business and websites.
I love blogging because of the great feedback I get my readers.
I hope you will enjoy my writings and photography also on http://emmapalova.com and editionemma.wordpress.com
Watch for my stories from the Mississippi River. I now accomplished 127 posts on WordPress. I am looking forward to the next 100.
As I approach my one year anniversary with Word Press on Jan. 15th I have to share this inspirational message or a writing prompt that goes so well with my memoir “Greenwich Meridian.”
My Rumanian friend and colleague on Word Press poet Valeriu Dg Barbu liked this timeline photo on my facebook in the same fashion I liked his childhood photo and poem Thief. Now, I understand why.
I was in this high plateau desert with Saguaro forest near Tucson AZ in 1972 with my parents and then in 2011 with my daughter Emma only to find out that nothing has changed.
“Do you remember this?”Emma asked.
And there were the same cacti as when I was in my beloved Saguaro desert as a child since they live up to 100 to 200 years. There was even the same old visitor’s building even though it was closed and a new center had opened nearby.
It was a very humbling experience and I had to ask myself a question.
“Have I changed?”
Sure, physically I have. I am older and I don’t have the romantic long hair so admired by both men and women.
I still get the same old question whenever I come back to Czech Republic for a visit.
“Why did you cut your hair?” neighbor Milena and a friend both asked me at first sight.
But, I am still the same ambitious and hard- driving creature never afraid to tackle new things, look to the sky and reach for the stars. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in the USA. I would probably still be whining back in Czech, swearing at the regime and complaining about my vice-president job for an engineering firm located at Zarami, Zlin.
I am very happy here in the US as a successful author, journalist & photographer. I am thankful to my entrepreneurial surroundings and friends including Word Press, facebook & Google+
Also inspired by the Sonoran desert, my dad former Ferris State University professor Vaclav Konecny immortalized the majestic saguaro in his oil on black velvet painting “Saguaro cacti at night” in the 70s. He did it again as a present for me in the 1990s with the same impeccable quality of a mathematician.
So styles and personalities basically don’t change.
I think everyone should ask themselves that same question: Have I changed since a certain humbling moment in my life?
I embarked on this journey through my memories called “Greenwich Meridian where East meets West” on December 12, 2012 after being asked by many colleagues, friends and acquaintances to write our story. I have attempted several times to pen our immigration saga now spanning three generations. I saved evidence of such attempts like the personal essay, “Fire on Water.” I used the same title for my novel based on the communist experience from former Czechoslovakia. Some trace elements of the story can be found in a newspaper article about my naturalization as a U.S. citizen in 1999, “Lowell woman gets naturalized.” It was syndicated by the Associated Press and well received by the audience. I got phone calls from all over Michigan. Finally, I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of writing for the pleasure of others. Until recently I have been writing mostly for information capturing tragedies, disasters, events, politics and corrupt police chiefs or superintendents. However, my forte are human interest stories often about ordinary people doing unusual things either by their own will or against it. The memoir is a true work of creative non-fiction in which I combine real life exotic settings like Africa with real life people, who are either put in a bizarre situation or get into one by their own doings. Today, on this Mothers Day, I dedicate the book to my mother Ella Konecny who suffered the most in immigration because as Mr. Jan Skvor said at a Czechoslovak Conference for Arts and Science in Emigration in Horgen, Switzerland, 1970. “Immigration is not for missies.” For me immigration has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. And that includes studying calculus, seeing my grandparents through their illness to the end and living by myself with two young children, so I could leave the country to join my husband. And now by writing about it, I am reliving it. But, I want to preserve some of the events, and to a certain point even history. I have no regrets. America has helped me realize my dream of writing. I would do it all over again. I have a Daruma doll used by Japanese businessmen for motivation and to stay on task. One of my former editors gave it to me when I was facing a tough project. When things are not going your way, you just knock it down. A little steel ball at the bottom makes it bounce back. You also color only one eye, and once the project is complete you color the other eye. So, Daruma has been watching me pounding away on my keyboard at early morning hours chapter after chapter.
“Life went by so fast,” said mom when we talked about immigration in Venice, Florida and at the Selby Gardens.