It’s my birthday and Mother’s Day at the same time.
This coincidence with another holiday has been a part of my life, no matter where I lived.
Back in the old country of Czechoslovakia, my birthday coincided with the Czech Independence Day. We’ve always had it off as a national holiday.
Later, the new Czech regime changed the holiday to May 8, when the American troops freed the town of Pilsner from the Nazi occupation. But the capital Prague was freed by the Soviet troops on May 9 which ended World War II. You can’t change history.
I love the dichotomy that the country kept the old socialist holidays like the International Women’s Day and added Western holidays like Mother’s Day.
My mom always says that the entire country breaks into blossoms to celebrate.
I love May because of the awakening of nature after the long winter.
I always get orchids for my birthday as they are my favorite flowers. I have a pretty decent collection of phalaenopsis orchids known as moth orchids.
This year I am so grateful for the vaccine and for the good news from our son. We’ve had one dose of Moderna vaccine already, and we’re gearing up for the second one.
Happy Mother’s Day
I am feeling blessed to be a mother and privileged to be doing what I love the most: writing.
I am looking forward to this selling season as the country opens up. I am excited about my new podcast show “For the love of books” featuring Indie authors. Become a guest or a sponsor.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes and blessings.
Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
Cover photo of tulips by Emma White Darling of Parnell, MI.
Copyright (c) 2016. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
International Women’s Day honors women around the world with different events
By EMMA PALOVA
EW Emma’s Writings
Czech Republic celebrates women on March 8th during the International Women’s Day (IWD). And it is definitely making a comeback considering all the posts on social media.
Check out my last year’s series IW Inspiring Women leading up to this event with the orchid logo. I profiled women from all walks of life: teachers, politicians, businesswomen, non-profit workers and long distance hikers.
Here are pictures of some of the women I wrote about in the series.
It was a big day for women in former Czechoslovakia.
They received flowers, chocolates, cakes and nylons.
. It was also a reason for men to drink to our health.
What I love is that the country kept both the old observations of special days, while picking up on new ones like Mother’s Day. That way they doubled up on fun.
Globally, the International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political, economic achievements of women around the world while focusing on areas needing attention.
This year’s theme is, “Pledge for Parity.”
I’ve always been all about change in everything, but this area of change in women’s equality around the world has always been close to my heart.
I lived in Africa for many years, where a woman meant nothing. I’ve seen women sit in the dirt at the markets nursing their babies with their older children running around them in the 110F heat. And they were all begging for money.
The well-to-do women wore long saris from head to toe.
The majority of dad’s students at the University of Khartoum were men.
In this election year democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton about equal pay for women.
I find it hard to believe that in 2016, there still isn’t equality in the workplace.
According to IWD 2016 hub, the vast array of communication channels, research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives allow everyone to be an advocate inspiring change for women’s advancement.
Shocked by the life of the African women, I’ve always wanted to do my share to help the cause through awareness and writing.
And the local SowHope organization based in Rockford also believes in inspiring women around the world by promoting education, wellness and economic opportunities. This year’s IWD theme is Pledge for Parity.
“As I traveled I saw the plight of women around the world,” said president Mary Daily Brown.
This is the 10th year for the organization that has helped thousands of women through various programs such as literacy classes and health programs.
“We’ve had photo exhibits in the past to raise money, now we’re doing the documentary screening,” said Brown.
To raise awareness and money for women around the world, the event celebrating IWD was held on March 3. Brown talked about non-profit work with women in the Reflections speech at the Wege Ballroom.
Today is a big day. As I write to the rhythm of the rain, morning chirping of the birds and to the frantic panting of my dog and husband, I still have my feet wet from the patio. I had to move the phlox and the moss roses from the garage out into the rain.
It’s May 9th, it’s my birthday. I was born on the national holiday in former Czechoslovakia. On that day, the nation’s capital Prague, the mother of all cities, was freed from the Nazi occupation by the Soviet Army. That was the end of World War II.
Many years later, I was born in the wee hours at 4 a.m. to parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny. My mom woke up to the cracking noises of fireworks announcing the anniversary of the victory.
“I thought it was war again, but then I realized those were fireworks celebrating your birth,” she said to me this morning as she wished me a happy birthday. “The whole nation celebrated.”
Mom says that to me every year, as the nature too celebrates the awakening after long winter.
“The nature blossoms on your birthday,” she says. “You always had the day off and a parade.”
The above note is one of the many reasons why I dedicated the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west” to my mother.
100 Posts & beyond
This post is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and the constant friction that I have witnessed between sisters in this world.
Mom Ella and aunt Anna
As I watch people drop like flies around me, I realize how time is going by fast. I like the inscription on the clock in the living room, “Tempus fugit.” That’s why I bought that pendulum clock as one of the first things when I arrived on this continent in 1989 for $110. Not that I had that kind of money. I just wanted the clock so bad, that I probably borrowed money for it. It announces the time by boldly striking every full and half hour. My husband Ludek still has to wind it by hand much like the clock that the in-laws had at home in the old country.
“They probably wouldn’t even let us know if she’s dead,” mom said. “You write the wedding invite. She’s your aunt and godmother.”
We bought the card that had written “Sisters” in the sand on it in Venice, Florida.
“I’ll pay for her air ticket, but not for him,” Mom said angrily. “Anyna won’t be able to translate that. She’s not going to come anyway.” Anyna is a slanderous nickname for the pretty name Anna.
Mom was referring to my uncle whom we once fancied as “Jean” rather the ordinary Czech John. We took that from the French movies that we had devoured like crazy in old Czechoslovakia.
That was more than quarter of a century ago before the big family dispute.
“But we don’t even know if he’s alive,” I argued. “I’ll just write it and we’ll see.”
Unintentionally, we sent the invite off without any contact numbers or addresses. Subconscious at its best.
“Write it again,” mom said last week. “This is her last chance to make up with me.”
To be continued as part of the ongoing series 100 Posts & beyond
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.