The Ten Weeks, A Note About School Terminology

Although the Island had a wide variety of school systems, their terminology for grades and divisions was fairly consistent from country to country. As is the case with schools in the U.S., Island schools had twelve regular graded divisions. The first six made up “primary’ school and the last six “secondary” schools, corresponding to U.S. …

The Ten Weeks, 25 December, See the Blazing Yule Before Us

It took Madeleine longer than usual to get ready, but that was the beauty of Midnight Mass—no celebration of the sacred mysteries afforded the faithful more time to prepare during the day. As midnight approached, they made their way from the Evan Point area they lived in across Central Avenue to the Sacred Heart Cathedral. …

The Ten Weeks, 24 December, So Do I Go to Confession?

Christmas Eve at the des Cieux residence started off with breakfast. The presence of all four members of the family was a sign that normality was returning. Madeleine was the last to come to the table. Still moving slowly, she eased herself into her seat and said grace as the rest of the family followed …

The Ten Weeks, 23 December, What Women Are Expected To Do

Winter on the Island was always called “the dry season,” but this year was dryer than usual, and around 3ºC warmer too. As the morning progressed and the temperature passed through 18ºC, another very nice day was in the making at the Stanley Farm and Supply Store. The store was located about halfway between Hallett …

The Ten Weeks, 21 December, The Doctors Have Done All They Can Do

Monday brought an endless battery of medical tests to Madeleine’s life, convincing her and her mother that getting to the diagnosis was worse than than the disease itself. Finally at 1630, the doctor decided to release Madeleine, convinced that they had little additional to contribute, and satisfied that the des Cieux could give her sufficient …

The Ten Weeks, 20 December, Arguing With the Bishop

Without Carla, the des Cieux had to take up the slack of supplementing what the hospital could do for her. Pierre brought in a small shortwave radio and they were able to listen to broadcasts from back home, dispensing with the non-functional television. The family took times about going home to rest, to get more …

The Ten Weeks, 19 December, A Miracle, Even With a Baptist

Pierre and Yveline were still asleep when the phone rang about 1000. “Allo!” he said, not fully aware as to what country he was in. “Mr. des Cieux?” the girl’s voice came back. “Yes, it is.” “It’s Carla. Madeleine is awake. Her fever has broken. She’s awake, soaking wet and hungry.” There was a long …

The Ten Weeks, 18 December, At Death’s Door in the Midst of Lead Paint

Raymond was the early bird the next morning; he had arranged an early morning tennis match with Deidre, so her mother came and got him before Pierre had the chance to arouse himself with East Island coffee, closer to what he was used to than the more American brew the Verecundans drank. Arthur came a …

The Ten Weeks, 17 December, Schmoozing the Elites the Old Way

Pierre was unusual in that he was a second-generation expatriate; his father worked for the same company that he did, and Pierre himself was born in China where his father had been posted after surviving the trenches of la Grande Guerre. After two generations of des Cieux going abroad, Pierre had the deep sense that, …

The Ten Weeks, 16 December, At the “Plantation”

The Amherst Estate was, after the Royal one, the single largest holding in the Kingdom of Serelia, especially since those of their rivals the Cavitts and Masters had brutally passed into the Crown’s holdings. The nerve centre of the estate was the family mansion, situated at the end of a spur off of the Old …

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