Black Candelabra: The Dewey Decimal System
This weeks challenge starts with a game. First, select four numbers between zero and nine. If you like, you may choose two of a single number within this group of four. I chose 1970.
Next, create three 3-digit numbers using your selections from the first step. Mine: 170.
Next, visit this Dewey Decimal System website and find the subjects that match your three digit numbers. If one of your results turns up “not assigned or no longer used,” you may create a new 3-digit number to replace it from the original four you selected.
Some results will be broad categories (diseases) and some will be more specific (Bible). For any broad category you turn up, choose something specific within that category. Specific topics can be kept as-is. 170 Ethics (moral philosophy)
This will leave you with three things that must be incorporated into your post this week. However, this should not be an exercise in one-mention-and-done. Elevate your three results to the level of setting, character, theme, or other major component in your post.
The number chosen, 1970, was the year my first child was born. This was a major year change for me, moving back to Urbino in Italy from Switzerland. We moved into a modern apartment outside the city wall. My pen friend, Ceri, in Cornwell sent me pamphlets telling me about what to expect in pregnancy, as there appeared to be no education available for new mothers. Being a foreigner, I felt like an outsider looking in.
People were friendly. It was not just the language barrier; it was far more than that. The doctor told me to eat for two, and when I asked about nutrients, he suggested eating lots of pasta and spinach. No mention of watching alcohol intake, or smoking less. Fortunately I didn’t smoke, and alcohol consumption was minimal. Pastries were a temptation that I couldn’t deny. So I expanded, even though the doctor had mentioned he thought my hips were too narrow to give birth to a baby, not very comforting words to a young mother to be.
My friend Martha, who lived at Via Bramante 70, (sorry, not 170) helped me feel part of the place. We walked and talked. Martha did not speak English, and so my broken Italian gradually improved.
My Italian husband was not happy with his new teaching position. Having worked in different countries, he now observed Italian culture from an outsider’s perspective and no longer agreed with the way things were done.
As it was expected, I suggested inviting his boss, the professor, home for a meal. Umberto refused, as he didn’t agree with the dishonesty that was prevalent at that time in the department. His moral dignity meant that he didn’t fit in, and he soon found his position untenable.
Baby Francesca was born in a fourteenth century nunnery that had been converted into a hospital. The twenty- nine steps to enter were symbolic of the lack of thought for its purpose. A summer thunderstorm announced Francesca’s safe arrival, followed by my mother, Martha, Massimo, Umberto and Robi all surrounding me in the hospital room with alcohol and strawberries ready for a party. Francesca observed with a knowingness, having been here before.
Umberto had been right about the Professor, as he’d claimed Umberto’s work as his own. Should he have tried to fit in and keep his head down? I think he was right to stick with his moral judgment and leave. Even though it meant selling our new white goods below their valued price, we had to continue paying for the goods well after we had left them behind, returning to Switzerland.