Saturday, November 3, 2012

SEPIA SATURDAY #150

Alan and Kat tossed something unusual into the ring for us all this week, but it took me a while to recognize it!

In the Sepia Saturday #150 photo, there are the obvious themes: men, men in hats, men at sports, playing fields, uniforms – even a single pipe-smoking man in a crowd of men in hats, men at sports, etc.
This’ll be a snap, I thought.
I searched through my old family photos and found lots of suits, hats, men smoking pipes, athletic events and even a couple of shots of playing fields, but nothing seemed to click for me, not really.
And then it hit me.
I went back to the Sepia Saturday site, looked at the photograph again.
“Can you make out what the (albeit reversed) hand-writing says on the right-hand side of this image?” Kat wrote.

Reversed writing?

How about mirror writing!

I found this postcard in a flea market in Maine. It was written in the early 1900s to a young woman named Annie Dyer. It fascinated me so much that I included it in my postcard book, published last spring, and here’s some shameless self-promotion about that book: hop on to my website (www.debgould.com) or Amazon and look for Father is here...he’s as fat as a pig.

I’ve enlarged the message to make it easier to read. The first part is easy enough: “Dearest Annie – Just a line this morn. I rec’d your letter and was very glad to hear from that dear little Dyer girl. Annie hold this up to a looking glass and read it.”

It’s the rest of it that’s amazing.

If you’ve got a parent who can mirror-write, then you yourself have a 50% shot at being able to do it. And if you’re left-handed, your chances are better, too. Famous mirror writers? Well, how about Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote lots of his notes in mirror writing; one theory is that it was harder for people to decipher his ideas, another is that he could write faster – he was left-handed, so his hand would smudge the ink as he wrote, and writing right-to-left gave time for the ink to dry without smearing.

So, print the image, then hold it up to a mirror and read the rest of the message to Annie Dyer.
Then give it a try yourself – let me know if we’ve got any mirror-writers out in Sepia Saturday Land!

Note: Be sure to visit http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com to see what connections others have made!

 

23 comments:

  1. It's hard to read, the disadvantages (besides the mirroring) for me being the foreign language and the handwriting. I didn't know the expression 'to make eyes at somebody' so I've learned something new today. Writing from right to left is easy, reading it back is the hard part...

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    1. Oh, Rob -- there are lots of "eye" idioms in this country; "making eyes" at somebody is an old one, and so is somebody who is "very easy on the eye..." Hmmmm...this might be a fun post sometime!

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  2. I haven't left the computer for a mirror, but I will try your challenge. Interesting theory about da Vinci. Two of my kids are lefties - smudges and dirty hands were always a problem.

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  3. I have tried to read the writing with a mirror but it is still not easy to read.

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  4. The interesting devices people thought up to keep their notes secret...my friend recently told me she and her friends learned braille in high school so they could pass secret notes to her friends in class. If they got caught it was just a piece of paper with dots on it.

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    1. Boy, that's dedication to a cause, yes?

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  5. I'm sorry to disappoint you, I am right-handed and neither of my parents was able to mirror-write. So I rather use MS Paint instead. So I can tell you everything about Chesley who seems to be fired etc. etc. :-)
    @Rob, I remember a song called "Ma!, he's making eyes at me". Wikipedia says it is by Lena Zavaroni, a Scottish girl but that i don't remember.

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    1. I remember that song, too, Peter -- somebody like the Maguire sisters sang it...the last line being "Ma! He's kissing me!" From the 1940s I think.

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  6. You win the prize this week for the most creative use of the photo prompt.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy -- but I kind of like the pipe one, too!

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  7. The mirror writing looks awfully shaky. I could probably print backwards fairly easily, but I have enough trouble with normal handwriting.

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  8. Mirror-writing...seems terribly difficult to me. Of course, I'm right-handed. My hubby is left-handed though. I wonder if it would be difficult for him.

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  9. Fascinating. I held the mirror up to the computer screen but I didn't make anything more out of it than the others have. Poor Chesley getting fired- I wonder what he did wrong.

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  10. Just want you all to know that I found a way to do this mirror writing thing: get two pieces of paper, put one on the left, one on the right; a pen or pencil in each hand, then write slowly with your dominant hand, letting the other move in opposition -- both hands are moving outward from the middle. In the end, your non-dominant hand will mirror-write! Mine looked awful, but when I held it up to the mirror, it was definitely mirror writing! Good luck!

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  11. I never heard of mirror writing before...you have posted quite a challenge here and will wait until tomorrow, earlier in the day to attempt..hmmm

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  12. I'm going to try your technique, but it sounds daunting.

    I had a classmate in high school who could write in mirror writing, but as far as I know he's the only one I've ever met. Then again, I don't suppose people include that information when they introduce themselves.

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    1. Maybe not, Christine, but you gotta admit it might work as a great pick-up line..."Hi, I'm Adam, and I can mirror-write!" I'd certainly respond to that one!

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  13. I'd forgotten about mirror writing. And now for the life of me I cannot remember the different things we did as children to try and make our messages secret. I know we were always inventing codes, but then we had to write the code down to give to the other person. I don't think we fooled anybody. Should have learned to do the mirror writing instead.

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    1. I've got a few postcards written in code -- maybe I should post them!

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  14. I think this is well beyond my abilities—especially since I'm in that "time change" mindset, and can barely type this comment, much less mirror-write. Did we find anyone who could?

    Fascinating stuff though!

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  15. I used to be able to mirror write, but the good Sisters of St Ann "insisted" on me using my right hand... Didn't bother me that much as I am ambidextrous!!!
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  16. I had never heard of mirror writing, not I want to try it! I'll add it to my long list of "want to do's."

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