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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Experiment

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  • Sarah Michele Ford
    ... Good luck - I would keep your glasses close at hand so that you can put them on if you need to. I did this experiment unwittingly several years ago (we
    Message 1 of 26 , Nov 3, 2006
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      On 11/3/06, asackville@... <asackville@...> wrote:

      > I'm going to an event tomorrow and I thought I'd try an experiment by
      > not wearing my glasses nor contacts to the event. I'll obviously drive
      > there with my glasses on, but once I'm in garb, remove them just to
      > see what it would be like to have to deal with the inconvienience of
      > not being able to see clearly much at all. I don't intend to sit still
      > in my place all day. Not at all. I have three classes I want to take
      > plus a possible stint doing Royalty duty. The whole discussion several
      > weeks back on eyewear made me curious and I'm willing to give it a try
      > just to see (ha!) what it would be like if I there wasn't the option
      > of contacts for me, not that I see all that stellarly in my
      > contacts.... Wish me luck

      Good luck - I would keep your glasses close at hand so that you can
      put them on if you need to. I did this experiment unwittingly several
      years ago (we were on an overnight trip, one of my contacts tore, and
      of course I'd forgotten my glasses) and it was not a pleasant
      experience. I have 20/400 vision and I very quickly got a killer
      headache and had to hang on to Matatias' arm when walking because I
      couldn't perceive changes in terrain and so I kept tripping on things.

      Alianor de R.
    • Julie Stackable, SCA Margaret Hepburn
      ... by ... I ll chime in with take some Advil or Tylenol with you - whatever works for you for headaches. Whenever I have to go without my glasses or contacts,
      Message 2 of 26 , Nov 3, 2006
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        > On 11/3/06, asackville@... <asackville@...> wrote:
        >
        > > I'm going to an event tomorrow and I thought I'd try an experiment
        by
        > > not wearing my glasses nor contacts to the event.

        I'll chime in with take some Advil or Tylenol with you - whatever
        works for you for headaches. Whenever I have to go without my glasses
        or contacts, I inevitably spend the whole time trying to focus and see
        things even though I know I can't and after about an hour, I get one
        of those 'spike through the back of my head' headaches. I've
        considered trying it, but I've never been brave enough - good luck to
        you.
        Toujours a vos ordres,
        Margaret Hepburn
      • asackville@juno.com
        No Advil nor anything will be necessary. I ve had to forego glasses before, and for several hours. I ve needed to take my contacts out at the Ren. Faire where
        Message 3 of 26 , Nov 3, 2006
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          No Advil nor anything will be necessary. I've had to forego glasses
          before, and for several hours. I've needed to take my contacts out at
          the Ren. Faire where I work in the summer and cannot use my glasses.
          It's one of those things out there. We strive for historical accuracy
          and most of our glasses are too modern to pass muster. If you can't
          safely function without them if you need to remove your contacts, then
          get out of costume and you're done for the day. Our Guildemaster, who
          wears glasses, abides by this as well. I needed a seeing-eye courtier
          to avoid the tree stumps, but trying to force my eyes to focus is
          something I know cannot do, so why strain myself to try doing it and
          give myself a headache? Everything will be in a nice, pleasant, fuzzy
          haze. If I've done it before where there is uneven ground and tree
          stumps trying to kill you, then I can do it easily at an indoor site
          with a nice even floor.

          Fionnuala
        • Wanda Pease
          Hi all, ... LUCK!!! That s going to be an interesting experiment. I ll be interested in how you fared several hours into being without glasses. I had a
          Message 4 of 26 , Nov 3, 2006
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            Hi all,
            >
            > I'm going to an event tomorrow and I thought I'd try an experiment by
            > not wearing my glasses nor contacts to the event. I'll obviously drive
            > there with my glasses on, but once I'm in garb, remove them just to
            > see what it would be like to have to deal with the inconvienience of
            > not being able to see clearly much at all. I don't intend to sit still
            > in my place all day. Not at all. I have three classes I want to take
            > plus a possible stint doing Royalty duty. The whole discussion several
            > weeks back on eyewear made me curious and I'm willing to give it a try
            > just to see (ha!) what it would be like if I there wasn't the option
            > of contacts for me, not that I see all that stellarly in my
            > contacts.... Wish me luck

            LUCK!!!

            That's going to be an interesting experiment. I'll be interested in how you
            fared several hours into being without glasses. I had a complete mental
            breakdown on Tuesday because I though I had to be at work by 8am for an
            online/teleconference class. Of course everything that possibly could go
            wrong the moment my feet hit the carpet. I got in at 4 minutes to 8 and
            suddenly realized that I was rubbing my eyes and not having to reach around
            glasses! Horrors! I had forgotten to get my glasses off the night stand.

            I've worn glasses since I was 7 years old and almost never forgotten them
            before. I've been told every time I've asked that I'm not a good candidate
            for surgery (Hope springs eternal) because my problem is likely to come back
            shortly. Sigh!

            Desperately I dialed in and found out that the Expletive Deleted conference
            call was 8pm Eastern Standard Time - I'm there at 8am Pacific Standard time.
            Grrr... Next thing I find myself on the phone and the day simply progresses
            with me with no glasses and no time to go home and retrieve them. By the
            end of the day I was doing fairly well identifying individual words on my
            screen without enlarging them.

            My brother, the cheapskate, spent years avoiding glasses and telling
            everyone that he could see perfectly well because he did eye exercises every
            morning and evening which strengthened his eye muscles. I don't know if it
            actually really worked, but at 65 he only recently had to get prescription
            ones because the magnifiers they sell for a couple of bucks at the pharmacy
            weren't working for him any more.

            I wonder if the medieval person wouldn't invent all kinds of work arounds
            for being without glasses. They wouldn't miss them because they had never
            had clearer vision, or the blurring came on slowly. At 80 my father had
            cataracts removed. He said it was incredible how clear everything was. He
            just hadn't noticed a difference because the problem had gotten worse so
            slowly.

            Certainly I'm not going to make the experiment of spending several days
            without my glasses (everyone who uses the roads in Oregon should now give
            thanks.) Nor do I expect anyone else to do so. Mistress Arlys' wonderful
            embroidery is worth the price of a bit of "face jewelry". So are the many
            people who recognize the difference between a tree and one of their friends,
            a la Mr. Magoo!

            As I say, it will be an interesting experiment and I'll be interested in
            hearing the results just for information purposes.

            Regina
            >
            >
          • Carmen Beaudry
            Hi all, ... Very cool, let us know how it goes. Melusine
            Message 5 of 26 , Nov 3, 2006
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              Hi all,
              >
              > I'm going to an event tomorrow and I thought I'd try an experiment by
              > not wearing my glasses nor contacts to the event. I'll obviously drive
              > there with my glasses on, but once I'm in garb, remove them just to
              > see what it would be like to have to deal with the inconvienience of
              > not being able to see clearly much at all. I don't intend to sit still
              > in my place all day. Not at all. I have three classes I want to take
              > plus a possible stint doing Royalty duty. The whole discussion several
              > weeks back on eyewear made me curious and I'm willing to give it a try
              > just to see (ha!) what it would be like if I there wasn't the option
              > of contacts for me, not that I see all that stellarly in my
              > contacts.... Wish me luck
              >
              > Fionnuala

              Very cool, let us know how it goes.

              Melusine
            • Andrea Pfeifer
              Hello to the list, I do this whenever I am in an exposed position or wearing fancy headgear (usually at feast, when I don t have to see much further beyond
              Message 6 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
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                Hello to the list,

                I do this whenever I am in an exposed position or wearing fancy
                headgear (usually at feast, when I don't have to see much further
                beyond what's going on at my table), don't have to do needlework and
                the event isn't too crowded. At the first event I tried this I
                actually didn't realise that a bunch of my aquaintances are there
                until the end of the event because I can only see the people close
                around me properly. By now they have learned that I am not being rude
                when I don't say hello but simply cannot see them so they have to
                come closer and say hello themselves.
                The biggest problem for me is not being able to do work, i.e. kitchen
                work, needle work, other A&S related things without my glasses. So I
                will wear them whenever I work, but when I am just there to look
                pretty (TM) I will not wear them.

                But that is one experience that is going to be different for each
                person, very much depending on how bad your eyes are and what you do
                in the Society.

                Also curious how it went for you...
                Carolin
              • Cynthia J Ley
                ... Thank you, Sweet Cousin. :-) I don t wear glasses most of the time but have to have them to be able to embroider--otherwise I can t distinguish between the
                Message 7 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
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                  > Certainly I'm not going to make the experiment of spending several
                  > days
                  > without my glasses (everyone who uses the roads in Oregon should now
                  > give
                  > thanks.) Nor do I expect anyone else to do so. Mistress Arlys'
                  > wonderful
                  > embroidery is worth the price of a bit of "face jewelry". So are
                  > the many
                  > people who recognize the difference between a tree and one of their
                  > friends,
                  > a la Mr. Magoo!

                  Thank you, Sweet Cousin. :-) I don't wear glasses most of the time but
                  have to have them to be able to embroider--otherwise I can't distinguish
                  between the needle and the thread. ;)

                  Arlys
                • Sandra Dodd
                  Certainly I m not going to make the experiment of spending several ... Driving 70 mph isn t period, even when I m in costume. I have to take my glasses OFF to
                  Message 8 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
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                    Certainly I'm not going to make the experiment of spending several
                    > days
                    > without my glasses (everyone who uses the roads in Oregon should now
                    > give
                    > thanks.)



                    Driving 70 mph isn't period, even when I'm in costume.

                    I have to take my glasses OFF to drive (for which pedestrians and
                    such should be grateful in New Mexico), but I do need them to write.

                    As to embroidery and such, it's an interesting thing not to have
                    servants who would do such things. It's so "non-period" too for a
                    knight to brag about having made his own armor and garb and shoes and
                    spoon. Wouldn't he have people do that for him? <g>

                    Long, long ago a queen who was wont to be in personna to a fault...

                    Wait. This was a queen of Atenveldt, when I was seneschal of
                    Atenveldt. A queen whose deeds and words caused frequent clean-up,
                    and whose desires were often costly in terms of the time spent by her
                    officers, and yet I served her well and faithfully.

                    At an event far from my home, in front of several people she knew
                    better than I did, she fingered the sleeve of my plain overdress,
                    after speaking of all the plowing and planting her servants had been
                    doing, and said "and where is your fine Saxon embroidery, my lady?"

                    There was just a brief moment of expectation in those around us
                    before I said, "In the filing cabinet, Your Majesty."

                    I had no more real-world servants than she did, but I would have had
                    more time for embroidery had I not been one of her SCA servants.



                    Glasses or no glasses, some things are mundanely done (by ourselves,
                    serving as our servants between events) and some are in-personna done.

                    AElflaed

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Francesca Tiepolo
                    Depending on the period of course, there were magnifying glasses to help with close up things for the wealthier. I have heard it said that if your vision isnt
                    Message 9 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
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                      Depending on the period of course, there were magnifying glasses to help with close up things for the wealthier.

                      I have heard it said that if your vision isnt really bad, eye exercises can help.

                      I would think people back then who had poor vision just learned to compensate & their eyes adjusted naturally without them straining all the time. Signs were not always 'written' as many could not read... merchants & Inns would have signs large enough to see from a distance. If you lived for years in a town you would be familiar with things so you would know where the tree stumps, pot holes, wells etc were.

                      It will be interesting to see how you do!! Good luck!

                      YIS
                      Francesca Tiepolo
                      (Thank goodness for modern eyewear)


                      ---------------------------------
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                    • Marioun
                      ... I tried this, but my eyesight is so bad I couldnt see across the table and didnt recognize my own son...So I invested in some contacts, which even so dont
                      Message 10 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
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                        > I do this whenever I am in an exposed position or wearing fancy
                        > headgear (usually at feast, when I don't have to see much further
                        > beyond what's going on at my table), don't have to do needlework and
                        > the event isn't too crowded.

                        I tried this, but my eyesight is so bad I couldnt see across the table
                        and didnt recognize my own son...So I invested in some contacts, which
                        even so dont compleatly correct my vision as well as glasses do, but
                        for the period of occasional weekend events, dont cause too much of a
                        problem, no headaches so far.


                        deb
                      • Andrea Hughett
                        ... I suspect that as a young lady with my poor eyesight in the 12th century, I probably would have been given to a monastery as soon as it became evident. It
                        Message 11 of 26 , Nov 6, 2006
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                          --- Francesca Tiepolo <moonlightfairy911@...>
                          wrote:

                          >
                          > I would think people back then who had poor vision
                          > just learned to compensate & their eyes adjusted
                          > naturally without them straining all the time. Signs
                          > were not always 'written' as many could not read...
                          > merchants & Inns would have signs large enough to
                          > see from a distance. If you lived for years in a
                          > town you would be familiar with things so you would
                          > know where the tree stumps, pot holes, wells etc
                          > were.
                          >

                          I suspect that as a young lady with my poor eyesight
                          in the 12th century, I probably would have been given
                          to a monastery as soon as it became evident. It would
                          most likely have worked out well, too. My near vision
                          is good enough for sewing and reading, my sisters
                          would be familiar enough that I would recognize them,
                          beyond a few feet away, by voice and general outline,
                          and furnishings would be sparse and seldom changed.

                          There is a modern trilogy (I think - it may have more
                          or less than three books) about Guenivere which
                          portrays her as nearsighted. In later life she
                          realizes that her aversion to wide open spaces may be
                          related to her poor vision. Anyone know the one I mean?

                          Andrea of Anglespur
                          kitscaa Gwervyl verch Hywel Gwyddwyllt
                          So many books, so little time!

                          __________________________________________________
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                        • asackville@juno.com
                          Hi all! The experiment went fabulously! Once I got used to the fuzziness of everything around me I had no problems. No headaches other than the one I woke up
                          Message 12 of 26 , Nov 6, 2006
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                            Hi all!

                            The experiment went fabulously! Once I got used to the fuzziness of
                            everything around me I had no problems. No headaches other than the
                            one I woke up with, which going without my glasses actually helped
                            relieve. I took my Anglo-Saxon breads and cereals class, complete with
                            handouts, took my cheesemaking class, with handouts, was asked to
                            judge some lace that was gifted to Their Majesties, did a little of my
                            own needlework (and it was easier to do without my glasses...go
                            figure), stood guard duty outside the Royalty Room, and sang a mini-
                            concert. I bought a couple of good books from Folo and actually
                            managed to read some points in one of the books. I really didn't have
                            any problems at all and I've been dependant on my glasses since I was
                            seven. It was kinda freeing, actually. Just recently there had been a
                            blow-up in my local group and I had been on the receiving end of some
                            of the flack and fall-out and without being able to see faces clearly
                            I couldn't tell if someone was pulling faces at me. That was pretty
                            cool. This is an experiment that I will not mind repeating.

                            Fionnuala
                          • Terri Morgan
                            ... ... Cool! I do it for LH demos and have found that it s about the same for me - there were some scary moments when I had to walk a block to find a
                            Message 13 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
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                              > The experiment went fabulously!
                              <snip>
                              > Fionnuala

                              Cool! I do it for LH demos and have found that it's about the same for me -
                              there were some 'scary moments' when I had to walk a block to find a
                              bathroom and had no escort but at the same time, it was almost like I'd let
                              my eyes out of a cage for a day... kind of a weird feeling of freedom. After
                              30 years of wearing glasses as a programmed action, it was very odd and
                              rather fun to go without. Of course, where I do LH stuff, it's mostly nice,
                              grassy parks with clear differences between woodland and 'people space'. I
                              haven't tried it at someplace wild and woolly - and don't think I will.

                              But it was really neat, the way my innards relaxed, rather than tensed up,
                              as the day went on. And now I'm thinking I might try a later-period outfit
                              with a veil. I've avoided them all this time because I look like one of the
                              singing nuns from the 'Sound of Music' but without my glasses - maybe not.
                              It'd be worth it to find out. There's a whole bracket of time I don't
                              attempt because of that restriction of pride.


                              Hrothny
                              (trifocals w/2 prisms, at no less than -6.5, for those who'd like to compare
                              to their own prescription.)
                            • Sandra Dodd
                              -=-And now I m thinking I might try a later-period outfit with a veil. I ve avoided them all this time because I look like one of the singing nuns from the
                              Message 14 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
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                                -=-And now I'm thinking I might try a later-period outfit
                                with a veil. I've avoided them all this time because I look like one
                                of the
                                singing nuns from the 'Sound of Music' but without my glasses - maybe
                                not.
                                It'd be worth it to find out. There's a whole bracket of time I don't
                                attempt because of that restriction of pride.
                                -=-

                                Before I wore glasses, I wore wimples and veils most of the time.
                                The glasses just don't fit with that.
                                I have three magnifying glasses. Two can be hung on a belt. They're
                                good for reading, or looking at embroidery and such if someone wants
                                me to look at their work.

                                I have to be very trusting with food. <g> The first few years I wore
                                glasses I didn't wear them to eat. Now I do. I just want to know
                                pepper from dirt, y'know...

                                AElflaed

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Francesca Tiepolo
                                Oh I hope someone can post the title or author of that book(s) ~ would enjoy reading it!! I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted women (
                                Message 15 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
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                                  Oh I hope someone can post the title or author of that book(s) ~ would enjoy reading it!!

                                  I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering around 'bumping' into each other! <g>

                                  YIS

                                  Francesca Tiepolo

                                  (sorry I can't trim the post - it doesn't show me any of it in my reply to email window)



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                                • Sharon L. Krossa
                                  ... Do keep in mind that in the Middle Ages, just like modernly, people learn to adapt and adjust to their physical disabilities that can t be fixed . The
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                    At 4:41 PM -0800 11/7/06, Francesca Tiepolo wrote:
                                    > I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted
                                    >women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering around
                                    >'bumping' into each other! <g>

                                    Do keep in mind that in the Middle Ages, just like modernly, people
                                    learn to adapt and adjust to their physical disabilities that can't
                                    be "fixed". The relevant experience we should be considering, with
                                    regard to the medieval near-sighted and visually impaired, is not
                                    that of modern people whose sight _can_ be corrected by modern
                                    technology, but that of modern people whose sight can _not_ be
                                    corrected -- that is, those who are always visually impaired or even
                                    blind (not just when they choose not to wear their glasses).

                                    And their experience -- their ability to function, including
                                    recognizing people (by means other than clear vision), not being
                                    doomed to constantly wander around bumping into objects and people,
                                    etc. -- strongly suggests that medieval people with similar visual
                                    impairments would also be able to function. Some of the specific
                                    adaptations may be different in our different ages (e.g., a seeing
                                    eye servant/family member rather than a seeing eye dog for the blind,
                                    a generic staff rather than a special white cane with a red tip,
                                    etc.), and there would have been more things that really were simply
                                    impossible (e.g., reading for oneself, as braille did not exist --
                                    but of course, few could or needed to do that, anyway, in the Middle
                                    Ages), but the basic ability to function, and even make a living,
                                    would not have been all that different (or, if it was different, in
                                    some cases it may have been easier then than now, giving the much
                                    greater dependence on such things as reading, driving, etc., today
                                    than historically, as well as the greater emphasis on independent
                                    accomplishment, and scarcity of servants, today).

                                    And while I'm intrigued by the idea that some visually impaired women
                                    got sent off to nunneries, I'm curious is this conclusion is based on
                                    some specific research by someone? That is, what known examples do we
                                    have of visually impaired women in nunneries -- especially of women
                                    being sent to nunneries specifically because they were visually
                                    impaired?

                                    I haven't myself done any specific research into what sorts of things
                                    medieval blind and visually impaired people did, but just in general
                                    I am aware that there are known to have been medieval (and early
                                    modern, and ancient) musicians/poets/minstrels/entertainers who were
                                    blind. An example that comes immediately to my mind is "Blind Harry",
                                    who was the author of the famous 15th century epic poem about Sir
                                    William Wallace. Also, in the late 17th/early 18th century, there was
                                    O'Carolan, the famous blind Irish harper. Much earlier, of course,
                                    was Homer (who was known in the Middle Ages, too).

                                    Of course, these examples are of people who were identified as
                                    actually blind -- I suspect that discovering what the merely
                                    near-sighted did will be harder to determine, as I expect it would
                                    cause less comment.

                                    In any case, it might be interesting to collect together documented
                                    examples of occupations, etc., of historical medieval blind/visually
                                    impaired people...

                                    Sharon
                                    --
                                    Sharon Krossa, skrossa-ml@...
                                    Need help with technology for your research or teaching? Hire me!
                                    http://MedievalScotland.org/hireme/
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                                  • Sandra Dodd
                                    -=-And their experience -- their ability to function, including recognizing people (by means other than clear vision), not being doomed to constantly wander
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                      -=-And their experience -- their ability to function, including
                                      recognizing people (by means other than clear vision), not being
                                      doomed to constantly wander around bumping into objects and people,
                                      etc. -- strongly suggests that medieval people with similar visual
                                      impairments would also be able to function-=-

                                      They weren't trying to read Newsweek.
                                      (That was my first indication that I needed glasses, when I was 40--
                                      couldn't read Newsweek or Time Magazine.)

                                      If an older woman couldn't still weave or embroider, she should still
                                      have been able to spin. Maybe not LEARN to spin, but if she'd been
                                      doing it all her life, it wouldn't require sight to know whether the
                                      thread was right.

                                      AElflaed

                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Alexis
                                      ... would enjoy reading it!! ... women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering around bumping into each other! ... Pls tell me you both would
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                        --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Francesca Tiepolo
                                        <moonlightfairy911@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Oh I hope someone can post the title or author of that book(s) ~
                                        would enjoy reading it!!
                                        >
                                        > I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted
                                        women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering
                                        around 'bumping' into each other! <g>
                                        >
                                        > YIS
                                        >
                                        > Francesca Tiepolo

                                        Pls tell me you both would have been in a Convent!!! Not to say
                                        brailing the monks might not have been fun, but way too much time
                                        doing penances.

                                        You would not have to worry about recognizing people. Just answer
                                        yes Sister and you are off the hook.

                                        BTW blind people can weave if someone sets up the loom for them.

                                        Yis,
                                        Cassandra
                                      • Terri Morgan
                                        ... Trivia point: Convents are for people who take simple vows (they can leave*), of either sex, monasteries for folks of either sex
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                          > Pls tell me you both would have been in a Convent!!!
                                          <snip of fun comment>

                                          Trivia point: "Convents" are for people who take simple vows (they can
                                          leave*), of either sex, monasteries for folks of either sex who make
                                          perpetual vows (they can't leave unless the Pope releases them from their
                                          vows).

                                          Some Orders use the two 'house designations' interchangeably while others
                                          are quite strict about which is which... but secular folks tend to think
                                          that convents are for women and monasteries are for men, usually thanks to
                                          inexact writers of fiction.


                                          But the mental image of someone 'brailing' the monks gave me a much-needed
                                          giggle.


                                          Hrothny
                                          *without losing their ability to be in Communion with the Church/God.
                                        • Cynthia J Ley
                                          ... Francesco Landini, a famous composer during the 1300 s is nearly always identified as being blind. He composed music, sang, and played the portative
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                            > In any case, it might be interesting to collect together documented
                                            > examples of occupations, etc., of historical medieval blind/visually
                                            >
                                            > impaired people...
                                            >
                                            > Sharon

                                            Francesco Landini, a famous composer during the 1300's is nearly always
                                            identified as being blind. He composed music, sang, and played the
                                            portative organ.

                                            Arlys
                                          • Robert Van Rens
                                            ... Master John of Calador, OL (Northshield) is an accomplished weaver - and he is not only blind, he lacks hands as well. Eadric the Potter
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                              >
                                              >BTW blind people can weave if someone sets up the loom for them.
                                              >
                                              >Yis,
                                              >Cassandra

                                              Master John of Calador, OL (Northshield) is an accomplished weaver - and he
                                              is not only blind, he lacks hands as well.

                                              Eadric the Potter

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                                            • Tiffany Brown
                                              ... The British BBC TV show worst jobs in History claimed that the sort of giant man powered hamster wheels used to drive cranes/winches in construction of
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                                On 09/11/06, Sharon L. Krossa <skrossa-ml@...> wrote:
                                                > In any case, it might be interesting to collect together documented
                                                > examples of occupations, etc., of historical medieval blind/visually
                                                > impaired people...

                                                The British BBC TV show "worst jobs in History" claimed that the sort
                                                of giant man powered hamster wheels used to drive cranes/winches in
                                                construction of cathedrals were generally manned by blind people.
                                                That it suited better as a fully blind person wasn't subject to the
                                                same fear of heights when they couldn't see how far up they were
                                                constantly. And could put in a useful days work, needing only to be
                                                lead to work at the start of the day. This is hardly a citation, but
                                                a starting point for research.

                                                I can imagine a range of manual jobs being given to sightless people
                                                eg polishing or sanding objects, braiding, turning a handle, etc. If
                                                many were considered charity cases (feel free to object to this) then
                                                they might be cheap labour for repeditive jobs- working only for basic
                                                food and lodging with no extras.

                                                Teffania
                                              • NINacide@aol.com
                                                I think sight helps a lot when sanding or polishing. Just my 2 cents, don t mean to contradict you. Mikhail [Non-text portions of this message have been
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                                  I think sight helps a lot when sanding or polishing. Just my 2 cents, don't
                                                  mean to contradict you.

                                                  Mikhail


                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • Chris Laning
                                                  Actually, I think nearsighted people whose vision isn t corrected might have some advantage when it comes to extremely fine work. The reason for the most
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Nov 11, 2006
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                                                    Actually, I think nearsighted people whose vision isn't corrected
                                                    might have some advantage when it comes to extremely fine work.

                                                    The reason for the most common type of nearsightedness is a
                                                    difference in the shape of the cornea, which moves the optimum focal
                                                    point closer to the eye than it is for "normal" sighted people. So
                                                    while it may be harder to focus the eye sharply at far distances,
                                                    it's actually _easier_ for nearsighted people to focus at very close
                                                    distances, closer than a normal person can focus. Being able to see
                                                    clearly at closer-than-normal distances means you don't need as much
                                                    magnification to do fine, close-up work -- though of course, HOW
                                                    close you can focus depends on just how nearsighted you are. So while
                                                    your ability to navigate in unfamiliar environments, recognize faces
                                                    at a distance, etc. might be impaired, you might actually be _more_
                                                    able to do certain tasks easily (such as fine embroidery) than your
                                                    normal-sighted companions. While some form of magnification was
                                                    available at some times and places in the Middle Ages, precisely
                                                    ground glass lenses were expensive, so being able to do without them
                                                    might be something of an advantage.

                                                    (This, of course, leaves out all the possible complications -- a good
                                                    many people who are nearsighted also have astigmatism or other visual
                                                    problems, which might interfere with good close vision as well.)

                                                    I also suspect that many people who have never experienced vision
                                                    correction might be less aware of limitations and actually might see
                                                    better than modern people who _have_ worn glasses. I can certainly
                                                    remember that when I first wore glasses (around age 8 or 9) I was
                                                    surprised at how much blurrier my vision was when I took them off
                                                    than it had been before I ever tried them.

                                                    My eye doctor later explained to me that there's a reason for this:
                                                    being able to see "clearly" is actually as much a function of the
                                                    brain as it is a function of the eye. The eye always presents the
                                                    brain with multiple images, varying in sharpness, and with time, the
                                                    brain learns to pick out the one that's clearest and ignore all the
                                                    others. Glasses, in particular (it's less true of contact lenses)
                                                    change the focal distance in such a way that the brain is forced to
                                                    choose a _different_ image than the one it would choose without
                                                    glasses -- as witness the fact that most people take a few days to
                                                    adjust to glasses with a new prescription (I always found that my
                                                    feet looked too far away until I adjusted). Then when you take the
                                                    glasses off, the brain still chooses the same (new) image, which is
                                                    now fuzzy. So someone who's never tried spectacles might very well
                                                    see a bit more clearly at a distance than someone who's used to
                                                    spectacles.

                                                    While I think most people know, I should also point out that physical
                                                    disability didn't necessarily "doom" a woman to life in a monastery.
                                                    Parents' reasons to dedicate a daughter to a monastery were many and
                                                    various, including how much it would cost to provide a marriage dowry
                                                    versus a monastery entrance fee, the daughter's own preference,
                                                    possibilities for a politically successful marriage alliance and so
                                                    forth. A disability that affected the possibility of bearing children
                                                    might well tip the balance toward monastery life, since a woman
                                                    suspected to be "barren' would be a much less attractive marriage
                                                    prospect, but I'm not sure one could say that other disabilities
                                                    would necessarily have the same effect. I don't have a lot of data on
                                                    this subject, but it would be interesting to find out to what extent
                                                    this common stereotype actually is or isn't borne out by the facts.
                                                    --
                                                    ____________________________________________________________

                                                    O (Lady) Christian de Holacombe , Shire of Windy Meads
                                                    + Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
                                                    http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
                                                    ____________________________________________________________
                                                  • Sue Warner
                                                    ... Oh tell me about it--- My eye Dr. has *estimated* my vision at 5/1400, needless to say my *clear* vision stops about 3 inches from my nose. (I am literally
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Nov 12, 2006
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                                                      --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Chris Laning <claning@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > Actually, I think nearsighted people whose vision isn't corrected
                                                      > might have some advantage when it comes to extremely fine work.

                                                      >>>>>Much Snippage<<<<<

                                                      Oh tell me about it---

                                                      My eye Dr. has *estimated* my vision at 5/1400, needless to say my
                                                      *clear* vision stops about 3 inches from my nose. (I am literally at
                                                      arms length to the eye chart till I can see the "big E" on top.)

                                                      However, withen that 3 inches of clear vision I can see things that
                                                      most other people can't.

                                                      A for instance - when I was younger I had contact lenses (can't wear
                                                      them anymore-->sigh<) and I kept the right one frome the left one
                                                      straight by the code numbers around the edge. His Nurse told me that
                                                      she needed to use the microscope to see them and I wasn't supposed to
                                                      know that they were there.

                                                      I now work in the electronics devision and I can't tell you how often
                                                      my co-workers call me over to "read" the numbers on the parts. They
                                                      need to find an open microscope to read them.

                                                      So you won't find me at an event without the specs, I would be too
                                                      much of a health hazard to myself and the people around me. (tent
                                                      ropes disapear and so do the list ropes at a distace of about 3 feet.)

                                                      Mariassa Ashgrove (the near blind - thank you glasses)
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