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RE: Experiment

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  • 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 1 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
      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 2 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
        > 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 3 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
          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 4 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
            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 5 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
              > 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 6 of 26 , Nov 6, 2006
                --- 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 7 of 26 , Nov 6, 2006
                  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 8 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
                    > 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 9 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
                      -=-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 10 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
                        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 11 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                          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@...
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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 12 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                            -=-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 13 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                              --- 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 14 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                                > 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 15 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                                  > 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 16 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                                    >
                                    >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 17 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                                      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 18 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
                                        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 19 of 26 , Nov 11, 2006
                                          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 20 of 26 , Nov 12, 2006
                                            --- 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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