SHORTHAND

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I'll bet I haven't thought about shorthand in twenty years. My mother learned it in high school, in preparation for secretarial work (she was the smartest kid in school, you see.) All through our childhood, we kids would see these cryptic notes written in shorthand, and imagined that they were (a) lists of christmas presents for the kids or (b) reports of misbehavior to relate to Dad when he got home from work. If we were sure it was (b) we could, of course, conveniently "misplace" the note, but just on the chance it was an (a), we couldn't take the risk. I remember one day I rummaged through her entire desk looking for a manual or code-breaker table, something that would unlock her secrets, but without luck. I did, however, find a copy of "Lady Chatterley's Lover", which shocked me deeply, and got me to wondering about other topics that might be encoded in those mysterious shorthand notes.