Saturday, May 31, 2008

My own 'Rosetta' stone discovery!

This last week we started long planned renovation works in our house, in the kitchen and dining room. Doors, ceilings, walls and fireplaces disappeared from the face of the earth, all in one large container that carried the spoils to the junkyard...

If curious how bad this is, have a look at a series of panoramic shots about the work progress that I maintain day by day on my Flickr account. So yesterday, as we were pulling off the wallpaper, I 'discovered' an old notebook page with some writing on it, stuck in between the framing of the kitchen door and the wall opening where the door is mounted. It must be dating back from 1943 when the house was first built by its previous owners. It actually served as material to fill (isolate) the gap I described. It seemed to have belonged to a pupil exercising French. One line was in French, the Dutch translation following on the next line. Like that Rosetta stone they found in Egypt and learned to decipher the hieroglyphics! Unfortunately, no strange language involved in my case. Nevertheless, I felt like Indiana Jones for a split second.

You might wonder whether I read the whole thing and if there was a love letter story hidden somewhere... Hell, no. Just managed to read a couple of lines somewhere in the middle discussing the experience of a storm that made the 'class windows tremble from the blowing wind', etc... If you speak either language, try for yourself. The name of the author is Antoine Vermeulen, from Oudenaarde, in Belgium, I believe in his late sixties or even seventies right now (God bless'm if still alive). He was the owners' son, one of a number of children they had.

The shot is done via a scan at a descent res, so click it for a better view and enjoy deciphering the text.

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