Making the Most of What You are Born With
father, Peter Kilham, generally was forgiving of past problems. One
day, however, he seemed unusually retrospective and moody. I paid rapt
attention because this seemed like one of those special revelation
“I was born left-handed,” he said--something of course I was well aware
he went on, “That was a very bad thing for my schooling. I don’t know
about schools today but back then the writing part of the seat-desk was
only available on the right side. The teachers were awful. I refused to
write right-handed so they made me contort and write with my left hand
on the right side.”
father went on to say that all through school and college the teachers
and professors were always trying to force him into uncomfortable and
unproductive conformity. None of them except one lone high school
teacher was interested in art, geometry or creativity. He quit Harvard
in his senior year.
then on, for most of his life, he was poor but creative and happy. In
his late ‘60’s, he started his final business, designing and
manufacturing bird feeders. His financial struggles were redeemed, and
it was profitable.
My father never lost his interest in intellectual things that related to creativity, invention and design. These
abilities were all embodied in his greatest hero, Leonardo da Vinci,
another lefty. Left-handed people seem to be right-brained which matches
the strengths of Leonardo who is generally agreed to have been one of
the greatest thinkers and doers in art, mechanics, invention and
probably all right-brain things. My father’s strengths were in the same
to this discussion is Leonardo’s “mirror writing.” He wrote right to
left. You could read it if you understood Italian and if you looked at a
mirror reflection of the writing showing the writing going the
conventional left to right.
father didn’t use mirror writing. He used a simple solution: print.
Apparently it is awkward for a left-handed person to write script
smoothly from left to right, and Leonardo and my father each developed
his own solution. Viewed in this way, it seems unlikely that Leonardo
wrote in mirror script to make it hard to read his notes and to hide his
ideas as has been commonly proposed.
(c) Lawrence B. Kilham 2009