Mystery Post-It Notes

These two Post-It notes were recently found on a cork/bulletin board in the office/sewing room of an 88-year-old woman’s home. It is believed she learned shorthand in her late teens/early 20’s …so 1950’s.

They appear to be reminders of where she had placed certain important items in her home. I’ve been able to decipher some of what they say, but could use some help with the rest.

One reads “____ ____ in back right hand corner of bedroom closet.”

The other reads, “____’s ____ in ___ ___ ___ ___ in bedroom closet. The second outline, which appears twice, might be “ring?”

Any help would be appreciated!

Previous post:
Next post:
18 comments Add yours
  1. On the first note, second outline, there is a cross mark on one of the strokes. I studied Diamond Jubilee in depth, but am not so familiar with the other versions. I have a vague recollection of seeing that cross mark in a textbook of one of the earlier versions, but can't remember what it means.


  2. Sorry I can't add to the technical interpretation.  Haven't personally used shorthand since the 1950s.  But a broad cryptographic approach, I think, would be

    1.  Both probably refer to the same thing.

    2.  Compare to names of likely persons.

    3.  See what is in the closet.

    4.  Look for other shorthand notes she may have left.  Not any idiosyncrasies, penmanship, etc.

    5.  Are these just ordinary notes, or was there some reason for secrecy?


    1. These notes were found pinned to the same board, one above the other. I doubt they are duplicitous, as she would have simply replaced one with the other if they were. Not a single piece of any other shorthand has been found in her home.

      1. I wonder why family members interested in knowing what these things say did not ask the writer while they were alive. I understand that in some cases they just get those belongings once they pass away and didn't know that there were some shorthand notes, but a post-it note in an office/sewing room written in shorthand would be something that anyone could see. They all of a sudden become curious?

        (By the way, I don't see the words "money" or "jewelry" anywhere, so the message may not be that important … laugh)

        1. I have written some very mysterious signs on papers… no one would be able to know what I've written.

          It is so ridiculous, so futile that this is the reason why I've written it in shorthand. blush

          1. The corkboard where these were posted was on the BACK of the office door. So, it may indeed be plausible that no one other than the writer ever saw it. They were posted with keepsakes such as a note that said “had my last cigarette at 9:30 am on a day in 2000 – haha.  Along with things like written gardening planting instructions and plant sticks, and a name badge from a fun event attended a few years ago.  Also, a “flat belly water recipe” (cucumbers, ginger, water etc…) All other notes and items on the board were written in English (long-hand.). 

            The cork board was located next to a wall mounted ironing board, behind the room’s door.  The presumed writer was 88 years old.  Stylish, fun, adventurous, a traveler and independent woman. She still drove a black convertible car in her 80’s and lived alone (single, never married, no kids.) 

            One more interesting note. Thats her red nail polish you see on the shorthand.  Always had a mani/pedi in red looking great, according to her relative who wants to solve the riddle.

  3. Here's my stab at it, given the rough quality of the shorthand:

    Pap's boxes in back right-hand corner of bedroom closet. Mom's box is sweater box in bedroom closet.

    Any comments on this, or alternative suggestions?

    1. Pap's doesn't resonate with me. To me, that outline looks more like save or safe. So, maybe safe box is in back right hand corner of bedroom closet," like she took a box out of a safe and relocated it to the closet? I dunno. I don't think these notes will ever be definitively translated. Thanks for your input.

      1. I didn't want to chime in, but you're correct Angela: it's "safe boxes." And both of "Mum's box" and the "sweater box" appear to be in the bedroom closet. (Of course, we will only know if there are indeed more than one safe box in the aforementioned location!)

        Lastly, all of the short horizontal lines are not the letter n, but hyphens. That makes more sense to me.

  4. I'd thought Pap was perhaps meant to be Papa or Pop. But "safe boxes" makes sense, and so does what Carlos suggests about hyphens. If those lines are hyphens, though, then Mom's box may actually be the sweater box: "Mom's box — sweater box — bedroom closet."

Leave a Reply