How to Keep a Secret

Growing up, my house often sounded like a telegraph office, because my father was a Ham Radio Operator. Sometimes those crazy guys talked to each other, almost like regular people, but more often my Dad used Morse Code on a telegraph key. I loved the sound of it (he was very fast!), and the mystery of their conversations was too intriguing. So, I learned the code at a very young age. It was quite useful when passing notes in school (the teachers couldn’t read it), and  it was a pretty good way to keep diary passages secret. I still use it, although my method is different.

Now I use beads instead of writing it out. The code consists of dots and dashes – Hams call them Dits and Dahs. A single seed bead makes a perfect Dit, and a bugle bead is a great Dah.

In the rather wild, handmade fiber book, above, I used Morse Code for all the messages.

All of the creamy, silk ribbons (above) are beaded in code.

In another fiber journal, I made a gallery of butterflies.

Several of them contain secret notes. (look closely, they’re secret)

Here are the alphabet and numbers in beaded Morse Code:

You can also find the code here.



2 Responses to How to Keep a Secret

  1. Theresa Harrison May 2, 2020 at 10:49 am #

    When I was nine, I wanted more than anything to be a ham radio operator. I walked from one side of Bozeman, Mt. to the other, bookstore to bookstore searching for a handbook. Not surprisingly there were none in stock, and the price far beyond me anyway. By junior high, I’d taught the code to my friends, and we’d tap out messages to each other in class. One day the teacher had had enough and tapped out in code, ‘Be quiet! Stop!’ So much for cleverness. Fond memories.

    • Gretchen May 2, 2020 at 11:04 am #

      Yep! We thought we were so smart! Probably didn’t get away with a thing.It works better, now. Not too many people know it, these days. Plus, I love how easy it is to use beads!!

      I love your story! Thank you ?❤️

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