I’ve been wanting a new tattoo for sometime now, but living the freelance life in Chicago doesn’t leave much excess cash for body modification. Alas, I hadn’t been inked since the Ohio tattoo I got shortly before I moved from Cincinnati, but I decided it was time for an impulse tattoo.
My grandfather passed away recently. Checking out at the ripe old age of 93, my grandfather lived a long, fulfilled life. He was above retirement age the entire time I knew him, but he refused to stop working at the auto plant until he shattered his shoulder in a forklift accident. He was quiet and reserved, worked hard and took care of his family.
My most distinct memory is of his anchor tattoo. My grandfather had a few tattoos, but on his forearm was a simple anchor, almost disguised by his long, white hair. It was quite faded — it looked more navy than black — and was fairly hard to make out.
My grandfather wasn’t much of a storyteller, but he explained to me that he earned his tattoo in the Navy during WWII for crossing the treacherous Atlantic. But he always ended the story with, “But don’t you ever get a tattoo.” Yeah, at this point, it’s way too late for that.
Upon receiving his life insurance money, my mother sent me a more-generous-than-usual check for my birthday. I decided to put it to good use by getting a new tattoo. I went into Metamorph Tattoo Studios in Wicker Park and settled on this colorful design, placing it where my Grandfather had his anchor on his arm:
I am so, so in love with this tattoo. It’s gorgeous and it means so much to me. And it adds a giant splash of color to my arm that’s already covered in black ink.
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