I didn't realize for a number of years that my father's tattoos were in any way unusual. I guess he got them when he was stationed on the mine layer in Panama, since tattoos are more common among sailors than among soldiers. Since they were among my earliest memories, I naturally assumed that all adult men had them. Seventy or eighty years ago, long-sleeved shirts and coats were more a part of standard male attire than nowadays, and I think I was quite old before I realized that most men didn't have tatoos. I can't imagine why I didn't question him about them, and I'm not sure I can remember all of them. The most spectacular was a large parrot, which extended almost all the way from his elbow to his wrist. Another was a wreath with his initials, AJ, within it. A line drawing of a crawling baby was one that I did somehow learn about. I believe it represented Baby Snooks, a newspaper cartoon character. I have the feeling that there were more, but I can't come up with them right now. It's not too surprising that I didn't feel that tattoos were in any way unusual on a father's arms. They were just part of my father's normal image.
John has said he is writing his memoir for his children—a motive I've heard over and over in our group. The writers are trying to anticipate the questions their children and grandchildren will have when they're no longer around to provide answers. It is a tall order, requiring imagination, honesty, and yes, courage, something the kids at VTC last night displayed in abundance. We thank them for their inspiration!
PS: The photograph above was taken at a Senior Center event last fall. Unfortunately, I have no picture of us last night with the VTC students—stupid me forgot to bring a camera.