Storytime – The story of the tattoo…
There have been some questions regarding the tattoo and what it means so I’ll tell the story. It all starts with my sister, Jeannie, who is five years younger than I. Jeannie was the wild child of the family and has always marched to her own drummer. She had her challenges in the 80s but by the 90s had gotten her life straightened out, went to art school and began her dual career in restaurant management and as a graphic artist, specializing in restaurant art (murals, menu design, things like that). She spent years working for many of the better restaurants in town (The Palace Kitchen, Volterra, Blue Water Bistro) but got very tired of being on her feet all the time and the punishing hours.
Back in the 90s, when Steve and I were together, she got her first tattoo. Something in body art spoke to her and more rapidly followed. Being an artist herself, she became interested in the process of creating body art and came to understand skin as another medium for creative expression. She started to learn the craft in earnest, worked for herself on an ad hoc basis and eventually gave up the restaurant biz to concentrate on tattooing full time.
When Steve died in 2001, she suggested I get a tattoo as a remembrance. I brushed her off and said I just wasn’t going to do something like that. Then, Tommy and I got together and, over the years when we would visit she suggested that we both get tattoos of some stripe. We never took her up on that offer although, about three years ago, I told her half in jest that if I lost Tommy, I would let her tattoo me with a Steve/Tommy memorial piece, not thinking that I would have to revisit that for some decades.
Of course, Tommy died last month, somewhat unexpectedly, and while I was up here visiting, I was reminded of that promise so I told her to go ahead and dream something up. Both Steve and Tommy had symbols in my mind. Steve’s symbol was Daffy Duck. Those of you who knew him will immediately know why. And he loved Daffy and the whole Loony Tunes gang. Tommy’s symbol was the Teddy Bear. He was given a number of them over the years and the two of us turned them into a formal collection. Every trip or special event, we bought a Teddy Bear so there was never an argument about souvenirs. Many of them ended up as part of the Christmas decor every year.
My sister took my thought of Daffy and a Teddy Bear together and added the musical staff in the shape of a heart behind them. I had had some trepidation behind actually going through with it, but now I think it was the right decision. They are both part of me and always will be and now that has a physical manifestation.