a nerdy tattoo story

When I was in 2nd grade, my maternal grandpa died. I remember a lot of things about him. He lived next door to me and he was a truck driver for Clearfield Cheese, which is now (or maybe always has been) owned by Schreiber Foods. We used to fish all the time and I’m sure he let me drive his fishing boat when I was still in diapers. He spanked me once, but it was because I kicked him in the shin at a car dealership. I’m pretty sure I was still mad at him, because he’d put boobs on my snowman I was building that morning. He used to put on a mask and scare the crap out of kids that would come to his door at Halloween. He was also a very incredible man.

Another thing I remembered about him were the scars he had on both of his biceps. I knew they were from tattoos, but that was all I knew. Then, about a week ago, I decided I needed to know more, especially with my recent obsession with tattoos. Plus, how awesome would it be if I had the same tattoo as my grandpa had? Very awesome.
What has now turned into a legend in my mind goes a little something like this. My gramps was in the Navy and got these two tattoos, one on the left arm and one on the right. Immediately following his great idea of tattoos, he gets a horrible infection, either from an allergy to the dye or to an dirty needle. He has to get the tattoos removed post haste, and nobody has ever seen them.
My mom and dad didn’t know what these tattoos were. My paternal grandparents didn’t know, despite my paternal grandpa (Grandpa Chuck) being BFF with him. My aunt and uncle (The Cuz’s parents) didn’t know. And really, I was starting to get worried, due to the lack of alive resources, ya know?

But then my uncle, my grandpa’s son, solved the mystery! It turns out he has an American Eagle on on arm and the Navy Anchor (which was probably something like this) on the other. That’s right – my grandpa was hardcore, yo.

I also found out he was a pretty awesome boxer back in his Navy days. Why I didn’t know this before, I’ll never know, but I was unbelievably excited about it when I found out yesterday. I guess it’s amazing what you don’t know about your grandparents in their 18-22 year old days.
So, as soon as I figure out the tattoo I want to get in honor of my Gramma, this old man’s gonna be rolling over in his grave when I get another one. And another one. And another one. Although, he’d probably be jealous that I didn’t have to get mine removed!


  1. It had crossed my mind that your uncle might know. And I had a feeling one of them was probably a Navy anchor.

    You know, the nautical star is obviously related to the navy …

    Your grandpa was awesome. I always got such a kick out of him, and thought it was so cool that both of your grandpas were friends and co-workers. The fact that both of your grandfathers were professional 18-wheeler diesel drivers is almost too much. :)

    Did you ever know that I was the one who had to tell my parents when he died, and that I babysat you and your brother while everyone was at the funeral?

  2. I am glad Uncle Daniel solved the tatoo mystery! I knew one tatoo was something about the Navy, but forgot about the Eagle. It was nice talking about him last night and him being a boxer in the Navy….he was good! He would be so happy to know he is on your website today :) He was SO Proud of You!

    Love You!

  3. I’ve decided to get an ambigram as a tatoo. I’m thinking I’m probably going to get the words Amazing Grace but I’ve not decided for certain. I also think I’m going to get it on the small of my back, but I haven’t decided for sure. I think this will honor my grandparents best. I don’t know though. Losing both of them so quickly has really sucked… so I don’t know if I’m thinking real clear yet…
    Have you heard from Zuly lately?

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