Feature Writer Ann Chiappetta – Some Art for a Blank Canvas

As some of you may recall, Verona and I visited my mother and sister on the west coast back in March–San Jose, to be exact. I spent many years there, from ages 14 to 20, and I would move back at a moment’s notice. The San Francisco bay area is my ultimate climate, regardless of the potential for natural disasters.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit my favorite beach town, Santa Cruz, was to find a tattoo parlor. I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was a youngster, but never got one because of the fear of pain. My husband got one before we met and another after our son was born and now has six, all of them symbolic and deeply personal.

Then, last summer, my oldest sister called me from Provincetown, Rhode Island and told me she and her partner got tats as well. That was it, if my big sister could handle it, I certainly could.

So, Verona and I walked confidently into Good Luck Tattoo in Santa Cruz, California and approached the counter. Matt, the tattoo artist, listened as I described what I wanted–a blue dog’s paw print on my upper left bicep. He suggested a flower border and we agreed on cherry blossoms above and below it, to give it focus. Once he produced the stencil, my other sister got brave and wanted her own.

With my approval, Matt then received visual approval from Mom, a friend, and my Sister as to placement, and I waited for the painful shock of the buzzing needles. I was oddly disappointed. The initial sting was a bit strange, but after a while, he got into a rhythm and before I knew it, he was done.

I am now the proud owner of an aqua blue paw print with a spray of cherry blossoms above and below it. It’s a very pretty tattoo, as I asked for something subtle and feminine and Matt did not let me down.

Why a dog’s paw, you might ask? Well, it symbolizes my life with dogs, intensified by the bond I share with Verona and in memory of past dogs, who each gave me unconditional love and loyalty.

Next year I’m going back for number two.

Do any of you have tattoos? Let us hear about them in the Reader’s Forum.

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