Remember how I’ve written before about the significance that tattoos hold for me? Well this is a very special one, and today is a very special day. Len was my grandfather, and today would have been his 100th birthday. As you can probably guess, he was a heavily-tattooed sailor, and also an engineer like me (well, maybe no-one is an engineer like me – haha). He fought in WWII, which was the reason he ended up moving to my birth town in the first place. Funny how events lead to conclusions. I got this tattoo to remember him by, as sadly he died when I was in my teens.
We were pretty close, but I wish I’d had more time to speak with him, as he’d lived an exciting and fulfilling life. And he was so easy to speak with – he had a way of speaking effectively and eloquently with just about anyone, no matter their background and social status. He was a great guy, but he didn’t put up with bullshit. He worked hard, achieved great things, and was pragmatic and personable. He’s the only individual I could ever consider a role model. My dad sent me a copy of his military record, and it contained the most glowing reference from his Commanding Officer that I have ever seen (he was discharged in the 60s due to ill health). I’m not sure where it is right now, but if I find it I will post it here.
I used to see him a lot, as he lived very nearby, and we parked the family car at his house, so we had excuses to be there all the time. And I loved to see his cats. I grew up around cats and I feel like I understand them in a way that I just can’t with dogs. So many great memories, and he lives on in ink on my arm. Until my time is up. But at least they’ll be able to identify my body if I’m lost at sea.