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But I Have Victory Rolls!!!!!

Valerie Deegan-Johnson Boystown Land's End Nettelhorst French Market Pin-up Gals Rockton River Market Rosie the Riviter The Tattoo Factory Vintage Petal

Picture this....

A sweet grandma pushing her 2 minuscule sized fur babies and a very unhappy cat in a stroller through the Nettelhorst French Market in Boystown, Chicago. She looks like she stepped out of a Land's End catalog in her white cropped pants embroidered with palm trees, a very breezy pastel collared shirt, and her feet adorned with loafers. Her rounded plump shoulders were draped with a white shawl. Her hair was recently set, however, she failed to fix the bedhead bald spot before she left the house that day and her nails were meticulously french manicured (how fitting). She looked something like this...

*This is not the grandma I saw, but a visual likeness.

I had time to observe this woman in detail, for none of the boys of Boystown have awoken from their beauty sleep and I needed some distraction from boredom. Then I witnessed one of her fur babies jump ship, make a run for it, ESCAPE (maybe this was a foreshadowing moment). Too bad its leash was tied to the stroller and thus the distracted and unobservant grandma began dragging her beloved miniscule fur baby through the market. The dog kept silent - maybe in hopes grandma wouldn't notice and the dragging would eventually break the stroller's grip on its leash finally making escape possible. 

Unknowing of the dog's plight, I stepped in and foiled its plan (so sorry pup, if only I had known). This is how the conversation exchange went:

Me: "Oh no! Ma'am, one of your dogs bailed!!"

Sweet Grandma: Not surprised and calmly says with a smile, "You mean jumped ship."

Me: I giggled and agreed.

Sweet Grandma then bends at the hips (you know, like those painted garden signs in the front of some small ranch house built in the 50's that is probably white with green awnings over the windows) to "rescue" her beloved prisoner. Her white shawl slips off her arms to reveal a shocking surprise....She is bloody tatted from wrist to elbow on both arms!!! Like a fucking sailor! Rosie the Riveter on her bicep, both forearms are adorned with some nipple showing pinup girls looking longingly over their shoulders for a mate, opposite are pin up's with hair in victory rolls laying down stroking their leg's with toes pointed in the air like rigor has set in. Upon closer observation, these tatts are not new nor are they 1940's old. Shocked, surprised, and a bit giggly I excitedly continued bantering with sweet Grandma....

Me: "OH MY GAWWWWWD!!!! Your art is amazing!!!! Blah, Blah, Blah. May I have my photo taken with you?"

Sweet Grandma: "NO!" said sharply then she shoved her prisoner dog into stroller.

Me: My mouth is catching flies and all I can hear are crickets.

Pessimistic Grandma: "You're just going to put it on the internet and my tattoo guy doesn't like that." She swiftly replaces shawl to hide her awesome tatts.

Me: Stammering to make right, "Well who's your artist? I would gladly give credit where credit is due."

B!tchy Grandma: "He's down the way across the street from Target." And just like that, she turned on her witchy loafer and hustled away with all 3 prisoners in the stroller. 

Me: "But, I have VICTORY ROLLS!"

I felt like I just got dumped at the dance right when the music stopped and everyone heard. Pathetically, the tears started to well in my eyes. Seriously, what the f#<k just happened?'

An observing by standard walks up to me to offer a sympathetic hug and some much needed consoling kind words such as...."Wow! Really didn't expect that!" and "Really was looking forward to that almost touching moment. She looked so nice."

This happened a few weeks ago. I've picked up the pieces of my broken and disappointed victory rolls and moved on with my life. That is when a  magical moment at the Rockton River Market happened. We were celebrating Jackass Charm's debut at Vintage Petal flower shop. I won't lie, it stirred up some mixed emotions. An angel of mercy & redemption strolled into my view. I leaped to my feet (didn't spill my wine either!) excited to tell her my story of the Land's End Grandma and yet hesitant she too would think the worst of me.

I never caught her name but I want to formally thank her and to offer these words of advice. When you receive a compliment on your Rosie tattoo and a pathetic victory roll wearing soul asks for photos with you, take it as a form of flattery not exploitation. Oh, and don't push your dogs in a stroller. They have 4 f#<king legs ferfuksake!

 Ruthie and her angle of mercy & redemption

Sure wish I got your name. Thank you again for this awesome photo op! You made my day so much better.

This moment got me curious. So, I did some research on tattoo parlors "across the street" from Target in the Boystown area. Would you believe it? There is one!!!! It's called The Tattoo Factory (est. 1979). Out of curiosity I reached out to them and tried to explain this story in 500 characters and ask for permission to name them in this blog. Needless to say, I have not had a response. I think they think I'm CRAZY, but if this is indeed the parlor that tattooed the fiesty ol'gal they certainly deserve the credit that is due because that artwork was fabulous!

Awe shite! Were there grammatical errors or typos? Feel free to snicker to yourself about them; I'm no English major.


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  • Ruthie Sudsalot c/o Jackass Charm Soap on

    Are you kidding me?! It made my day!!!! Smooches

  • ChicagoBeth on

    I hope you enjoyed meeting my cousin and me yesterday!
    Love the above essay!


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