103-year-old Mich. woman crosses an item off her bucket list: A tattoo – The Messenger

Posted in Tattoo Shop on Aug 22, 2020

It was early August when Dorothy Pollack who is 103 years old decided there was an item she needed to check off her bucket list. She wanted to get a frog tattoo.

Pollack, of Holton, Mich., was taking a car ride with her grandsons girlfriend, Teresa Jones, earlier this month when she suddenly blurted out:

Teresa, I really think that I need a tattoo, Jones recalled her saying. How about if we go do it?

What do you say to something like that? I was shocked, said Jones, 56, who helps care for Pollack. But I told her, OK, and the more we talked about it, I thought, All right, Granny. Why not?

Pollack had recently come to live with her grandson Dan Pakutz and Jones after feeling depressed for more than a year and a half while living at a retirement home, said Jones.

The final straw was Pollacks birthday in June.

When we couldnt take her out to her favorite bar to get a hamburger and a beer on her 103rd birthday because of covid, we decided to bring her home with us, said Jones. Shed pretty much been locked up in her room (due to the pandemic) and was feeling down.

The tattoo, Pollack said, was in part a way to celebrate her new freedom.

After being in covid-19 prison, I thought it was time to start living again, added Pollack, answering questions from The Washington Post through Jones because she is hard of hearing. I decided that a good way to celebrate was to get a tattoo.

Pollack, who is widowed, is a former bartender and drugstore sales clerk who worked until she was well into her mid-90s, said Jones.

Other than being extremely hard of hearing, shes in pretty good health, she said. She even bowled in a league until she went into the nursing home a year and a half ago. So we decided if she really wanted a tattoo to celebrate her 103rd year, wed make it happen.

Jones called a friend, Ray Reasoner, and was put in touch with his son, Ray Reasoner Jr., a tattoo artist at A.W.O.L. Custom Tattooing in Muskegon.

Thats how Pollack ended up in her first tattoo parlor on Aug. 7 to get a small green frog inked across her left forearm. She decided on a frog, she said, because Ive always loved them as far back as I can remember.

I have trinket dishes, knickknacks and yard ornaments with frogs, she said. So why not a frog tattoo?

Reasoner, 44, had certainly heard unusual requests in his 28 years as a tattoo artist. But a 103-year-old client?

That was a first, he said. Dorothy is by far the oldest person Ive ever tattooed. The only person who even comes close is a 76-year-old who came in here once.

Reasoner admitted he was a little nervous about tattooing the fragile skin of a woman who was born in 1917 the same year the United States got involved in World War I.

Her skin was quite wrinkled, but the density was good, he said. I really took my time and was extremely careful, and she didnt wince once.

She sat like a soldier, added Jones. I couldnt believe it.

Ninety minutes later, Pollack was beaming at a new frog on her arm.

Ray was very gentle and careful with me and it didnt really hurt, she said. Maybe now Ill get another tattoo on the other arm.

Reasoner said hes ready whenever she is.

I really enjoyed giving Dorothy the tattoo she gave me the most heartfelt thank you Ive ever received, he said. When you hear from a century-old lady that she wants a tattoo, youve just got to do it.

After the tattoo was finished, Pollack reminded Jones that she wanted to cross one more item off her bucket list.

Shed never been on a motorcycle, said Jones, and it just so happens that Ray Reasoner Sr. has a Harley.

So the elder Reasoner drove his deep-red Harley-Davidson over to the tattoo shop to pick Pollack up and take her for a short spin around the parking lot.

She couldnt stop smiling, said Jones, and neither could we. On the way home, I was almost afraid to say, Granny, whats next?

As it turned out, Jones didnt need to ask.

Sooner than later, she told Jones, Id like to go skydiving.

103-year-old Mich. woman crosses an item off her bucket list: A tattoo - The Messenger

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