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Tattooing & Curios: 1941

Tattooing & Curios: 1941

March 1941. "Tattoo parlor on West Main Street. Norfolk, Virginia." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

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Party favor

One of my father's young officers had a tattoo removed by having the thing literally cut out with several layers of skin. Apparently it was too big and vivid to cover or bleach and it featured an old girlfriend's name, so it was that or a divorce. Occasionally, when it was his turn to host an officers' get-together, he would over-imbibe (old Army, plenty of that going around), bring out the jar of formaldehyde in which the excised graphic floated, and show it around.

The wives were not amused, his in particular. I was but a callow adolescent, so I once suggested it might have been easier to have his wife change her name. Unfortunately, she overheard my helpful comment; thenceforth, they restricted their invitations to adults.

A victim of urban "renewal"

Alas, federal tax dollars encouraged many cities to demolish much of what we now recognize gave them their character.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Norfolk,_Virginia

Not surprisingly, many minority and mixed neighborhoods were hardest hit. Certainly true here in DC where I now live.

$60 and $600

I was interested to read in the shop window that they offer tattoo removal. I'm not a big fan of tattoos, which makes me even more of a dinosaur. I've always appreciated my cousin's argument with her teenagers against them getting tattoos. She asked them: "You like that shirt you're wearing? Do you think you'll still want to wear that shirt in 20 years? If not - you don't need to get a tattoo."

The above amounts are what a friend paid to have a tattoo put on her leg … and to have it removed.

Let us out of here!

Those tools look like they're screaming to get out of there. Like puppies in a pet shop window. I'm fairly certain that's what the man is thinking as well.

East Side, West Side, All Around The Town

Norfolk’s 1940-50s West Main Street was about a block long, from Granby Street to the waterfront; East of Granby Street were several blocks of notorious East Main Street’s rundown two-story tattoo parlors, pawn shops, and bar after bar, one more rowdy than the next. If you walked in to one of them with the wrong ship’s patch on your shoulder, chances were high that you would be carried out! All gone now, replaced with fancy marble-faced office complexes, but this once-young sailor’s memories remain (*sigh*).

Something weird about the address

Captions says "West Main Street. Norfolk, Virginia", and the number in the window shows 433, but West Main Street is only one block long. 433 West Main would be about two blocks into the Elizabeth River. Perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

'Cowboy' Luttrall

Looking at the names on that wrestling bill and I suspect 'Luttrall' is Clarence 'Cowboy' Luttrall who was involved in Jack Dempsey's 'comeback' in 1940. SI has the story here. And they spell it 'Luttrell' which seems to be a common variation.

Luttrall went on to bigger and better things, he founded Championship Wrestling From Florida later in the decade.

OTOH, Cowboy Luttrell/Luttrall has no Virginia bouts listed in the wrestling database so this one may be a local.

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