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Deerfield Ink: Tattoos on Campus

Tattoo, the act of marking the skin, is practiced by people of diverse ages, origins, and backgrounds. With such varied motives to get a tattoo, there is always a great story behind each one. The Scroll interviewed several students and faculty at Deerfield to discover the stories behind their tattoos.

Cooper Magoon ’10 got his tree branch tattoo as a living memorial of his grandparents who funded his education.

“This tattoo represents life, death, and rebirth, which I feel are important as members of my family move on and leave a lasting impression on my life,” explained Magoon.

For Magoon, the location of his tattoo also has significance. “Since it’s on my back, it’s not always in the way, and I don’t have to constantly see it. Instead, it’s a gentle reminder that what I wanted to preserve will be always there.”

Luigia Goodman ’10 got her tattoo last December over winter break. The tattoo, located on her wrist, is a treble clef and an eff clef—both musical symbols—tilted into a heart.

“I created the design myself through multiple sketches,” explained Goodman. “I thought I was being really original, but the tattoo artist said he had done a tattoo just like it the week before!”

Goodman feels that her tattoo represents who she is as a person. “The tattoo symbolizes my love for music and harmony,” said Goodman, “and that I wear my heart on my sleeve.”

Although the tattoo is in a visible place, it is fairly small. “I wasn’t sure how I would react to tattooing,” said Goodman. “I was worried my mom would get mad. So I decided to start with something small.”

Goodman’s original fear that her mother and family would not appreciate her tattoo proved untrue. “Most of my friends and family like the tattoo a lot and are very accepting of it,” explained Goodman. “But,” she continued, “there are definitely some family members who don’t understand why I would want to get a tattoo.”

Reflecting on her tattoo, Goodman said, “I have no regrets and I plan to get more!”

In the spring term of his sophomore year, Steve Kelley ’10 got his tattoo. The tattoo is on his right shoulder and is of an Irish harp.
“I wanted to get a very detailed tattoo with Celtic knots in the harp,” said Kelley, “but the tattoo artist said that after a while the details would blend together. So the tattoo is just a less detailed black harp.”

Kelley’s inspiration for the tattoo came from his older brother, who got an Irish harp tattooed on his shoulder when he was sixteen years old.

“My brother told me when he got his tattoo but not our parents,” said Kelley. “It became a sort of thing between us.”
When his brother got his tattoo, Kelley was only seven years old, but he knew immediately he wanted the same tattoo when he turned sixteen.

And, at age seventeen, his wish came true. His brother took Kelley to get the mirror image of his tattoo. Kelley explained, “Mine is on my right shoulder and his is on his left shoulder.”

Kelley loves having his tattoo and said that, “I’m not an artist, so having a tattoo is a way for me to express myself.”
Senior Associate Director of Admissions Debra Dohrmann, is one of the many adults at Deerfield with a tattoo.

Mrs. Dohrmann got her tattoo when she was in her early 30s. “I was one of the bridesmaids in my friend’s wedding,” she explained. “We decided to get tattoos together because we were all close friends.”

“We thought we would all get the same tattoo, like a sisterhood thing,” said Mrs. Dohrmann. “But we couldn’t decide so we all chose different ones.”

Mrs. Dohrmann decided to get a flower about the size of a nickel on the inside of her ankle. “Cindy Crawford [the supermodel] has the same tattoo in the same place!” said Mrs. Dohrmann laughing, “But I got mine first!”

While Mrs. Dohrmann doesn’t regret getting the tattoo or the design she chose, she does wish it was in a different place. “I wish I had gotten it on my shoulders so it wouldn’t be visible so much of the time,” she said.

Mrs. Dohrmann doesn’t regret getting her tattoo but would remind anyone thinking of getting a tattoo that tattoos are “personal, and they are forever.”