Have you ever noticed someone’s tattoo and thought, “That’s different. I wonder why they got that?”
Interesting enough, it is because of an artist’s willingness to talk to three, crazy ladies sitting at a bar, that I came to see such a tattoo and definitely wanted to know the story behind it.
The artist’s name was Maddy. One of the three crazy ladies at the bar was me.
Maddy’s intriguing tattoo was pansies in a tin cup.
The story behind the tattoo stared when Maddy’s grandparents Kerry and Nancy welcomed the first of their six children into the world. Kerry wanted to surprise his wife with flowers after the birth of their son. He did not have money to purchase long-stem roses or a fancy arrangement from the flower shop, so he gathered a handful of pansies and delivered them to his bride in a tin cup from their pantry. The sentiment was well received and continues to be a story of simplicity and love passed down to their children and grandchildren.
Kerry and Nancy have been married for nearly 51 years. Kerry is a retired veteran and educator. After being a stay-at-home mom who volunteered at the library/PTA, Nancy worked as a secretary at the same elementary school where Kerry taught. Their dedication to one another and their family has left lasting impressions on all they have met and was what helped Maddy get through one of the toughest times in her life. As she faced a life-threatening illness three years ago, Maddy was reminded time and again of the importance of family. With their support and her medical treatment, Maddy regained her health and grew closer than ever before with her family. That bond was the catalyst for inking her pansies in a tin cup memorial. She never wanted to feel apart from the unwavering devotion of her loved ones. It only made sense for an artist to create and embody that image using her own talents.
Maddy Hoeltke-Brown is the artist who memorialized her grandparents’ impact on her life and turned that image into the namesake of her own graphic design company. Today she creates designs and images for businesses and individuals under the name The Pansy Press. As we visited that evening, I was so impressed with her story and the passion that she clearly has for her family and work! I knew hers was a story I wanted to share.
Coming from a place of despair, as Maddy did with her illness, she understood what it must have felt like to give and receive such a loving, yet simple, gift. Something so beautiful and thoughtful must have meant the world to her grandmother, and the desire to give a gift of value and significance had to have fueled her grandfather’s efforts as he presented those sweet blooms. Maddy seeks to include that same beauty and consideration in her work and hopes to continue the legacy of giving what she has in her time and talents.
Giving of our time and talents is what Intentergy is all about. There is nothing more positive than a purpose driven by our gifts and intents committed to making the lives of others more beautiful or appreciated. Our attentiveness and benevolence will always produce works that enhance lives. Tattooing your gratitude and affection, whether it be to your skin or your attitude, will serve as a constant reminder of how blessed you are and hopefully serve as a nudge for others to do the same. Today, I encourage you to be like Kerry and give of the simple, beautiful things in your life; to love and inspire those as Nancy and Kerry’s relationship does; and make the world a more creative place with your stories, some pansies, and a tin cup, just like Maddy.
By: Melanie A. Peters
Check out Maddy’s social media outlets and work here: https://www.thepansypress.com/links
P.S. We weren’t THAT crazy at the bar. We just had one margarita (or two) and a lot of laughs.
P.P.S. What’s the story behind your tattoo?
3 thoughts on “Pansies in a Tin Cup: Memory in a Tattoo”
I once took a trip to Vegas with my daughters, I was SO excited to be invited along. I suggested we get mother-daughter matching tattoos! My suggestion was not taken well & needless to say we did not get matching tattoos. We did have a great time & I was able to convince at least one of my girls to go on one of the zip lines. Maybe next trip.
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Definitely next time!