STRANGE INDEED, BUT TRUE
STRANGE INDEED, BUT TRUE
Being home to a number of major players in basic industry, such as steel and oil, da' Region was always on the alert. Who knew what Commies were lurking behind some corner, just waiting to do us evil?
Fear of the red menace controlled the lives of all who resided in da' Region. Ah, you say to yourself, "Maybe fear controlled your life, but it did not control mine." Ask yourself this question, Do you have a tattoo on the left side of your torso consiting of a letter and a symbol; a.k.a. blood type? Ask yourself one more question, Why do I have this tattoo?
I vividly recall being tattooed by the City of Gary Health Department. I could not have been ten years old at the time. Not only was I tattooed, so was every kid at my school. It was a more than traumatic experience. Every kid was lined up outside the office, required to partially disrobe and then shot with a gun type device. The head of the pistol looking instrument had needles in it which dispensed the tattoo ink in the required pattern. What I am able to still vividly recall a half century or more later is the phsical pain from the gun needles bouncing off my ribs. Not fun, folks!
One must presume thtis was done in the name of health and safety? It seemed like a good idea at the time. One would not have to guess about my blood type if I was in need of a transfusion. Of course, such an assumption presumes medical personnel would even know to look for my blood type tattoo. I doubt anyone in Gary today would know to look. I know medical personnel outside of da' Region would not know to look. If they did, or I told them to, they would neither believe me, nor rely on the information I carry with me 24/7, no matter where in the world I might happen to be.
If an official explanation for subjecting the youth of Gary to this more than bizarre procedure was ever proffered, I no longer have any recollection of it. If the explanation was given to my parents, as rightly it should have been, I do know it was never spoken of by them. Only recently, I found fellow victims have been asking the same questions. Unfortunately, more questions than answers are what remain as a result of their queries. Here is what they have found/learned:
Giving credit, where credit is due: The
following was found at —
It struck such a responsive chord, and freshened latent memories so
In a much earlier posting here, I talked about my tattoo. In that 2001 blurb I wrote:
“I grew up in Gary, Indiana in the 1950’s. Like most people from my generation, we had our A-bomb drills every week, when the air raid sirens would howl and all of us kids would dive under our school desks in the properly tucked posture. I remember, as a young boy, looking up every time an airplane flew over … hoping it wasn’t a Russian bomber (in INDIANA of all places). The McCarthy hysteria seemed to be particularly rampant in the Midwest. We kids were taught not to trust our neighbors - you never knew who might be a Commie intent on taking over the world.
2006-12-21 09:07 pm UTC
|Did you notice that after they tagged you, the just pulled the little
0+ (or what ever you type), head off of the buzzer and attacked the next
victums blood type? Ah, that wonders of infectious deseases.|
The next person who needed 0+? They just picked up that head, popped it on and stuck you.
Hope you didn't laugh. One person I say in college had 0- about 15 times in a neat little row. He said he laughted because it tickled and the tat machine just bounced up his side.
Better living through chemistry.
|my mom |
2007-02-12 01:35 pm UTC (link)
|My Mom grew up in Shereville Indiana. And has one of these
I thought about getting one lkike it in her honor. I have no tattoos at present. Her life story to me is fascinating. Growing up in rural Indiana. Moved from an apartment in Chicago that was too small for this growing family. Eventually my grandparents had 10 kids in all.
My grandmother almost died ....got cancer....got it taken care of..and went on to have 3 more kids. Talk about your strong women.
This is the first thing I found when searching for this topic online.
|Atomic Tattoos |
2007-02-12 11:21 pm UTC
|I like many grew up in the gary school system in the 50's. My school
was tolleston. The one thing I find unusual if not scary is the fact that
all of this was done without the parents approval - imagine your child
coming home from school with a tattoo. I can remember getting our small
pox vacine without our parents approval. My father had a fit.|
One other thing That I saw mentioned with the money transfer, if there was one. If we remember who the mayor was I believe he ended up in prison for some type of fraud. Sorry, I can't spell his name correctly It went something like Charcharise. I guess in Gary anything can happen.
2007-02-17 03:35 pm UTC
|Hi Doug! Shocked the hell out of my son and daughter-in-law yesterday
when I responded to the question of "do you have a tattoo" with a "YES!"
Then I had to TRY and explain why I had my blood type tattooed on my side!
They didn't believe me until I googled "blood type tattoo" and ran across
Conelrad.com and the story with your comments. Thought I would respond and
say "HI" ....hope all is well and are you coming to the reunion in
|TAT TYPE tatoo |
2007-03-04 02:41 am UTC
|Whatever its origin and funding, this program was not limited to Gary.
I had this "experience" in the mid-50's in the Munster public (grade)
school. I don't know anything about parental consent or funding, but my
experience suggests that the phenomenon may be broader - at least within
the "Region" - than is recognized here.|
|Federal records |
2007-08-04 07:18 pm UTC
|I have heard of that tat-type program and the problem with it.I think
the government should do something about it.|
2007-10-17 02:35 pm UTC
|I don't know if this TAT program was in use outside the Gary limits. I have mentioned it to people from California to Florida and nobody ever heard of such a thing.I got mine in 1952 at Tolleston and still have the card that was handed out with all your blood type info on it.I remember hearing screams from time to time coming from behind the screen.(sheet hanging up), so I broke into a sprint I was out of there, but was brought back and put at the front of the line.With tats being so popular now it is fun to say I've had mine 55 years.Any comments to share?...write Deckhand002@yahoo.com(Reply to this)|
|i have a tat |
2007-11-19 06:45 pm UTC
|I also grew up in gary, indiana. went to st. mark school. there i was tattooed. my older sister was also. people ask and when i tell them the truth no one believes me. great to know that others have the same problems. i could never figure out why we had to hid under the desk. if a bomb did hit the steel mills we would be died anyway, from the fall out. sure would like to hear more about your history.|
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