In Fort Worth, it is not the young girls that are making headlines with their odd tattoos, it’s Grandma Hammond, also known as Shirley, or ‘Miss Dixie’. That’s right, Shirley is a 62 year old grandmother, and a cancer survivor, that claims getting tattoos helps her cope with her depression.

Shirley actually prefers to go by Miss Dixie, rather than her legal name, and says she has survived two cancers which have led to a depression. And tattoos help her deal. She got her first tattoo when she was 47 and is now almost completely covered from neck to ankle. She says they are the perfect therapy for a chick with tough skin, and a sensitive soul.

Antidepressants didn’t work for this lady, making her groggy and unfocused, but tattoos on the other hand, make her feel alive. And for a cancer survivor, that’s pretty big. Her hubby is a right winged health inspector, and has been extremely supportive of her transformation. He’s only sorry that she’s running out of room for more tattoos.

Miss Dixie’s first tattoo was the result of a diagnosis, but not hers, her moms, of terminal cancer. She decided to get one as a permanent reminder of her moms and got a tiny flower put on her left ankle. But as many tattoo recipients know, she was soon addicted.

Most of her tattoos commemorate events in her life, painful ones. A cross on her leg symbolizes 11 days she spent praying for her son after he experienced heart problems. The angels on her back signify her late mom, and also, a late daughter. She says the pain from a tattoo needle put her other troubles into perspective and is at her favorite tattoo parlor every week for some new ink.
Her favorite parlor owner describes Miss Dixie as the toughest chick he’s ever met, and says he’s seen pro football players or Ultimate Fighters cry like babies when under the needle.
Dixie is covered in a lot of symbols, but the one that stands out in almost every tattoo are eyes.

“My psychiatrist told me it’s because I’m paranoid,” she joked. “I feel like they are looking out for me.”

And protection for a cancer survivor means the world.