“Somewhere I have heard this before; in a dream my memory has stored.” On a Plain – Nirvana
We’re finally here in Aberdeen. I have to apologize for my lack of steady posting. Being on vacation is sometimes like being in a marathon or can sometimes feel a bit busy, which we have been for a while now. So I apologize for the delay in posts.
Aberdeen Washington was the settling place for my great-grandfather Lars Willumsen, a sea-captain who came straight here from Denmark.He raised my grandfather here and my grandfather raised my mother here. So not only is my mother and family from here but it is also the hometown of the late and famous grunge star Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana and their bassist Krist Novoselic .
I have heard stories my whole life about this place and all of the areas surrounding it. As of 2013, Aberdeen had a population of 16,371. It used to be a MAJOR sea port for the Pacific Northwest but primarily is known for it’s logging industry. In the early 1900’s it was notorious for its MANY whorehouses, saloons and gambling establishments. There was a man, a resident of Aberdeen named, “Billy Gohl” who gained a reputation for killing around 140 men. Needless to say, this place was bustling with industry AND gritty recreation.
It was good to see my family! We cried a little bit but that is to be expected when you haven’t seen each other in 2 years 🙂
There was so much going on I didn’t get a selfie with my sister. LOL, we’ll get one before the trip is over! 🙂
I met the family dog, “Thunder”. He’s a Great Dane / Pit Bull mix. He’s very large, very powerful and VERY affectionate.
I’ve grown quite fond of him thus far and like a lot of large breed dogs, Thunder thinks he is a lap dog. He’s been known to “sit in your lap” and fall asleep.
After we greeted everyone and put our stuff away, Rayann (my niece) swooped me up and took me on a journey through town. She took me up to “Hospital Hill” and that was the image you saw earlier in this post overlooking the town. It seems a little grimy if you look around at the houses. All of them seem to have a sort of “dirt” on them and I immediately thought this was just a grimy town. I thought maybe people just didn’t take care for their houses the way we do back home. The reality is that the atmosphere here creates moss and it grows on people’s roofs and because of the atmosphere, houses accumulate the dampness and appear to be dirty.
Washington is exactly what I thought it would be. Fur, Spruce, Cedar and Hemlock trees populate the wood and forest area along the highway, while Fern plants thicken just about every area you can imagine giving it a beautiful green look. The moisture in the air allows for this growth.
But not all days are rainy and grey. The sun shines brightly and almost breeds a need for wine on a fine afternoon.
I’ve always been told that Washington is just rainy and there aren’t a lot of sunny days. Well, that’s not really true. It’s been nice. Today is a little gloomy but it will brighten up tomorrow and this weekend so I look forward to that. I’m not sure that Washington would be the place for me (in terms of weather) but we still have quite a ways to go for me to find out 😉
It feels so strange to be in the very town that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain grew up in. What I didn’t know was that the bass player for Nirvana, Krist Novoselic was also from Aberdeen. I grew up on Nirvana and that was my generation of music so I identify greatly with that genre and time frame. Back then there was no “Google” or “Wikipedia” so most of the information gathered on your favorite rock band or artist was researched in magazines on the grocery store shelf or a rumor that you heard in passing from someone who had all the inside scoop. I gathered mine from magazines and MTV. LOL typical right? So back then I never knew where Kurt and Krist were from much less that they were from my family’s home town. I think, perhaps if I had known that back then, I would have made the statement to everyone about it so as to have some sort of “connection” with the band. In all fairness I was a kid and who doesn’t want to have a connection with someone famous?
Because of Nirvana’s huge success in the early 90’s and their creating of an entire genre, Aberdeen seems to have memorialized and immortalized Kurt Cobain by dedicating the entire town to him and his band. In the first image on this post the, “Welcome to Aberdeen” sign, Nirvana’s song title is placed directly underneath it, “Come As You Are” which was a song on Nirvana’s album, “Nevermind”. There is also the dedication of the bridge to Kurt Cobain that runs over the Wishkah River as there was a time in his life that he spent quite a few nights underneath that bridge. It’s said that he did drugs there and this is a common belief. The only thing that separates this bridge from my sister’s place of residence are two houses. Basically I can stand out in her yard and view it. For a full view of the bridge/park check out the video: http://youtu.be/SzQtWGAuUlo
So they dedicated the entire area around the bridge to Kurt Cobain by calling it, “KC Riverfront Park”
I was talking with someone last night, of whom I’m staying with, and he was telling me about Kurt and Chris. He was too old to have gone to school with Kurt Cobain but his nephew did. Apparently Kurt was a bully and picked on his nephew quite a bit and so it goes without saying that his nephew was not a big fan of Kurt. He also mentioned that he himself had partied with Krist N. back before Nirvana had formed and had worked with Kurt’s uncle (who he tells me was a very nice guy). There was a time after Nirvana had gained their major success that Krist N. had come back to Aberdeen for a visit and this person ran into Krist. He gave him a congratulations on his success, to which Krist replied, “What success?” with a very dry and unenthusiastic attitude. He said, “You know, with the band and everything.” Krist said, “I wouldn’t really call that a success.” So it seemed as though he had a bit of negativity going on there which he probably picked up from Kurt. It’s accurate if you watch documentaries of the band; you can hear and see that kind of attitude. But you know, it’s the attitude of the grunge era and grunge music so…it makes sense.
My thoughts? You know, I loved Nirvana growing up. I enjoyed their music and had their posters on my wall. I believe that Courtney Love (Kurt’s wife) had Kurt murdered and am sorry that his daughter has to grow up without a father. But I don’t think that a whole town should be dedicated to someone like that. I don’t even know how much Aberdeen has profited on their merchandising Kurt Cobain or if they have even profited at all. If you look around it really doesn’t seem like there has been much profit made. I would have never expected this town to have immortalized him the way they have and quite frankly I expected to come here and have to search for the bridge he slept under without there being any prompting from signage at all. But it is what it is and there is a bit of an element of this whole thing that I’m interested in and find fascination with. It hits close to home…literally, only two houses away.