Category: Relatives

The 4th in Aberdeen

“She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there was a little more to life somewhere else. After all it was a great big world with lots of places to run to and if she had to die tryin’ she had one little promise she was gonna keep.” American GirlTom Petty and the Heartbreakers

During the 4th of July, most all of America is up and running. People are gathering with their families to roast hot dogs, hamburgers, eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and basically enjoy all things American. In Belhaven, where I’m from, they PARTICULARLY LOVE and celebrate the 4th with major festivities. They start off the day before with a Miss Independence Padgent then move into a “Street Dance” that lasts until very late. People dance the night away and have a great time. Then the next day there’s quite a large parade with festivities around every corner and booths to buy lots of cool junk. Up the road from this, there is a famous “Mud Run” where trucks are forced into the mud with their tires-a-spinning and the redneck in every one of us flying. You could say Belhaven is pretty hoppin’. But there’s one thing that can make all of this not worth the effort and that’s THE HEAT! One of the sayings go, “It’s hotter than the Belhaven 4th of July’s in here!” That’s when you know it’s hot! LOL So…this year I took great satisfaction in enjoying our day of independence in the nice 78 degree weather that was Aberdeen WA. :p

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Everyone gathered together: Me, mom, dad, sister, nieces, cousins, cousin’s girlfriends and children. We feasted on some wonderful dishes: watermelon, cheese/summer sausage and crackers, pasta salads of all kinds, crab salad, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cookies, WA cherries and other fruits. We played “Washers” (which is something like cornhole I suppose) and were just all around merry. Check these guys out. Dad (on the left) is attempting to explain something in the best of ways. Tommy (my cousin on the right) of course looks confused, but I assure you he’s not. Though he may be deciphering the white man’s speak.

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It was really great because I got to hang out with my cousin Chris. This summer’s trip was the first time I’ve seen him since I was 13 years old. I have great memories of those times. I met him and a lot of other relatives at a family reunion in Cowden Illinois (look for that post to come). He was 18 then and now we’re both in our 30’s. My how time flies!

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We really were having a great time. It was the first time in many years that I’ve really enjoyed myself. There was no heat really and it seemed like the most simplest, easiest action to just put food out and hang with the family!

Now, let me say that Belhaven puts on a nice little firework show at 9 p.m. It’s nice. BUT, in North Carolina, only cities can administer big fireworks. They’re illegal for residents to just shoot them off (or at least some are). In WA State…THEY’RE LEGAL! This town and every other town is lit up with explosions. Here, there, EVERYWHERE they shoot them off. Fireworks had been blasting off for days before the 4th actually came around. So naturally, Chris being the dude he is went and bought a lot of fireworks so we could have our own firework show!

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Everyone was ready to kick it off! Even the kid.

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It was so funny because he set all the chairs up in a row to watch the fire show commence. Hey look! It’s Kenny again! LOL

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These fireworks weren’t just some run-of-the-mill fireworks. These were the BIG ones!

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It was so exciting even I decided to try my hand at it. I lit several off. I have to tell you I was a little nervous to start with but after that it was all in good fun! After the show commenced we were all lit up; on the inside as well as outside. I know I definitely was. Yes, that IS a sweater. The nights are cold in Aberdeen.

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Our 4th of July celebration was a hit and I’d LOVE to do it every year. I do love America. God bless our soldiers and all of those who fought for us to be free! We know it comes at a price. We love you and will always support you.

Traveling Realities

“Think of what I’m saying. We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.” We Can Work It Out The Beatles 

This will be a quick one but it’s something I wanted to share. Not everything is perfect and I like for people to know the not so happy things as well as the happy ones. That is what keeps things real and genuine.

Traveling obviously is a big adventure and there are thrills that are beyond the norm so of course that’s why we travel. However, traveling is not without some sort of difficulty. Unless you’re traveling alone you are bound to have mishaps or unhappy moments with those who accompany you.

Let me first explain the relationships and then I will explain the living arrangement during our time here in Washington. My sister and brother, by blood, are my half siblings. We share the same mother but not the same father. However, there has never been a time where I have felt them to be a, “half” sibling. We are all a family and all I have ever known are them. My father IS their father and he is all they have ever known of a father. They were very young when he came into their lives. With that being said, my brother and sister connected with their biological father’s family around 2008. It opened up a whole new world for them and they connected with a family they never knew. They gained so much from that experience, especially my sister.

My sister moved here to Aberdeen (my mother’s hometown), and currently stays with her uncle until she can become settled. He has been kind enough to let me and my mother and father stay here during our visit. Altogether, there are 8 people who are currently living in Ken’s house. LOL that’s A LOT of people: Myself, my mom, my dad, Evy (my sister), Ken, Rayann (my niece), Hayley (my niece) and Ken’s daughter Kaycee. There are four bedrooms but the house, for the most part is quite small (I’m not sure of the square footage) and there is only one usable shower. So I hope you can kind of visualize what we’re working with.

This leads me to the “mishaps” and “unhappy moments”. I would say that it was difficult traveling with my mom and dad, but that would be a lie. I love them immensely and they really don’t do anything that would warrant too much irritation or frustration. I, on the other hand can be a “pill” (southern term for cranky or unhappy). I can’t really tell you why, but I suppose certain things pick at my nerves or have a tendency to annoy me? So I will say that some of that frustration is due on my part. However, I realize when I’m doing it so I attempt to bring my irritations to halt and commence to be easier to get along with. But this is all normal and if you’re expecting to get along with everyone you’re traveling with all the time I think you may be living in a dream world, or you’ve just been really lucky.

When we initially arrived at Ken’s house, there were many stresses that each person in the house was facing (minus us). My sister, Ken Hayley and Rayann were all finishing up the end of their school semester; Rayann with High School, Evy and Kenny with college and Hayley with 9th grade. Emotions were high and adjusting to the housing dynamic was rough! I can tell you that some words were exchanged and tempers flared. You must also take into consideration that everyone in this family is HIGHLY opinionated. No one is leaving without stating their opinions. Myself included. 😉

It definitely took about 2 weeks to REALLY become adjusted with everything: the sleeping arrangements, social dynamic of the house, friends and family coming over and meeting them, functions etc etc. By the way, my sleeping arrangement is currently with 5 early twenties-ish British boys in a slightly small room. I’m talking about this band “One Direction”. They are currently the favorite band of my 14 yr old niece Hayley, of who’s room I’m currently inhabiting. They are literally ALL OVER her walls. They look at me every night as I go to sleep and I can’t help but feel a little…intruded on? They’re starring at me constantly. It’s so creepy.

I know everyone sees all of the really great and happy wonderful things that we’re doing and they ARE happy and wonderful! We’re having a blast, don’t get me wrong, but no travel is without some sort of discomfort or frustration. So we definitely have had our trials since we’ve been here but it worked itself out and everyone is good to go. 🙂

Aberdeen Museum of History

“Composure come and gone with hunger like a bomb and now she gets her turn, to breathe the wind and burn.” Blow Infinite WaysEnon

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What a nice little hidden treasure. I say hidden, not because of the location, but it seems as though this place doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. We were the only ones in there for a couple of hours until some school kids waltzed in toward 2 p.m.

You can see the whole museum upon walking in.

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It definitely looks like something you would want to explore. So naturally I started from start to finish.

A man named, “Samuel Benn” was the founder of Aberdeen. He was born in Ireland and eventually died in Aberdeen. I’m not too sure about how he came here or really any serious information because there was none. I looked and couldn’t find anything more than that.

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I LOVE looking at old photos like these. I really can’t tell you why because I’m not quite sure. Maybe it has something to do with my wanting to have experienced that decade in life, or that I admire parts of that kind of society. Whatever it is, I enjoy looking at these kinds of images.

Women of Aberdeen

Around the corner, there was a wall dedicated to the “Women of Aberdeen”. These were women who were supposed to be pioneers of this town. They consisted of:

  1. Anona Waldron Malinowski
  2. Minnie Gerdis Malinowski
  3. Emily Malinowski Moe
  4. Sophia Malinowski Davidson
  5. France’s Kozlowaski Malinowski
  6. Doctor Rose Papac
  7. Elizabeth Achey Malinowski
  8. Louise Knoell Fairbairn
  9. Mary Malinowski Evenson

Well, I found this to be completely interesting as some of these women were intertwined within our family on my mother’s side! Elizabeth Achey Malinowski was my great grandmother’s first cousin.

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And without getting into too much genealogy, one of the other female pioneers of Aberdeen was Emily Malinowski Moe who is my grandfather’s second cousin.

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The relations are a little confusing which is why I can’t go into too much detail because, let’s face it, I’m too tired and there’s little time. But what I will tell you is that one of the most famous pioneers of this town and had world fame for her painting abilities was my 3x great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Achey.

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This is actually not the real image of Mary Achey. The woman pictured as Mary Achey is possibly a woman named, Ida Fogarty. So the museum is in need of a real photo of Mary Achey. My aunt can probably provide them with an image.

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It is said, not only in this book but in other documentation that Mary Achey was the most prolific woman artists in the west during the years of 1860 to 1885. Her daughter died at a very young age and it must have emotionally damaged her because she blamed her daughter’s death on her husband and left him! She was then rumored to have carried her daughters remains with her for quite some time until she finally buried her. I think she was definitely disturbed by her daughter’s death. In any case, we own several paintings of hers. One of them is a painting she did of what she thought her daughter would look like as a teenager. It’s a very pretty image. Unfortunately I cannot post the picture of the painting as it’s in North Carolina. When I get back I can post it. One of her paintings also hangs in a Presidential Library, at the moment we are currently researching which one it is. The woman at the museum said that it was Lyndon Johnson (this is debatable). Mary Achey definitely did not gain the fame that she probably should have had in Aberdeen AND worldwide. You would think that she would have maintained a larger space in the Aberdeen museum seeing as she was pretty famous in this town, but she had only a tiny corner. Very weird and sad.

Schoolhouse

Around the corner from the pioneering women was a little corner depicting what school life looked like in Aberdeen back when.

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My mom said she used to sit in desks just like this when she was in school. It’s a neat little set up. Check out the list of Teacher Rules:

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Rule #8 says “…or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth..” WHOA! I didn’t realize that was a big deal! It makes me want to know what the reputation of barber shops were in Aberdeen back then! Maybe they gave you a shave and then got a “frisky woman” to come out and give you a dance afterward? Scandalous. I don’t know but the rules now are MUCH easier to follow than they were back then!

Railway Station

So most everything in the museum looks like it’s a reconstruction of what certain places and stations would look like. This happened to be a reconstruction of what a railway station would look like?

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Pretty neat! I love all that old luggage but I’m SO glad we don’t have to “lug” that around now-a-days. Looking at all these old items and antiques makes me appreciate the conveniences we have now.

Operator Call Center

One of the COOLEST setups at the museum was this little call center for operators. I geeked out a little bit thinking about all those women connecting calls and plugging in things and pushing buttons! LOL I know nothing about this stuff, but I’ve seen it in movies and it looks REALLY neat!

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If you’ll notice, there’s a little sign hanging in the phone booth that says, “Antique Chat Room”. HAHAHA too cute.
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Kitchen

Behind the operator desk is a little kitchen with a cute stove, sink, washing baskets and dining table.

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I absolutely ADORE this old bread tin!

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But I have NO interest in washing clothes by hand! That was a labor I admire women for doing back then! Every woman who did this should have received a medal for their heroic efforts and scrubbing clothes against a washboard every day! THANK YOU General Electric, Maytag and every other brand of washing machine!

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1902 Metropolitan Steam Pumper

The 1902 Metropolitan Steam Pumper built by the American Fire Engine Company of Seneca Falls, New York, was purchased in October 1902 for $6,800.00. Arriving in Aberdeen in March of 1903, the first test saw it build a full head of steam in only six minutes and thirty-seven seconds. The two horses sometimes had trouble pulling the heavy machine over saw dust streets, so a third horse was added in 1904. This pumper served Aberdeen, first at the central headquarters and then at the South Aberdeen Station. In 1914, the pumper was sold to the Simpson Timber Company, and served in McCleary until 1944. The machine was returned to Aberdeen and was restored. It was exhibited in Seattle at the State Fire Museum and returned to Aberdeen in 1967. The metropolitan was the largest piece of fire equipment that the American Fire Engine Co. made at the time, with a dry weight of 9,800 pounds and can pump 1,100 to 1,400 gallons of water per minute. – (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)

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Grays Harbor Motorship Corporation

Grays Harbor Motorship Corporation was established in 1917, during the WW1 era. Land was leased from the Lindstrom Shipyard, located at the foot of South Washington Street. From 1918 through 1919 GHMC completed twenty steamships for the USSB’S (United States Shipping Board) Emergency Fleet Corporation. The most noted ship produced was the S.S. Aberdeen, a 290 foot, 4,000 ton (dead weight) cargo ship, establishing a world record of 17.5 actual working days from keel laying to launching. This record still stand as the greatest performance in the history of shipbuilding, and will probably never be equaled. – (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History) I know the image isn’t great but I had to show the magnitude of these ships!

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So along with the ship building of Aberdeen came the logging industry.

The Dolbeer

First steam-powered Donkey came to Grays Harbor in 1890’s. It soon replaced the “hay burners”. (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)

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Log Jam

Try to find the men in the “jam” of logs. (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)

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Can you imagine logging back then? I really can’t. It’s so hard to really wrap my mind around how such small creatures could cut down such large trees and then move them! The human mind is extraordinary.

Rigging Man

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April 1959

This mammoth fir was cut in Cook Creak area south of Neilton by the Don Bell Logging Co. The butt cut measured better than 10 feet in diameter and 28 feet in length and contained about 10,000 board, it was consigned to Harbor Plywood. (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)

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One thing I’ve noticed about photography from years ago, is that ordinary people who had no formal photography education back then had a much better concept of composition than those same people do now. Why is this? I really would like to know the answer. This is a good question for my former instructor and friend Charity Valentine.

General Store

I always find retro products super fascinating! Naturally I gravitated toward the general store to check out what that was all about.

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Some of the products included:

  • Oster razor
  • Grandpa’s Pine Tar Toilet Soap
  • Sloan’s Liniment
  • Throat Gargle
  • Swamp Root
  • St. Jacob’s Oil

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Father John’s Medicine, A Nutritive Tonic and a Wholesome Medicine included: cod liver oil of high vitamin A and D content, gum arabic and glycerin. It was used for the correction of deficiencies in vitamin A and D. It was recommended for relief of coughs due to cold and throat irritation.

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Swamp Root, a Diuretic to Kidneys and Mild Laxative. It’s name was funny which was why I had to add it. LOL You can definitely tell how marketing and advertising has changed over the course of 100+ years. The typical American consumer is not buying something called, “Swamp Root”.

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She looks extremely disinterested in whatever is happening at the local General Store. She’s probably ready for quitting time so she can go and be a bad woman in a brothel somewhere!

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Church

This church in the early 1900’s doesn’t look much different from any Baptist church in Beaufort County NC in 2015!! LOL #Truth

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Barber Shop

I found this to be interesting.

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But only because of the sign in the bottom part of the window.

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LOL, We’ve messed up the whole United States! Man do we suck! LOL This sign reminded me of the movie Mary Poppins when the mother of the two children was swept up in the “VOTES FOR WOMEN” movement! What’s funny is that I really DID NOT like Mary Poppins at all (the woman) but I really enjoyed the mother and always wanted to see more of her.

Movie Theater

So this is what it looked like inside of the movie theater.

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But look at what was directly on top of the theater.

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A brothel? A place for sailors to visit women? I don’t know, I just assume that because there’s a red light on a sailor mannequin! HAHAHA!

In conclusions I did learn a little bit from the museum. Unfortunately there were a lot of holes in certain pieces of information. I would have liked to know more about the founder of Aberdeen, Samuel Benn and several other tid bits of info that would have helped me to truly understand this town more.You didn’t really get that with this museum but a little bit is better than nothing.

If anyone has any information on any of these items/topics, please leave your comments below. 🙂

Aberdeen Washington

“Somewhere I have heard this before; in a dream my memory has stored.” On a PlainNirvana

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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.

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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 🙂

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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! 🙂

Thunder

I met the family dog, “Thunder”. He’s a Great Dane / Pit Bull mix. He’s very large, very powerful and VERY affectionate.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 😉

Nirvana

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

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So they dedicated the entire area around the bridge to Kurt Cobain by calling it, “KC Riverfront Park”

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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.

From California to Oregon

“I got a golden ticket, I’m not gonna even pick it. I heard it, he said it, I heard it but then it went something like Visit. I wanna visit the world.” Visit311

imageGoodbyes

Well, we said our sorrowful goodbyes to Glenda, Bob, Bobby, Chad and Troy. They were so hospitable and incredibly sweet. We couldn’t thank them enough. So thank you all for extending your home and being so kind and generous. We love you 🙂 ❤

We started our journey up Hwy 101, cut through on 199 and then took the rest of the route on Hwy 5. So we basically took the coast up to Crescent City CA and then cut over and used the interstate all the way to Washington. We were really searching for time so it was easier and more efficient to take the interstate.

Going up the coast from California to Washington is not only beautiful and really amazing, but it really gives this North Carolina girl a different perspective on beauty. I can’t stress enough how different it is out here. The scenery is wonderful. It almost looks like Big Sur going up the entire coast of California!

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The sky seems to always compliment the cliffs and water creating a magnificent view of California’s coastline.

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Everything is so big that you feel so little.

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We saw this guy ride next to us. What a nifty thing he’s done with that little trailer!

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You know, there’s just miles and miles of different things to see coming up from California and into Oregon. The scenery definitely changes from golden hills to nice green trees.

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Drive-Thru Tree

Right before we decided to jump over to the interstate we decided to take a nice little detour to visit the “Drive-Thru Tree”.

“Drive-Thru Tree Park is a privately-owned grove that has been operated by the Underwood Family since 1922. Located approximately 180 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area, the park was an ideal stopping place for overnight or week-long stays. In 1937 the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree was added to provide a unique treat for travelers. Visitors have been taking pictures of their vehicles inside the opening ever since. With the exception of motor homes or vehicles pulling trailers most vehicles will be able to drive through the Tree. Parking is provided for larger vehicles and tour buses.” from http://drivethrutree.com

Unfortunately the van wouldn’t fit through the tree, but that didn’t stop me from getting some shots.

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imageThere’s a place for people to have picnics and enjoy the scenery on the property so it’s a really nice little stop off when driving up the coast. I enjoyed it.

Bad Experiences

Every traveling story MUST have a bad experience right? LOL We decided that we would stop in Arcata California and spend the night. I looked online and did some research on moderately priced hotels with good reviews and found a Quality Inn that seemed reasonable. We have stayed at Quality Inn’s before so we thought this would be satisfactory. It was quite late when we arrived so we were EXHAUSTED when we checked in. Upon opening the door to the room, there was a very musty odor, almost a pet and cigarette smell that hit immediately. I disregarded this as I’m not that picky and a lot of places smelled odd anyway. So we walked in and set our stuff down on the bed. I noticed there were four pillows on the bed, but non of them were standard sized pillows. They looked like they were for a child. So I called the front desk clerk and said they must have put the wrong pillows on the bed because they weren’t a standard size. He said that was the only pillow size they had and there was nothing he could do about that. So, that was okay. It had to be right?

I collapsed onto the end of the bed and mom says, “Are you going to check for bed bugs?”. I immediately pulled up the sheet and was disgusted by the soiled stains on the end of the mattress. There were no bed bugs but what I DID find, when I moved the sheet back were what looked to be blood stains on the sheet!

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After getting attitude from the desk clerk I felt like I would pretty much have to deal with it. I decided the best thing to do was to not look around anymore. I would just go to sleep and be done with it.

When we woke up, THAT’S when everything came into the light.

The carpet:

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The walls:

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The bathroom:

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Enough said. I really don’t need to discuss it further. However, I did leave a pretty nasty note for the manager. I also emailed corporate headquarters. I did receive an email back from them and they told me they would contact the manager of that hotel and have that person contact me in 72 hours. I have yet to receive a call or an email and it has been 5 days. I’m not very good at math but I think we’ve passed the time frame for the manager to call. Anyway…we were happy to be on our way and decided to enjoy the rest of the journey.

Driving Up the Coast

Driving up the Pacific Coast isn’t all beaches and cliffs, there are times where you come through mountainous terrain.

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I do have to say that I went through a mini panic attack to get this image. I had to step down on the edge a little bit to get the angle. At first it wasn’t too bad at all and my body wasn’t freaking out or my mind. As soon as I got the shot and went to step up I immediately froze. I realized where I was and how high up I was and everything in my body suddenly stopped and shut off, as if it were in survival mode. I didn’t know what to do. Clearly this step up wasn’t terrible because all I had to do was make a couple of steps and I would have been in the clear. It was a little steep but to someone without a fear of heights this would have been a piece of cake. When you’re afraid, like I was, your brain works in a different way. I felt as if I would certainly fall if I took a step up, or gravity would pull me backwards and I would be supper for this beautiful little river. I knew I couldn’t stand there forever, so I mustered the courage and slowly climbed up the steep edge and landed successfully on flat ground. I survived! Yay!

 

Oregon

We arrived in Oregon and…I fell in LOVE! I could, quite possibly, live here. The scenery is SO gorgeous! Everything turned from golden hills to luscious greenery! Everything looked so alive and thriving! Flowers popped up everywhere along the road. Daisies and Hemlock are plentiful along the road and on the sides of hills. Even though Hemlock is poisonous, I think it’s beautiful.

We found a Holiday Inn Express in Roseburg Oregon that seemed to be nice so we decided to stay there for the evening and it was FANTASTIC! We told them what had happened to us with the Quality Inn so they gave us the nicest room with the best view. And it really was the best view!

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We were so happy to have a CLEAN room and CLEAN sheets and a CLEAN bathroom to occupy! That may have been the most restful sleep I have had on this entire trip thus far. So thank you Holiday Inn Express for providing a wonderful comfort for us. Everyone was so hospitable and friendly, we couldn’t have asked for more. And the only way to top off a great night of sleep was with a great cup of coffee the next morning!

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I’m in love with Dutch Brothers Coffee. We don’t have them on the east coast so I suppose I will get my fill while I’m here!

We decided that we would just take the interstate all the way to WA so we could arrive sooner. My sister and nieces were VERY ready to see us so and we were ready as well. So we booked it. I caught a glimpse of the city of Portland.

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If we had more time I would have liked to go into the city and explore but we were hungry and in a hurry! We stopped to eat lunch and what better place than, “Bannings Restaurant Pie House” in Portland. I’ve never been to a little place like this but have always seen them in movies. It was a really neat little diner :).

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Did I mention that in the state of Oregon you do not pump your own gas?! They have gas station attendants to pump it for you! This guy was of such an attendant and posed nicely for me.

imageI thought that was the neatest and also craziest thing! But you know, it’s cool just like Oregon and I could DEFINITELY have seen myself living there. It’s such a beautiful place (what I saw) and I now know why everyone talks about it so fondly and are interested in living there.

I might be in the business of moving there. Anyone want to be roommates? 😉

New Experiences

“This ain’t no funky reggae party, five dollars at the door.” Garden GroveSublime

That song lyric might have been more appropriate for the last post HA! But you know, Sublime is always a band I think of when I think of California along with No Doubt and a slew of others.

So at this point everyone should know that we are staying with our cousins Bob and Glenda in Penryn. Well, their grandson Chad, who is my second cousin once removed, has been showing me, “around town” and it’s been really great!

We went by his house for minute or two, then ran over to his mother’s house, Lynnette who is my 2nd cousin and talked with her for a bit. That was really wonderful because I have always heard of these people but had never met them! I can’t explain the feeling you get when you meet another family member for the first time. I think this feeling starts when you get older and can appreciate it more. It’s finding others that are part of your blood in some way and so you’re automatically connected and I think that is what I like so much about it.

Touring Homes

We then went and toured some model homes. WOW. These buildings were quite large but some not so large. One thing I noticed were the bathrooms and they were like a room all in themselves.

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After home touring, we hit up Nordstrom Rack. I’ve never been to one and we don’t have them in NC and if we do they’re either in Raleigh or Charlotte. I purchased a shirt for a very decent price and then we scampered over to the mall.

Tiffany & Co.

Before I begin this it should be addressed that I do love diamonds. It’s my birthstone and even though it’s not very rare, I still love the sparkle and shine. So I saw the Tiffany store and told Chad I had never been into one. He immediately grabbed my hand and pulled me in there. The first thing he said to the salesman was, “We’re not buying anything, but we’re just looking. She has never been into a Tiffany’s before and I want her to experience that.” At this point I was thinking, “Well, he can either say okay and turn around and walk away, or he could tell us he doesn’t have time for us at all that only paying customers were worth his time.” I think all of this because this IS the mentality of most salesman. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to think what I did because that’s how the world works. Well…imagine my surprise when he presented a sophisticated half-smile and said, “Please feel free to take a look. Anything you would like to try, let me know.” I disregarded this as I wasnt sure if I heard him right. I saw a princess cut diamond ring. The salesman came over and chad said, “She likes that one.” The man opened the glass door and set it on the counter for me to look at. It priced at around $24,000. The price wasn’t shocking as I know it can be expensive. I looked at it and he said, “Go ahead and try it on.” I responded, “I can’t because it won’t fit my finger.” He just responded in a very non assuming way that, “it doesn’t have to fit, it fits no ones finger, it’s just there for you to try it on the part that it will fit on.” So I hesitantly picked up the dainty little $24,000 ring and place it on the thinnest part of my ring finger. Hello love. Where have you been all my life. That feeling was wonderful. It was so dainty and shiny. I thought, “This must be what it feels like for other women.”

I looked at the next ring that was clearly covered in diamonds. Chad said, “Can we look at this one”. He said, “Absolutely but we must go into the room over there to do so.” Apparently this ring cost a bit more. We walked eagerly to the room and he pulled out the ring. I placed it on my finger…and then looked at the price.

 

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$127,000 sitting on my undeserving finger. Wow.

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I honestly didn’t know how to pose for the photo. I felt very out-of-place trying it on because I will never have money like that to spend on such a beautiful ring. I feel like such a simple woman in the things I own that I almost felt uncomfortable walking into Tiffany’s to start with. I felt like maybe I should have been dressed up to do this.

The coolest thing about that whole experience, I think, was the salesman. He was so very nice and completely sweet. He was never assuming or bothered. He seemed to enjoy talking and loved his job. I would love to give him a wonderful review. I never for a minute thought he would give us the time of day. It was very sweet and I’ll always remember that. :’)

Buca Di Beppo

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So after all of the stuff we did, Chad took me to one of his favorite restaurants in the area which is, “Buca Di Beppo”. It’s an Italian restaurant located near the mall. He told me he reserved us the VIP seating. I didn’t think much of this because of the VIP seating style back home. When you get a VIP seat, it’s usually just a dark corner that’s somewhat private. It’s not anything to really write home to mom about but THIS was something to write to y’all about!

The VIP booth is IN THE KITCHEN!

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Talk about private! This is uber private! It was just an amazing thing! So you get:

A private booth in the Kitchen

Whenever your bread or water are low a server immediately fills it up for you whether they’re your server or not.

If an order is messed up in the main part of the restaurant, they will bring that order to the VIP table and let you have it.

Sometimes they will let you try different sauces (though I think that might have actually just been Chad’s doing since he frequents there a lot).

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I was surprised to say the least. Behind the booth, located on the wall were pictures of famous celebrities who had eaten there, either at that locations or others across the country. There are very few Buca restaurants in the whole of the U.S.

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We ordered the Spicy Rigatonni and for dessert a Tiramisu (El, it was amazing!) I didn’t eat too much beccause that wasn’t going to be good for anyone! Hands down, that was another experience I will put down in the books. Thank you so much Chad 🙂 Now I just have to work off these calories! Yikes!

After all is said and done, you can call me, “Experience Lady”. HA!

The Storyteller

“I tried to go back, as if I could, all spec house and plywood.” CopperlineJames Taylor

I woke up this morning with an agenda. My mother and I planned on attending Greenville’s, “Pirate Festival” located downtown Greenville. I had thought about it for roughly a week before the event was to take place, and contemplated whether or not it would be something I would follow through with. Well, it seemed that I WAS going to go through with this today. I was about to get ready when mom said, “I really don’t feel well.” Knowing that she felt bad, I knew it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. So there wasn’t anything really lost by not attending and I wasn’t trying to put mom through something that was probably going to torture her.

So as I drank my coffee I started thinking about the conversation I had with my cousin Rick via text – by the way I feel like I should add into this that when Rick texts, he uses no commas so it takes a minute to decipher the text lol (I still love him). He lives in a very small town in Illinois called, “Cowden”. The population, last I heard, was around 400. I’m sure that number has grown since 1999. Let me check with the almighty Oracle………okay Google says it’s around 599. So there are roughly 600 people in this small town. The last time I was there, I was only aware of a post office, gas station, band stand and cemetery. Even though it was a small town, I was young and it was new so it has fond memories with me.

Rick

Rick is my mother’s first cousin. Have you ever heard someone say, “That guy is a trip!”? If you have, well, I’m most certain they were speaking of Rick. He’s hilarious. There’s no getting around that. As his reputation holds honest and true, he is funny and can tell a story that is out of this world interesting. He INSISTS he is NOT lying when he comes up with a tall tale that seems flabbergasting. No matter what tale he’s telling, you’re always entertained and it will stay with you forever. Not only are his tales outrageous, but he lives on a quiet little farm that is home to several horses and recently some baby chicks! The most recent news I became privy to was that he and his son Luke put up some fencing for his baby chickens that he purchased.

I’ve been to Illinois three times, and all of those times I stayed in Cowden at Rick’s farm. The first time I was 13 yrs old and attended a family reunion? I’m not entirely sure it was a family reunion but I’m almost positive. The second time I was 16. It was also my first plane ride! I stayed on the farm for around 2 – 3 weeks and it was really great. We rode 4-wheelers and visited people and went places. The third time I visited I was 18. That was even cooler because I was familiar with my surrounding and in a different age bracket so I enjoyed different things like hanging out with other people my age and riding around and doing silly stuff. Since 1999, I haven’t been back. Thinking about that makes it a little sad.

SO…what my parents and I have decided is that we will actually stop in and visit Rick on our way back from WA! YAY!! I’m REALLY excited about that and today I kind of sat back and day dreamed about what we will do when we visit. Will we ride horses? Yes. Will we ride 4-wheelers? Maybe. I’m not sure if he has one, but I’m pretty sure he does. Will we visit people? Yes. Will we enjoy our time with Rick? Absolutely. I’m hoping that we may even get to see Luke and Kim (Rick’s son and daughter in-law). It’s been many years since we’ve all seen each other. I would love to get ahold of those chickens. 🙂 But the one thing I’m most ready for is…

Rick’s story telling. 🙂