Saturday, September 14, 2013

Underneath the Bridge

Underneath the bridge /
The tarp has sprung a leak
-"Something in the way"    

 When you visit Aberdeen WA you get a peek at the tortured soul of its most famous son. This is a dreary place that doesn't offer teenagers much in the way of hope or good times. Just a lot of rain , logging trucks and a muddy river that doesn't seem to be headed anywhere.

 Where the hell does a smart kid go to get some time to himself?

For Kurt Cobain that place was evidently underneath a bridge that crosses the Wishkah Bridge. He even claimed he lived there. His house was actually two blocks away. But Cobain did spend time here, writing lyrics as he listened to cars rumble overhead,  and when he died one third of his ashes was shaken into the river.

When Cobain died the Young Street Bridge became an unofficial memorial. People would come and leave messages, flowers and other items -- in the same way people visit Jim Morrison's Grave at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

  Some of the messages I read:

"Kurt you got me through my teens and early 20's"

"You were too big for this town"

"Welcome to the ghost town. The trees are the most alive"

I ran into Texan Edward Shanahan and his girlfriend Christina there. Shanahan says he bought Nevermind when it came out.

"That was a big deal in the house," he says. "You couldn't have a naked baby swimming in the water."

His mom threw the CD out.

"And like a good ole rebellious teenager I just went down the street and bought another one."

For the longest time, there was no official memorial for Kurt Cobain in Aberdeen. Don Sucher, who owns a Star Wars shop in town, got so many questions about Cobain he made a map to tell them where to find the bridge and the music store where Kurt bought his first guitar.

"Nobody had done anything to celebrate Kurt's life or whatever." he says. Soon Don gets around to telling his Cobain story:

"Back when he was a junior in high school, him and Kris (Novoselic) came in the furniture I was managing. They were looking for a Summer job. I think we furthered their music career because moving hide-a-beds isn't easy. Kurt lasted one day and Kris lasted two so yeah I didn't think it was their cup of tea doing manual labor back then."

Don has some real respect for Cobain

"What most people in the community don't realize is what he did to a whole generation of people all over the world. It's like what Elvis did for me."

  Finally in 2009 Aberdeen erected a memorial to Cobain. Here's what it says:


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