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Essay/Term paper: Kurt cobain: collection of personal accounts from family relatives

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Culture

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Kurt Cobain: Collection of Personal Accounts From Family Relatives


I would like to share some of the memories and perceptions I have concerning
this unique, rare and original human being called Kurt Cobain. I knew Kurt
during his teen-age years in the period from about 1979 to 1984. I was in my
mid-30s and living in and near Montesano. My sister married Kurt's dad, Don, and
also lived in Montesano.

My grandfather comprehended the intelligence and individuality in Kurt at a time
when Kurt was being beaten down mentally and physically. "Gramps" often told me
of his respect for Kurt's tenacity and compassion even though he was in
emotional pain. Shortly before Gramps died, he had been talking about Kurt. He
looked at me and said words to the effect that he could see a nobility about
Kurt that he had never seen in anyone in all his 70 years.

One time, Gramps invited Kurt along on one of our steelhead fishing trips. We
were spread out a few hundred feet apart along the Wynooche River. All of a
sudden, we heard this horrendous combination of screaming, warbling and yodeling
from Kurt, who was upstream and out of sight. Gramps told me to run up there and
help Kurt, who must have hooked a big fish. When I reached Kurt, he didn't even
have his line in the water. When I asked him what was going on, he just looked
at me with those piercing eyes and huge grin. He said, "Oh, I'm just trying to
thicken my vocal chords so I can scream better!" When I went back to Gramps to
tell him, he just grinned and said, "It figures, We'll just let him be!" We can
now say, "Thank you, Kurt, for thickening your vocal chords!"

Kurt didn't fit the general mold of society in a logging town, and so he was
beaten upon by people who didn't understand him. One day I heard that he was in
a fight a few blocks away. When I ran to the scene, the fight was over. However,
I heard from a friend that Kurt was assaulted by a burly, 250-pound logger type.
Evidently, Kurt did not even fight; he just presented the bully with the
appropriate hand gesture everytime he was knocked down until the bully gave up.
To top it all off, Kurt just had that usual grin on his face!

A final footnote to this small remembrance of Kurt: A wonderful picture comes to
mind of a rare, sunny day when I peeked out the window into the yard. There was
Kurt with some kind of contraption on his head. It resembled a tinfoil hat. He
was sneaking around the yard, followed by about half a dozen laughing toddlers.
Kurt had the million dollar grin on his face, and I could tell he was definitely
in "nirvana." I guess you could say he was the "pied piper" of compassion.

I hope that these little examples of happiness will help to show that even
though Kurt experienced pain in his teen-age years he still did not let that
pain stop him from loving life as fully as he could. We should never condemn
Kurt for leaving us. We should instead look inward and thank him for loving us
enough to share his feelings. Let us learn that no amount of pain will ever stop
us from loving life. We must all maintain respect for the signifigance of our
own lives, as well as the lives of others.

Larry Smith: Kurt's uncle by marriage

Here is a little glimpse of a happy side of Kurt. A measure of the kind of Man
he was, even when he was about 15 years old: Old Man Reeves was this kind of
eccentric guy who lived on Sylvia Street in Montesano. He was a loner and kids
used to really give him a bad time, and do cruel things to him. He would come
out on his porch and shake his fist at his tormentors and scream profanities. We
(myself included, when I was younger) just loved it. Sometimes kids would throw
rocks and break his windows or pull up his flowers (myself not included, thank
goodness). He was known for a couple of generations of kids as a real weird and
mean guy, even though in actuality he was not. The tormenting went on through
quite a few years, and a new group of kids would take over for the old. Kurt,
however, changed the tradition. When he was running around with Matt Lukin (I
think now of Mudhoney??), Kurt saw the usual group of guys giving Old Man Reeves
a hassle. He literally screamed at these guys to leave Old Man Reeves alone. He
was so emotional about it (as only Kurt could be) that he stopped these kids in
their tracks. They just dropped their jaws as Kurt walked up to Mr. Reeves, put
his arm around him, and led him into the house. From that point on, Kurt had tea
with Old Man Reeves quite often. The fact that someone was becoming a friend
with Old Man Reeves sort of took the "fun" out of tormenting the elderly man,
and there was never quite as much hassle for the guy. A simple story, but it
shows Kurt's sense of humility, compassion, and individuality...(I am describing
this as I remember it. It was related to me by my friend Greg Moore of
Montesano). If this stuff is interesting to you folks, please know that I have a
bunch of memories of Kurt from those years I knew him. I was NOT his greatest
buddy or anything, but we had some fun together. Although I was in my 30's at
the time (1978 to about 1984), I can tell you that he was an unbelievable kid.
Absolute compassion. I miss him. Please let me know if you would like to hear
some more about Kurt from my perspective.

"Gramps" (my grandfather) and I used to take a lot of hikes up the Wynoochee
River headwaters into the Olympic National Park. He was a great naturalist and
it was a joy to be able to accompany him into the mountain meadows.

When Kurt was about 13 or 14, Gramps and I were driving through Montesano on our
way to the Wynoochee Valley uto drive up to the valley head. Well, here it was,
early in the morning, and Kurt was out walking up Third Street. Gramps stopped
the pickup and yelled Hello to Kurt. Kurt was lost in thought, so Gramp had to
say something like "Hey Kurt! Wake Up!" (I think that is exactly what he yelled
at Kurt). I cannot forget that huge grin when Kurt looked at Gramps. He yelled
back words to the effect of: "Hey Amos! Wake up yourself!" (Amos was my
grandfather's middle name, and almost nobody got away with calling him that).
Kurt told Gramps that he was out taking a hike up to Lake Sylvia State Park.
Gramps told Kurt that he and I were on our way up the Wynoochee for a little
hiking ourselves. Gramps turned to me in the truck and asked if we ought to ask
Kurt, and we agreed that we sure should. But Kurt said no, he was just taking a
short stroll, and "thanks anyway". So, we headed down the street towards the
highway. However, when Gramps looked in his rear view mirror, he just started
howling with laughter... when I looked back, there was Kurt, doing these sort of
jumping jacks and spinning around like a madman. He noticed that we slowed, so
he motioned Gramps to come back. Typical of Kurt, he just hopped in and said:
"Let's go, Gramps!" "Hello Larry!" Gramps went back to his house and got another
pack out of the garage. I drove us up to the Wynoochee with Gramps in the middle
and Kurt on the passenger side of the truck. I didn't really talk much to Kurt,
but he just jabbered all the way up the long, dusty drive up logging roads. I
wish I could remember more of the things he said. I do know he talked about the
cows and how "slow" they were. Also, I remember him asking Gramps why the Hell
he didn't have a radio in the truck!

So, anyway, we drove up the logging roads up into the start of alpine meadows on
the National Park border. We put our packs on, and Kurt immediately started
bitching about his heavy pack. Hell, his pack was the lightest! I don't think he
had more than my extra stocking hat and Gramps extra coat in it. Also, a plastic
water bottle and some candy bars. I think he ate 3 of the candy bars before we
even got going. We started up through the timberu up this very steep creek bed,
with Kurt sliding and stumbling all over the place. He just groaned and
complained the whole way up through the timberline. I do remember that when we
broke out into the alpine meadows, Kurt was just stunned by the beauty. I
distinctly remember his yelling something like: "Holy Shit!" I do remember
Gramps saying "Not bad, huh Kurt?" And, it sure was "not bad", with the alpine
flowers blooming, beautiful meadows, and little waterfalls. I went over to some
trees to go to the bathroom, and when I came back to where Kurt and Gramps were,
Kurt was sort of "grazing" down on the ground, looking at all these little
flowers and eating dwarf blueberries. Gramps just winked at me and had this huge
smile, and did one of those gestures where you take your index finger and spin
it around your ear to say: "He's nuts!" I don't remember too much more about the
hike, at least in the perspective of what Kurt did. We did go on up to Mt.
Hoquiam, and I remember we had to do a lot of waiting for Kurt; sometimes he
would be a few hundred yards behind! You just weren't going to hurry Kurt, and
that was all there was to it!

You know, the most vivid memory of this hike was on the way down through the
steep trees after we dropped off the edge of the meadows: we were sort of
crashing and sliding down the very steep terrain. Kurt was off to my right side
and I could see he was just sort of looking up into the treetops as he was
walking. I just cringed when he really hit hard into a big mountain hemlock. I
mean, he really smashed into it. He sort of staggered over to me with this
stupid grin on his face and said: "Boy, that kind of hurt. Got any more candy
bars?"

I hope this story makes sense. As I said, these little memories are not earth-
shattering, but at least give a glimpse into the essence of Kurt. I wish I would
have kept contact with him for the past ten years, and not just because he
became famous. He was hard to track down, and I tried a few times. I always
wanted to sort of just sit down and talk about Gramps to him. I did write him a
letter when Gramps died, but I don't think he ever got it. I miss the guy. He
was so mellow and so comfortable, and so unpredictable A fun teenager and a
brilliant mind.

This little slice of time in Kurt's life is an elaboration of the memory I had
when my grandfather took Kurt and myself on one of his steelhead fishing trips
to the Wynoochee River. I first related this at the memorial at the Seattle
Center. I would like to be so bold as to add to what I remember here. I had
related at the memorial that Kurt had been howling and screaming and generally
making a lot of noise. Gramps had told me to go upstream to find Kurt because he
must have hooked into a big fish..and, of course, you all know that he didn't
even have his line in the water! He was just kicking back against a good sized
rock in the sunshine, practicing his screaming so, as he put it: "I can
strengthen my vocal cords"... Well, I need to relate that, driving up the
Wynoochee Road to the fishing spot, Kurt was really just "talking up" about how
he was going to really try to catch one of those big lunkers. I mean, he was
nearly bragging about how he just knew he could cast his line probably even
better than Gramps. Of course he knew damn well that Gramps had been fishing for
the difficult-to-catch steelheads for probably 40-plus years. He was just
smiling and "getting Gramps' goat" with his comments. I wish I could remember
the exact comments, but I don't...sorry. Anyway, we went down the Anderson Creek
road, which is gravel, and deadends about 100 yards from the river. From there,
you have to walk through fairly thick brush to the gravel bar. Gramps got out of
the truck on his side, and Kurt and I got out on the passenger side. Gramps told
Kurt to "close the truck door solid, so it would close all the way." Of course,
this was a cue for Kurt to overdo it..he gave me that wild-eyed grin, took both
hands, and just "cranked" on that door! Gramps jumped about a mile! Kurt just
cracked up, and was bent over laughing at this stupid little trick! I mean, I
didn't think it was so funny, but Kurt sure thought HE was funny! Gramps told
Kurt and I to hold our fishing poles backward, with the tip behind us, so we
could get through the brush easier, explaining that if you hold it forward, it
is hard to twist and turn through the heavy stuff. Gramps led the way, I
followed him, and Kurt was behind me. No sooner had we gone about 50 feet, and
Kurt was somewhere behind us, squawking and bitching..Gramps looked at me and
said something like: "Christsakes, what's he got screwed up now?" We went back
there, and Kurt was just tugging like a maniac on his fishing pole, which was
caught in the weeds and the branches. Gramps said something like, "Well, I
thought you were going to be the BEST fisherman here today, Kurt. You know, you
have to make it to the river before you can even think about catching anything!"
Of course, now Kurt is a little pissed. He just looked away while Gramps cut
away the absolute birds-nest of entangled nylon that Kurt had created with his
impatient tugging and pulling... We got to the river, and Gramps pointed out to
us to sort of start at the top end of the "hole" where the rapids hit the deep
water, and work our way down the hole with repeated casts, so as to "sweep" the
whole area where a fish might lie. But, NO, NOT KURT! He said that he was going
to search upstream to the next "hole" and do it on his own. Gramps just grinned,
shook his head, and said for Kurt to just go ahead and do his own thing. So, the
last picture I had in my head was Kurt, stumbling up the gravel bar, fishing
pole jerking around spasmodically every time he falf-slipped on rocks, heading
for that "big fish" Now, I am back to where I was in the eulogy, with Kurt
kicking back and "strengthening his vocal cords". I noticed that his lure was
just sort of displayed on top of a rock, liked he had carefully placed it there
so he could just sort of stare at it! I am not sure, but I think that Kurt never
did get his lure in the water that day. Whenever I saw him, he was just screwing
off, looking at log jams, skipping rocks, and turning boulders over to look at
the various creatures. I do remember thinking, "what a weirdo -- came to do some
fishing, bragged about his fishing ability ahead of time, then goes off to do
something completely different!" The only other thing that I remember with
clarity is Gramps telling Kurt: "No, you can't ride in the back of the truck.
You might fall out." I assume Kurt must have asked to ride back there. I know
Kurt talked on the way back to Montesano, but I just don't remember what he
said... Well, that's it. Kind of mundane, but, when I think back on it, a smile
HAS to come to my face. (Please be aware that I have tried to be as accurate as
possible, and that some of my quotes are only approximations of what I remember
Kurt or Gramps saying - after all, this was 15 or 16 years ago). I hope that my
descriptions will at least give you a "picture" of the the essence of Kurt's
actions, and that they show his very typical human nature...well, SORT of
typical... :-)

For those wondering if this really is Kurt's uncle or not, a HSMB member had
talked to an detective in Aberdeen to see if he really was Kurt's uncle, he was
verified as real and telling the truth.

Kurt Cobain's Sucide Note:

To Boddah

Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would rather
be an emasculated, infantile complain-ee. This note should be pretty easy to
understand.

All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over the years, since my first
introduction to the, shall we say, ethics involved with independence and the
embracement of your community has proven to be very true. I haven't felt the
excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and
writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things.

For example when we're backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the
crowd begins, it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddy Mercury,
who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is
something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can't fool you, any one of
you. It simply isn't fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be
to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I'm having 100% fun.

Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on
stage. I've tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do, God,
believe me I do, but it's not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have
affected and entertained a lot of people. I must be one of those narcissists who
only appreciate things when they're gone. I'm too sensitive. I need to be
slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasm I once had as a child.

On our last 3 tours, I've had a much better appreciation for all the people I've
known personally and as fans of our music, but I still can't get over the
frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There's good in all of
us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too
fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man! Why
don't you just enjoy it? I don't know!

I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who
reminds me too much of what I used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every
person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that
terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can't stand the
thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that
I've become.

I have it good, very good, and I'm grateful, but since the age of seven, I've
become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for
people to get along and have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for
people too much I guess.

Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and
concern during the past years. I'm too much of an erratic, moody, baby! I don't
have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade
away.


Peace, Love, Empathy.
Kurt Cobain

Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your altar.
Please keep going Courtney, for Frances.
For her life, which will be so much happier without me.

I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!



 

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