Saturday, October 1, 2011

Catching up.

Hello all! I realize I have not posted on the blog for a bit. I have been moving and getting situated at the new place. I have been working a little on the site and the Facebook page, as well as trying to figure out some kind of direction I would like this to go. I didn't really want a blueprint so to speak, so I am going to wing it I guess. We have been going through photos, stories and such to post soon. I personally am working on an interview with Bud Clark, which I am excited about. So stay tuned and pass the word along, stop by and "like" us on Facebook or drop us a suggestion or info you would like shared at

Play Nice. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Airport '77

  I am constantly looking for photos, through photos, and a lot of times, wishing I would have either kept or had photos of events, people and places that I don't have, or never were taken. So, obviously there are a lot of my own family photos that have stacked up along side the rest. Growing up we took a lot of photos...we still take a lot of photos. If there are 8 people at a function, there's a good chance there's at least 7 cameras there. Now, with cameras attached to almost everything, there is absolutely no hope in escaping a snap of some kind. Which is fine with me. As I go through some of the personal, or family photos, I really am glad that my family is that way. The amassed amount of photos scattered throughout my family is fantastic, no matter how funny or sometimes mundane, or even sad. I love, love, love photos.
They don't even have to be significant or beautiful. They are, quite literally, captured moments. That is what I enjoy.

Moments like these are common in Portland. This is me at age 4 in front of the house I grew up in, on SE Cora Street.

   While this space, and soon to be site evolves into whatever it might be, I didn't want to post too many, if any, of my personal or family photos. It is inevitable, however. There is no way that I can't possibly share some of these. Plus, I was born and raised here, my family is from here, and there are some things in the backgrounds of a good amount of the photos that some might find interesting, even if they do not know the people in the picture. Portlanders tend to have their own relation. That being said, from time to time there will be my photos thrown in here. In the only one I had previously posted, I "black barred" the eyes. It was for no particular reason, I guess I just didn't want to make any of it about me, or any other future contributors of posts. However, as Portlanders ourselves, it will be done.

This is one of my first, if not THE first, plane rides I went on. My mother, sister and I at PDX in 1977. I'm not sure where we were heading, but my mom's afro could have been a carry on and I look jazzed in that stroller for some reason.

As I mentioned in the previous post, while this Portlandism thing progresses, we look forward to your suggestions and/or submissions for stories of Portland. This blog and the Portlandism Facebook page (updated daily) will be updated more and more frequently so check back, or subscribe...or just stroll by. In the coming months there will be a site,, made available that will replace this site. It will contain more features and will span past present, and hopefully, the future.

Once again, thank you for stopping by.

Play nice.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

KATU channel 2 News bumper from 1983.

Here's a little clip of the intro bumper from a 1983 broadcast of the KATU news featuring Jeff Gianola and Julie Emery, and David Apple with the weather. The news in Portland has always been an entertaining topic to me. Hopefully in the weeks to come, as this site progresses, there will be more video clips of a variety of things for you to view. With any luck, there will be the official up before too long. Of course I will post them here, however, the majority of them will be on the Portlandism Channel on YouTube for storage and record.  

Thanks! Enjoy.

Play Nice.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Slip slidin' away...

  To those of you who thought that the title of this post was a Paul Simon reference, you are correct. To those that thought, or hoped, that this was going to be about a crazy weekend Mr. Simon spent in the City of Roses, smoking joints with locals, and streaking through the Galleria at 2:37 in the afternoon...I'm sorry it is not.

  It's about something even better. What could be better than shooting a human through a poorly build tube, filled with water, at a high rate of speed, inside a shopping mall? Nothing, that's what. Nothing could go wrong with that. It's solid. While I immediately retract the statement that nothing could be better, at the time, I blessed the engineers of the Hydrotube.

  While photos are few and far between, I managed to dig up quite a bit of information on the Hydrotubes and it's craze. The brand "Hydrotube" was first trademarked by Design Works, Incorporated on Friday, June 20, 1980. The company was based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and list "large diameter tubes in which water and people are passed" as the description for their endeavor under goods and services with the trademark department in which they registered. The fact that they snagged business anywhere, let alone a small shopping mall in SE Portland, surprises me less and less as the years go by. The slides were short lived here in Oregon, but I remember them fondly.

 It never occurred to me as a child, blasting through rickety tubes in the mall, that they wouldn't be around for long. In fact for some, they weren't even around long enough to garner even the faintest memory.

Indeed, a horrible photo. It's a clip from the Oregonian on Monday, September 23, 1982 depicting the opening of the Eastport Plaza Hydrotubes which had happened 2 days prior.
   Eastport Plaza had already been a very well known destination to my family by the time these aqua monoliths arrived. We lived really close to the mall and would frequent it because of the variety it had offered at one time. I vaguely remember the frenzy in the air on the day it opened. The warm aroma of chlorine and impatience as kids waited for their ride bracelets, which were $3.00 for 10 rides that lasted all of 34 seconds. They then scurried to the back of a line so long it would have made Walt Disney weep. Masses and masses of people staring into the glass from the outside, just trying to catch a glimpse of what they could expect after the walk up the red and teal stairs to the top of the platform.

   I'm not sure if we went in the tubes the opening weekend, although I am told that we did. We pretty much "insisted on it" even though I know my dad loved them. I remember my sister, cousin and I going on that thing so many times that summer. I think that 3/4 of that summer were spent either waiting in line or shooting out of the bottom of that turquoise wonder. That's the thing, all the times I went blurred together because most of the time for the first 6 to 8 months the place was pretty packed.

   Eastport was already moderately popular at the time. Now that it had the first indoor, year round  Hydrotube in the country, it had almost become a destination for some. It's pretty odd now that I think about it. Local businessmen and women, self-proclaimed entrepreneurs, and anyone with a vested interest seized whatever moment they could. Some would say seized may be the wrong word. Choked, in fact, might be better suited. Nevertheless, we had "the next big thing" on our hands and we were going for a ride.

Before we get into that though, let's find out a little more about what brought the Hydrotube and it's water slide cohorts to us. While we're at it let's find out exactly what the Hell they even were.

Yay! Let's go get some concussions and loose teeth!
    Sometimes described as a "water-cushioned roller coaster", the basic Hydrotube is a 350 foot long fiberglass tube, about 4 1/2 feet in diameter. They operated with 5 sand filters in which the water is recycled. The idea was that riders would ride on a 4 inch cushion of warm water through a series of drops, S-turns, swirls, loops and dips. At the Eastport location riders would climb the stairs a little over 40 feet above the Eastport mall where they would jump into one of the two tubes at the top platform. Due to the 8-10 second spacing in between riders, lines would often build up, taking as much as an hour or more on the weekends.

  The Hydrotubes developer and management at the time was Oregon Waterslides, Inc, owned by partners Gary Larsen and David Snow. In a little under 8 months the Eastport location had seen roughly 2 million riders. That is correct, 2 million. Estimated revenue for the Eastport slides alone after a year in business in September, 1983, were around $900,000. Again, how could this go wrong? Everyone, including the insurance companies, wanted a piece. There just wasn't as much to go around as originally thought. At one time, according to the Oregon Health Department records, there were 7 Hydrotubes operating in Oregon during the 1980's. There was another "Hydrotube" site in Vancouver called Sip'N Dippity's (East Fourth Plain) that operated from 1983 to 1985.
I use the quotes as a reminder that not all the tubes spawned were the brand Hydrotube, which didn't seem to matter after a while.

  After all, early investors in the Eastport Plaza location received %53 of their money back during the first six months of the opening. Others wouldn't fare as well, the Lancaster location in Salem is a perfect example. Despite heavy promotion and events it failed miserably before it even made back a third of it's construction costs.

  Some people I spoke with during the research for this were investors. Most feel like if it wouldn't have moved past Eastport, they would have succeeded a little better. Who knows? A lot of the same people look at the Hydrotubes at Washington Square opening, with a theme like restaurant attached, as the beginning of the end for their investments. It makes sense to me now. The Eastport location was the main one I went to. It never occurred to me that there wasn't really a need for 2 water-slides in the Portland area, let alone seven in the region. It wasn't only the lawsuits and insurance liabilities, which we will touch on, that killed it. It was timing...and money...a lot of it...down the tubes. I apologize for the awful, awful pun.

Investment ads started popping up in the Oregonian. Like this one from Wednesday, December 14, 1983 soliciting opportunities.
   With the obvious success of the Eastport location, Oregon Waterslide partners Snow and Larsen entered into a business venture with the Old Trolley Car Pizza Co. restaurant at Washington Square. The venture would see a three-tube slide and restaurant open up in the mall in August, 1983. The Eastport location wouldn't be quite a year old before they would open another, bolder location. The partners were by all accounts pretty bright and seemed somewhat seasoned in business. Snow was a former history professor and computer company marketing executive, Larsen was a successful architect.

 In fact the two had also formed a tubular slide franchising company. The Washington Square "Hydrotube Restaurant" was to be a crowning achievement, something that was solid. Snow was even quoted as saying - "The idea will last, rather than going the way of the hula-hoops or skateboards. It is a family experience, more like roller skating or ice skating. It requires no special skills or equipment."
   Unlike the Eastport tubes, the Washington Square tubes would have a third tube with a different configuration than the other two.

The third one had a 360 degree turn, a bigger drop, and the dips seemed more dramatic than the Eastport tubes. It was "for the thrill seekers" remarked Larsen in an Oregonian article from 1983, outlining the new locations opening. The prices would remain somewhat the same. It would cost $3.00 for 10 rides on the weekdays, $4.00 for 10 rides on the weekends. A plastic bracelet with perforated numbers kept track of the number of rides that had been taken. An average of about 1,350 people per hour leaped into the tubes, at almost max capacity, for months.

  Eastport's slide had employed about 23 people, some were part-time and all were certified life-guards. I remember sometimes having to wear a life-jacket that fit like a weird shirt of some sort. I didn't usually get asked to put it on. I would like to think it's because they thought I looked like a strong swimmer, which I am, it was more likely they were paying attention to other things. The Washington Square location had the facade that it would be more responsible and maintained. It really wasn't.

  I remember the Eastport location having a deli type place alongside it so the people there and the ones strolling though the mall could watch the awkwardness and uncomfortable landings through plate glass. The Washington Square slides would wind through the family style restaurant, providing the diners with a translucent parade of people shooting through the tube and sometimes offering a gesture or even a bit of a bare skin as they passed by, not always by accident. The Washington Square Hydrotube endeavor would cost a little over $650,000 in 1983.

  The restaurant and tube area would incorporate more than 5,000 square feet of glass windows in Larsen's design for good viewing, and the total cost of the finished, total project is estimated at $1 million to $1.2 million. At the time no serious injuries had been reported from Eastport. "There have been some incidents of head bumping." Snow said. It occurred quite a bit due to people getting disoriented in the rushing dips and swirls. The success of the Eastport location, and now with the Washington Square opening looming, accompanied with the idea of expansion outside of Oregon, Snow and Larsen contemplated a public offering of securities. A week before the Washington Square opening, their attorney at the time, Bob Stout, declined further comment on plans in that direction, citing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules limiting pre-publicity.

Larsen's mock-up rendering of the Washington Square Hydrotube Restaurant. It opened in August, 1983 to huge numbers and injuries.
    With the opening of the Washington Square location, and the Eastport location still showing profits, the frenzy was well underway. Before long Jantzen Beach Super Center would want a piece of this new trend. They weren't the last ones who would jump at the chance to erect these tubes in a profitable vicinity. That was kind of the problem though, right? A third water-slide in the Portland metro area? One of the rainiest places in the country, and we're throwing water-slides around in malls for $750,000 a pop like they're going out of style? Yes, yes we were, and yes, yes they were. It still didn't stop them from trying.

This help-wanted ad in the Oregonian from late July, 1983, offered people a chance to be part of "Team Hydrotube!"

Another excerpt from an article about summertime activities for kids...and parents. 

  With Washington Square in full swing, Jantzen Beach set it's sights on a Hydrotube project as well. Not too soon after Jantzen Beach began it's slide, 3 more popped up. The Salem and Keizer projects were doomed from the get go. Setting any injury aside, there were not enough people constantly coming through the doors to keep them in business. They actually did only 1/6 of what Eastport did combined. It was an unbelievable craze. I loved every minute of it. I was still pretty young. Even though I had been to the Eastport location, a lot, and the Washington Square one a couple times, I thought of an over-chlorinated utopia. A place where poorly made deli food, Slush Puppies and images of brightly colored Gotcha, Generra or Vuarnet products danced in unity along the 82 degree waters in which you dropped into. It seemed like a great plan.

This article from an October, 1983, Oregonian details "the future of dining entertainment" in the Northwest.

   Like I said earlier, not all slides were official Hydrotubes. Jantzen Beach only used that moniker for the first couple months for reasons one could only speculate as trying to separate itself from the "injury plagued" official Hydrotubes. The one in Vancouver wasn't really affiliated with Hydrotube either. The Salem and Keizer tubes were manufactured under the same regulations, but used different components in construction. Again, it didn't really matter to us, the people paying money to get hurled through a fiberglass tube didn't care what brand it was. They were all "Hydrotubes" to us.

  Then there was "The Waterchute" hydrotube at the Holly Farm Mall, described by it's operators as the  granddaddy of them all. The Waterchute opened at Holly Farm Mall (16000 SE McLoughlin) on Saturday, May 26, 1984. "Before we started installing this one, we spent a lot of hours interviewing kids that spent time at hydrotubes at other shopping malls." said Bill W. Hartner, manager of the Waterchute.

  "We asked them what they liked and didn't like about the ones they are using and what additional features they would like to see. Then we built ours with safety and excitement as the key features." Hartner continued. The installation at The Waterchute included two 48 inch in diameter tubes. Riders began their decent into the water below from atop a 48 foot tower. The slide down itself was at a 16 percent grade, and a computer-controlled starting system required riders to wait the full 10 seconds in between starts.

  "What we have is the highest and fastest rides with more dips and turns." Hartner said of the $750,000 waterslide. "In addition to being a fun thing it will also be competitive." According to Hartner, there was a computerized timing system that would tell each user the elapsed time of when he or she shoots out of the 350 foot long tube as they splashed into the warm pool that awaited them. At the time of the opening and interview, Steve L. Stoelk, owner of The Waterchute operation, had planned on opening a location in Seaside and four in the Seattle area. None of these things came to fruition.

This photo from the Friday, May 25, 1984 Oregonian shows Bill Hartner inspecting a tube. 

  It was happening. The area was saturated with "large diameter tubes in which water and people are passed", and it was starting to become a bit more tedious for liability insurance companies to keep up with the phenomena. Water parks were most certainly nothing new, however, they were in a grey area when it came to liability in an indoor shopping mall. What was concerning to a lot of these insurance carriers was that this was not only a grey area in those terms, it was also new ground as to what the proprietors were indeed responsible for.

 Although insurance liabilities, injury and the like, were factors in the demise of the tubes, contrary to popular belief they were not the primary reason for the demise. To understand it a little better, I researched a man named Jack E. Deahl, a Milwaukie resident who according to papers was one of the first investors in the state for the Eastport location. He later invested in the Water Works in Salem as well. According to an interview given to Jim Hill of the Oregonian in 1987, Mr. Deahl simply said of the investments "We kind of went for the brass ring, and we missed it."

When questioned by various sources, Deahl, and several other people connected with the development,  regulation, operation or manufacturing of water slides agreed that a myriad of reasons and a combination of factors in fact killed the tubular slide business in Oregon. These factors included:
          • High operational costs, including rent, utilities, water-purification chemicals, personnel and particularly costly liability insurance, which held steady despite declines in business.
          • High-cost construction of totally enclosed slide operations, built on the premise that such slides would attract riders on a year-round basis in rainy Oregon.
          • Development of a pattern in which slide riders, consisting primarily of school-age kids, came in profitable numbers only during the summer months or when school had vacation periods, or allotted time off.
          • Periodic injuries, mostly minor, that may have discouraged some others from trying the slides but also generated some lawsuits and contributed to the rising cost and decreasing availability of liability insurance.
          • Lack of variety, leading to boredom among riders taking one ride after another at indoor slides that offered virtually no alternative forms of entertainment.

Deahl also stated that he got involved in 1982 when he was approached by David Snow, who had a plan from The Design Works in Salt Lake City for an indoor water tube operation. "Gee, it sounded like a good idea to me." he was quoted as saying in a 1987 interview. The next two photographs of articles from the Oregonian are just a tiny glimpse of some of the safety scares the slides dealt with, and the consumer worried about.


  Deahl, in the beginning, rounded up half a dozen investors, to finance the Eastport Plaza Hydrotubes. He states the Snow and Larsen did not invest, but as developers were to receive 50 percent of profits at Eastport and pay the original six investors 5 percent of profits from other slides that they had planned to build in Oregon. Deahl also recalled being optimistic and excited when investors received the 52 percent that had been invested back in the first six months. Like stated previously in this post, it looked promising.

  After the development and opening of the Washington Square location, Deahl's group spun off from the original developers to form Aqua Leisure Time Inc. to manufacture slide tubing. Remember the non-hydrotubes I mentioned? Deahl's group was one of the pioneering off-shoots. Anyway, the new firm built the tubing for and established the Salem Water Works slide at 3152 Lancaster Drive NE in Salem, they never found another customer.

  Deahl said that the Salem slide operated for 9-10 months in 1984, but made a profit only in June, despite "a million kinds of hapless promotions" including singing radio ads and special discount rates for school or church groups. Although someone sustained bumps and bruises about once a day, the insurance company at the Water Works "never paid a penny on a suit," Deahl said. When asked about his view in the whole venture, Deahl answered "We all lost... It just cost too much to run them indoors. Outdoors you don't have to heat the air."

  Charles Foulger, a Salem investor and former president of Hydrotube at Keizer, just North of Salem, said the venture had left "a nasty taste in my mouth." He said the slide opened in September of 1983 and did quite well as a "new attraction" until January, 1984. The slide did business for about 2 months in the summer of 1985. Like so many,  the slides in Eugene and the ones in Milwaukie saw a similar fate. Owners tried almost anything to promote their slides. The desperation was starting to sink the investors, as the customers started thinning.

Like the previous investment ads, this one might have worded itself wrong. Desperate investors with slide materials and man hours tried to keep at it. This ad is from November 1984, right at the decline.
  As the desperation turned to trying to find enough revenue to stay afloat, communities and charitable organizations took advantage of the savings and advertising they could get while it lasted. I remember there being coupons for Hydrotubes everywhere. Allen Video would give away ride passes with every video rental. Thriftway and Albertson's got in on it by giving away ride coupons and passes with purchases as well. It was madness, it was the end of the beginning of the end.

These 3 were all from the Oregonian, one day apart in late 1984.

An example of events that helped give the Hydrotubes a little push.
  Mary Alvey, who was the manger of the state drinking water monitoring and compliance program in 1987, was swimming pool specialist with the Health Division from 1983-1985. She had explained that because Oregon had no rules designated specifically for water slides, each operator was granted periodic conditional-use licenses requiring them to meet water-quality, sanitation and some safety standards.

  Alvey had stated that the slides began closing before the Health Department could formulate special rules for them. She said she believed declining business, not injuries, is what killed the slides. Mike Gage, who in 1987 was business manager for World Water Park Association in Prairie Village, Kansas, had said that he believed the outdoor, flume-type water slides were more common than the tube type. He said the water slide season seemed to run mainly from Memorial Day to Labor Day, regardless of weather or construction style, but could run all year long in exceptionally warm places like Florida or Arizona.

   Chris Koenemann, executive vice president of Lockton Insurance Agency of St. Louis in 1987, had said "the frequency and severity" of the injuries had created an insurance problem for the slide industry. At worst, he said, there had been broken necks and drownings. Which doesn't end up sounding like a good time to most people, believe it or not.

  In later months of 1986 a pooling program was established using foreign companies to meet the insurance needs of major U.S. water parks. In 1987 Koenemann correctly predicted that the year would see increased insurance availability, but the rates would remain heavy, running between 6 and 10 percent of gross receipts for liability only. Bruce Jacques, who was the president of Hydrotube Inc. in Salt Lake City at the time, told the Oregonian that his company had bought the manufacturing and marketing rights for the Hydrotube product from The Design Works in 1986.

  He had also noted that he was formerly involved with The Design Works, which had built the tubing for the Eastport, Washington Square, Keizer and Eugene slides in Oregon. Jantzen Beach almost prided itself from the separation of Hydrotube. Jacques had said that the tubular slides had failed in Oregon, because they were built as enclosed facilities at shopping malls at an investment cost of anywhere from $650,000 to upwards of a $1 million. It was just simply "impossible", according to Jacques, the generate the customer volume needed in the Salem and Eugene areas to pay off investment debts.

 He also made it very clear that it was his belief, like the many others, that the Eastport slides may have survived in the metro area had Washington Square's monstrosity not opened. Well, we will never know. It never even got a proper chance.

After it's split from Hydrotube, Jantzen Beach tried to market itself as the "safer, better, faster" alternative to the Hydrotube. They too found out, it didn't matter, it was over.

  During my research for this I came across a pretty crystal example of what not to do with a fledgling business, especially one that involves injuries and a town with a shorter attention span than a child in a room full of toys, patience. I'm not completely certain that it was even greed that put the tubes under as much as it was excitement. For those that remember, even slightly, the excitement that formed when you first saw those aqua filled tubes emerging from the top of Eastport Plaza. They looked like something from Blade Runner to me at the time, or some kind of travel device that Bradbury or Asimov would have described.

  I remember getting scrapes on them, a bump on the head or the shoulder every once in a while. My cousin was in the Eastport tubes when they shut it down for the night. The water pressure dropped and she had to scoot to the bottom pool, where she was greeted by a member of "Team Hydrotube" with a faint apology and passes for the weekend, which we absolutely used starting the following day.

It didn't really deter us. Of course we never had to make a trip to one of the 72 emergency rooms nationwide that reported 2,941 slide related injuries in 1983 alone. In some cases I think by the time people realized that they could be dangerous, they were already gone or close to. Eastport Plaza closed it's doors to the tubes in 1984, Washington Square folded very shortly after. All that was left were signs and boards or casing on windows that were once meant for viewing in, now cloaked an empty chasm of big ideas and wasted money.

  I guess I didn't really understand it because of my age. I had no idea what had happened at all, I just knew they were gone. Like the child in a candy store, I moved on.

I just never really thought about how it went from this:

To this:

Photo from the Oregonian, December, 1984.

  Water slides have come and gone everywhere. Obviously the ones that stay have injuries, they have lawsuits and insurance struggles, but the thing they have that saves them, is revenue. They have customers year round or close to it. I too have great memories of the Hydrotubes, in fact, I wish they still existed closer to us.

The Clackamas Water Park doesn't exude that cheap thrill that the Hydrotubes did. I have been to water parks that are way better in every sense, however, I still have yet to get that unknown feeling, that knot in your stomach as you waited for watery deployment from a top a rickety platform inside a mall. Maybe it was the newness of it, maybe it was the culture at the time, maybe it was the 80's? Maybe, and this is a big stretch here, maybe I was a kid.

As I watched Eastport Plaza morph into some weird, unrecognizable shell of it's former self, I always thought about my various memories of it. Memories that are a smorgasbord of discovery and boredom, a lot of which will be shared through here at some point. The Hydrotubes will forever be tied to those memories.

Is it me, or is Spongebob going for a slide?

Until next time, thanks!

Play Nice.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stray Snapshot

Today's stray snapshot is from Mt. Scott Community Center in SE Portland off of 72nd and Harold. I have very fond memories of this park and it's amenities.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time!

Play nice.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

O Kupie! My Kupie!

  "Double soft-swirl, please" is what I would ask the serious looking man from across the counter-top. Within minutes of this exchange, the man hands me my ice cream, I walk away smiling as he greets the next customer.

This is mostly what I remember of Kupie Cone.

With it's diminutive size, and sometimes long lines, this gem on SE 39th and Holgate was a borderline legendary little place for Portlanders in the know. Even when things and the neighborhood changed around it (The Hobbit, The Beard auto body, etc) it tried to remain the same. It was not only a treat to go, it was refreshing to know it, or at least it's sign, would always be there.

That's what we thought at least.

Like a beacon on Holgate, I loved this sign. It's now being restored.

  I don't know a lot about the history of the old Kupie. What I do know is that it served the neighborhood for generations.  There aren't a lot of places left like Kupie Cone in this country. They have all been replaced by built in a day spaces with the personality of a bag of frozen peas. In this case a brick building with a couple shops, including a Starbucks, who undercut the folks that wanted to hold onto it. So much for the little guy, so to speak. It isn't about convenience, so I don't always buy into that either. In some cases it's nothing but plain old greed. But, I digress, yet again.
  As I have said before in this blog, it's easier sometimes not to look at it with youthful eyes. Although this place was hard no to. It stings a little less now, but hurts in a different way. It's little square frame just sitting there on the corner. As though it called to you from afar. Like it actually might have felt a little sad if you just drove by. Like you had neglected it for some reason. Poor little thing.

Just look at it. How could you say no.

  I tried to do a little investigating on the owner I remember. The gentleman I spoke about earlier. The serious man who had a bold laugh when it arose. I wanted to try and find some kind of history and stories associated with Kupie Cone. In searching I came to find out a bit more about a great person than I did a memory from my youth. The man who stood behind the counter through all my years there was sadly, like Kupie Cone, gone.
  His name was Don Cahill, and he loved this place. He put his heart and soul into Kupie Cone. As the world around him started to come in on him, he maintained himself and the restaurant for the good of, not just his own worries and stresses, but the communities and regulars that had come there for years and years. Some could say Don was dealt a bad hand. Most people might have folded, packed it in and chucked the restaurant away as well. Don not only kept playing, he held on strong and played through. I would have thanked him for the mile high soft serve, great shakes and grilled cheeseburgers as it is. Oh, and the tater tots. How can I forget Kupie's tots?

Don would sit here and read the paper when he wasn't cleaning, repairing or taking a deserved break to read the paper. 

  Don was the youngest of four, and learned to cook from his mother. He was raised on a 30-cow dairy farm, however he went to Oakville High School, graduating in 1944. During World War II, he tried to enlist, because all of his older siblings were serving, he was turned away for being overweight. After he lost the weight, Don served in both the Merchant Marine, then the Army, where he served on a ship, as a medic, giving shots for syphilis, gonorrhea, and other contagious diseases.
  He and Joanne Walsh first met at Woody's Nook, a big dance hall between Olympia and Centralia, Washington. The couple fell madly in love and married in 1947. Right after they got married, Joanne contracted rheumatic encephalitis. She was ill for a year. Don, of course, was right there. They went on to have four children in five years. 
  Don, who did not want to be a dairy farmer, worked in management for several trucking companies over the years including: Johnson Freight, Best Way Freight, Willamette Valley Transfer. In 1964, he decided to leave trucking and bought Kupie Cone, at Southeast Holgate Boulevard and 39th Avenue, it had already been a Southeast landmark for years. It was especially known as an after school "hang out" and place to meet up. 
  Don had fought cancer off and on for 19 years, first lung, then prostate, which later spread to the bone. So the meaning of struggle and hard work were not strange to him. By cooking burgers in a tiny grill area, Don did well enough to put his kids through college and buy their first beach house in the 1960s, which was about $3,650. Kupie Cone was part of his life from the time he bought it in 1964 to 1990 in one way or another. 
  Joanne and Don raised their children in Cully and later they bought a duplex in Rose City, then a triplex, a fourplex, and another duplex that was nearby. Joanne turned 48 in 1974, her youngest child was 19,
 she had been taking German lessons and was trying to branch out and find other things she really enjoyed. She had returned from a wedding in Bremerton, with what she thought was the flu. It turned out to be encephalitis different from the earlier one. This one destroyed her current memory. The devout quiet lady became quite talkative, sometimes sweet and sometimes screeching and hollering. She never did remember her children or her husband. She was still Joanne to all of them though. A wife and a mother. 
Don made her meals. He ironed. He hosted holidays. He kept Joanne looking grand: He shopped her favorite stores like Frederick and NelsonNordstrom, and of course Meier and Frank. He also bought her bras and Clinique makeup. He shaved her legs. He curled her hair; he took her to the beauty shop. That is who Don was. He loved her. He was her husband, he always would be.
  It really bothered him when people excluded her, or didn't address her directly; and he appreciated it when people spent a few moments with her. Later, he shopped for wedding dresses with daughters, and became both grandmother and grandfather. As grandpa, he had little sympathy for whining about a tiny hardships, like a cut or scrape. His response often would be, "Get over it. I've got a bigger pimple on my butt." Whining for something? "People in hell want ice water," he would say. He loved his grandchildren like nothing else. 
He took Joanne to grandchildren's athletic games, hand in hand, got her food and a drink. Looking for great antiques became a passionate escape. There was the thrill of the hunt: searching for the perfect green McCoy vase or old frame or unique wood chair at an estate sale. He knew a good bargain, and never left empty-handed. It reminded him of simpler things. It took him away from heartache, if only for a while.
 Don found and got a little Kaiser respite care for Joanne 10 days each month. Once a week, he volunteered for Kaiser Sunnyside. He became friends with most of his fellow hospital volunteers. 
He took Joanne to her Mass on Sundays, often to the Downtown Catholic Chapel. Don was not a devout Catholic, however it is what Joanne wanted. It was what they did. First though, he made sure her lipstick was perfect and she wore a snappy outfit. She liked to dress up and feel ladylike. 
"You wouldn't happen to have some hairspray, would you?" he would sometimes ask. "I want to fix Joanne's hair before we go to church."
  Privately he often said, "People don't realize that I really, really love her." Don learned to think for a couple, and both mother and father to his children, with little patience for being upset about the little troubles. "Just get over it and get on with it," he said. He developed a sense of humor to lighten the situation; he sometimes cried; he talked about it; at times he was lonely. But he was not unhappy. He tooks trips with his children or friends. He enjoyed his Arch Cape beach house - clam digging, eating a mess of razor clams, drinking Tangueray on the rocks. He never sat. "You rest, you rust," he said. His big worry was who would take care of Joanne after he was gone: He knew what a consuming job it was. He hoped he would outlive her. "I wish we could both go together," he said, just a few days before he died Feb. 19, 2008. 
He was 81.
 Joanne is now 85, and last I knew was living with one of their daughters.
 So, as you can see, upon investigating a little in what I thought was a Southeast Portland restaurant icon of sorts, I found proof of the a real icon that held it down so many years. Serving the community even when it was hard. Making wise cracks to the older patrons and giving the children's cones "a bit extra, champ" as he topped it off with a wink and smirk. I found that the icon itself after all these years, was behind the counter. So after all this time, I no longer wonder why Kupie Cone is gone as much as I did. We were lucky enough that Don had enough heart in him to give to everyone. He did for as long as he could. He would have done it longer if it were up to him. The sign me be in a garage somewhere being restored and stored. There may be a boring bag of frozen peas standing where this place stood. Sure, the insult of tearing it down and renaming the corner "Kupie Corner" with a unassuming, plastic, lit sign, was crappy to deal with. However, I imagine Don would say "Get over it, we've got a bigger pimple on our butt."

I'll try.
Don Cahill behind the counter at Kupie Cone with a coffee, ready to greet the day. Thanks, champ.
  These little places have stories to them. These "mom and pop" places are just that most times; they remind us how inviting people can be. It's personal not only because of the scale, it's personal because sometimes it just really is. Simple as that.

A special thanks to family and friends of the Cahills and Jerry Casey.
Thanks. Until next time.
Play Nice.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hello there, Ms. Lady...

  Not really the right approach one would use when stumbling upon our lady, Portlandia. Long time Portland resident Ronald Talney wrote something better for dear Portlandia's introduction. It sits on a plaque honoring her and it reads:

She kneels down
and from the quietness
of copper
reaches out.
We take that stillness
into ourselves
and somewhere
deep in the earth
our breath
becomes her city.
If she could speak
this is what
she would say:
Follow that breath.
Home is the journey we make.
This is how the world
knows where we are. 

  That's a bit better. After all, Raymond Kaskey's work is our biggest copper statue, and the country's second largest copper repoussé statue next to the Statue of Liberty. The "Copper Goddess" is all of 34 feet and 10 inches tall while kneeling. This would make her approximately 50 feet high if she was to stand...which would be creepy.

Portlandia arriving in town by barge in 1985.
Photo courtesy of Joel Davis
  Portlandia's journey to us started in 1981 when the architect of the Portland Building, Michael Graves, was asked by city officials to provide ideas for public art on the building. Graves brainstormed and proposed using the city's seal as the inspiration for a figurative sculpture of some sort to be installed on the portico above the building's west entrance. The seal, adopted in 1878, depicts an allegorical "Miss Commerce" and several symbols of Portland's agricultural, commercial, and natural resources: a sheaf of grain, a cogwheel and a sledgehammer, steamship, forest and of course the trident. The commission would be funded through the One Percent for Art ordinance of 1980, which, in the case of the Portland Building, would dedicate roughly $200,000 for the installation.

The "Copper Goddess" makes her approach towards her final destination.
  The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Commission) asked for designs in 1981. Submissions from artists across the country were eventually narrowed down to five finalists, which were made available for public viewing and comment.  I could only imagine the scale that would have taken on in today's social media market. However, the choice rested with the Portland Building Selection Committee, the group included Graves of course and local artists as well as other citizens appointed by MAC. In October of 1982, the committee urged MAC to select Kaskey's design, a twenty-five foot statue of a kneeling woman, trident in hand, named Portlandia. The choice was not unanimous at all. In fact some committee members expressed overall disappointment with Kaskey's design and even suggested to MAC that they try and get more submissions. Graves, however, really enjoyed the design and championed Kaskey's work and vision, the public approval followed overwhelmingly.

Hello, Ms. Lady.
  In 1983 Raymond Kaskey, Greg Pettengill and Michael LaSalle started construction of the sculpture in a suburb of  Washington D.C. space. The burdensome method of repoussé involved hammering each inch of copper dozens and dozens of times. As I said earlier, the statue is only the second work of this size next to "Lady Liberty." In choosing this style, Mr. Kaskey believed that he was indeed reviving a lost art. Although the revival contributed, in part, to the exceeding of the budget and the deadline by the summer of 1985.

Watching over the folks of the Rose City. She seems pretty nosey. She also looks like she is playing craps.
  Ahhh, those pesky budgets. Budget constraints threatened to screw up the project when it was time to move the massive, completed statue to Portland. In the end The Portland City Council approved the use of donations from several resources. Eventually there was $150,000 was collected and Kaskey was able to ship the lass in August of 1985. The parts of her were shipped by rail to Portland and assembled in the barge facility at the Gunderson, Inc. ship yards. As you can see from above, the final leg of the journey had Portlanders watching as she floated up the Willamette accompanied by an armada of private watercraft as well as police boats. It was quite a scene. A crazy, surreal scene of a large, gleaming, bronzed woman floating up the Willamette on a barge and then loaded onto a semi-truck equipped with a trailer reserved, usually, for moving homes. It was amazing. She was installed on October 6, 1985. We went for the dedication as well. I remember being in absolute awe of her during the dedication on October 8, 1985.

I still think she is in an odd location, relatively hidden from the world.
  She became an icon of a city very quickly, that Portlandia. I remember having to do a drawing of her in class. The drawing, which I called "The Copper Goddess" because everyone was saying it, was in my desk until it was recently lost. I also remember Vera Katz proposing to move the statue to the waterfront so it would be a more conspicuous location for the public to view it. It was close to going to a vote, and a lot of people were behind the move from what I recall. Kaskey and various other Oregonian artists and Portland local artists were not really jazzed about that idea either, explaining that "the building and the statue were intrinsically joined together." I agree with that statement. Sure, it would be cool to see at the waterfront, but, she belongs on the Portland Building. She was made for it, after all. Obviously the idea eventually lost steam after fear of the budget to move it and a greater fear of causing damage to the metallic dame.
  Did you ever notice that there are not really any PortlandiaKaskey is very tight and closely guards his intellectual property rights to the statue, which he says he will always keep. Unlike another statue, the Statue of Liberty for instance, Portlandia cannot not be reproduced for any purpose without consent from the artist. In other words, the rights to the image of Portlandia remain Kaskey's sole property. The statue is maintained by the Regional Arts & Culture Council and has been kept up a lot over the years. So until he feels like it's necessary or right with his vision, she will remain on her stoop, peering at us with an outstretched hand. That's just fine with me, Ms. Lady.

Pull my finger? No, she's a classy lady.

Thanks! Until next time.

Play nice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Facts and failures

  When I started this blog I didn't want to have the primary focus on history. It's hard to maintain that sometimes. With Facts and failures from time to time I want to address random facts about Portland that may or may not be common knowledge, as well as try to put to rest equally common or not so common myths or failures attached to Stumptown. For this week's F&F I am going to go light and lay off of the failures and start with some facts, Jack!

Even if your name is indeed not Jack, you can continue.

• Portland's official bird is the Blue Heron.

• Portland's Forest Park has over 5,000 acres of land. It is the largest wilderness park in the country.

• Portland and Bend, Oregon are the only 2 contiguous United States cities built with extinct volcanoes inside their city limits.

• In 1905 the largest log cabin in the world was built in Portland to honor the Lewis & Clark expedition.

• The Port of Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States and 2nd largest in the world.

• The Hood to Coast relay is the largest event of it's kind in the world.

• At the time it was incorporated in 1851, Portland had a little over 800 residents, a steam sawmill, a log style hotel, 2 markets and one newspaper, The Weekly Oregonian. It later became the Morning Oregonian to what we know now as simply, The Oregonian. Pretty basic stuff, right?

Morning edition of the Oregonian courtesy of an old sock drawer.
  Of course there are the basic facts listed above. We all know very well of the good and bad of Portland's past and it's facts and myths. I personally find the next set a little more off the beaten path of the regular facts of Portland.

• In 1888 Henry Weinhard offered to pump free beer, from his brewery just up the hill, into the newly dedicated Skidmore fountain. He was turned down very quickly.

• Portland sits atop a Plio-Pleistocene geological feature, called the Boring Lava Field. It is filled with 32 dormant or extinct cones, over 50 vents and is almost 2 million years old.

• Don MacLeod, owner of Music Millennium, one of the oldest music stores in the Northwest, founded "Keep Portland Weird" to help keep one of the sources of weirdness - it's unique local businesses - alive.  Which really isn't weird at all.

• The Portland Police Department hired the nation's first policewoman, Lola Baldwin, in 1908.

Saturday Market is the largest, continuously operating, open-air market crafts market in the United States.

Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest official park, measures 2 feet across. It was created 1948 for the leprechauns, and a place to hold snail races on St. Patrick's Day.

• Portland was home to the first professional hockey team in the United States. The Portland Rosebuds, who were here from 1914 to 1918. They were also the first American team to participate in the Stanley Cup Finals (1916)

Old time hockey with the Portland Rosebuds, 1916.
  I feel as though I have filled this space with a reasonable amount of generic fact. I'll see what I can round up for the next time.

Play Nice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The man in our living room.

  He is a man we can count on, every single day and night he stands and stares. Covered in bronze and enamel he raises his hand for eternity in our living room. The man, in motion and stuck in time at once, in a hurry to go nowhere. He offers his umbrella to every passerby.
  The living room I am speaking of is of course Pioneer Courthouse Square. The man who I am referring to is known affectionately as "the umbrella man" to most. The bronze gentleman, with his business suit and red tie, was a gift to the city of Portland from New Yorker, Harry H. Schwartz in 1983. It was originally sculpted by J. Seward Johnson a native of New Jersey. The sculpture itself is actually titled "Allow Me" and is not the only one in existence or on display. However, this one is ours and it seems he is a local icon and tries to capture the civic virtue in some aspects. Just a guy, in a suit, offering his umbrella.

Hello there from bronze limbo.

  What's that? What did I say? This is not the only "Allow Me" statue in existence? Sadly, and strangely enough, it is not. Our courteous, bronze man was one in a series of seven casts. The other remaining statues reside in Bath, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Three of them are not on public display and are in private collections in Port Smith, Arkansas, Hamilton, Ohio and Los Angeles, where he doesn't need his umbrella as much as he needs a gas mask. At least he's already bronzed.
  I thought it would bother me knowing there was more out there. I thought maybe it would cheapen the feeling I have for this piece of art. It hasn't, not at all. Especially after finding out the one in Philly has been stolen and vandalized numerous times. It doesn't really make a difference to me, because this one, this man, is ours. Besides all that, ours is the only one with a red tie. 

The umbrella makes me a bit suspect sometimes.
  There is one thing I wonder about the man in our living room. If he was a living being, would he be a native Portlander? By today's so called standards he hardly fits the part. First of all, he is using his umbrella. I own or have owned umbrellas in my life and rarely have I ever used them, if ever. Like most Portlanders who have been raised in the puddles of the Rose City, an umbrella is usually an after thought. Even when they are used, they are usually left in a booth at a restaurant or on Tri-Met at some point. I have never in my adult life bought an umbrella.
  Secondly, we come to the suit. I know there are suits abound in every part of the world and Portland is no different. I just feel like the guy would be a little more comfortable if he was wearing a bronze hoodie. It would be fitting. 

I just pictured that in my head and now I am disappointed in myself for imagining that. It would make a lot more sense as far as realism goes. However, it seems the chosen outfit works. He has been seen in a lot worse after all.

Jimmy Buffet fans can be so cruel.
  Although the years he has spent on the top of the Square have not been very many, they have been ours. This statue has seen it's share of photos, cigarettes placed in his hand, among other things. He had been there for a great many things that have happened in our living room. There might be six more like him, but none of them compare. Although the sculptor who molded him was not known as the greatest artist, some circles call him kitschy and lacking feeling. I disagree with the last one. It is one of my favorite pieces in the city.
  Nostalgia may have something to do with it. Maybe it's the central location? For me it's the simple fact that rain or shine, like this city, it will be there for me. It's a comfort to me to know that although he is not real, he offers no opinions or insights, nor is he able to offer directions or even a smile, he welcomes us to our living room day in and day out. Which unfortunately is more than I can say for citizens and officials some times. That is good enough for me.

Thanks. Until Next time.

Play nice.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stray Snapshot

  Today's Stray Snapshot is the counter of The Original Hotcake House. I have been going to this place since I was a couple weeks old. It brings back a lot of memories of early morning hockey games, stops before family road trips and nights (or mornings) soaking up the events of the previous hours. It's a great place to me. It may not be a four star, foodie paradise, but to me it is truly a monument in it's own right.

The Original Hotcake House has turned out over a million pancakes and hash browns in their  50+ years in Portland.

Thanks. Until next time!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Cobain Memory.

  Standing on the cold, rainy sidewalk of NW 6th on an aimless night I waited for my friend Scott. I was waiting for him to reappear from the confines of a group of friends and acquaintances that could get us into the venue. It was January 6, 1989 and I was in front of the Satyricon trying to see Mudhoney. Scott emerged and proceeded to saunter over. "Let's go in." he said with a brash overtone. Like there was never a doubt we could get in due to age. Cold and excited to see Mudhoney for the second time that week, I shrugged and headed through the back. "Who's playing with them?" I asked in an unmoved tone. "The band that we missed Tuesday. Who fucking cares?!?" he answered. Again, I shrugged. 
   We then entered the back entrance. Jorge, one of the promoters, looked at Scott and I and said "Have fun be careful." I had no idea what we were about to see. I am and have been a Mudhoney fan since the split of Green River and the release of the "Motives" and "Touch Me I'm Sick" singles. I waited for "Superfuzz Bigmuff EP" at Music Millennium the morning it was available. Even though I was the only one waiting. That being said, I was there to see Mudhoney. That's what I thought at least.

I don't know how many of these are in circulation. I know I saw a couple on line. I have 2 of them and I will keep them forever. The name was spelled differently.

We wandered around the back area, through the storage and came out on the side of where "the stage" was. If you remember the Satyricon back in the day you will know why there's quotes. Off to the left I saw Steve Turner from Mudhoney talking to two guys as they approached the stage. I didn't want to interrupt and I was nervous. So I stayed put. As the two guys he was talking to were interrupted by another patron, I walked up to Steve.
"Steve?" I said in the most pitiful tone. He looked at me with a curiousness and after a brief chuckle, barked "What are you like seven years old?" and laughed a bit. "No!" I said with all the confidence of a 14 year old crapping himself. "I just wanted to say you guys kick ass. I'm a big fan." I remember it vividly because I still think that I'm an idiot for saying it that way. "Thanks little brother. You going to stick around and see us?" his voice was obviously gravelly from their shows in the week.
"Absolutely! That's why were here." I said as I panned the room for my cohort Scott. He was on the side of the "stage" area acting like he belonged there. "We caught most of the show Tuesday. We were late, but made most of it. Great set!" I said with the hopes that with that statement all of a sudden would make us best friends for life. "You ever heard of these guys?" as he pointed to the two guys he had been talking to earlier. The same ones which were now taking shots with another couple folks. "No. Not really. Who are they?" I said as I peered over at the group. "Nirvana, first show outside of Washington for them. Thought we would bring them along." Steve quipped as he drank out of a dirty looking Dixie cup. Then he looked back, yelled "Heap, hold on!" to some lady and said "Enjoy, thanks and have fun. Be careful though kid." as he walked off.
  I rejoined Scott by the side of the stage. "Did you kiss him?" Scott joked. I laughed and answered the obligatory "Your mom kissed him." remark with a middle finger. "This opening band, Nirvana, or something is supposed to be good he said. It's their first show out of Washington." I added.
"First show out of Washington?!? They probably suck then. At least they're with Mudhoney." Scott responded.
"I guess we'll see." is all I answered with. As Scott and I leaned against a rickety merchant table three guys approached. They headed to the area where everything was set up.

The next 45 minutes drastically changed my music mind for the rest of my life.

Kurt Cobain that night, January 6th, 1989.
Photo courtesy of David Ackerman. He might have the only photos in existence of this show.

  Scott and I watched these three guys, who just moments before had just been milling around the place, bumming smokes and drinking, turn everyone on their ears. While I can honestly say that it wasn't the best show I have heard or seen. It is still and always will be one of my favorites.
As the worn out, sweaty, gangly band finished they walked past Scott, myself, and a group of others to the side of where they had just upset my musical world. All I could say as the singer walked by was "That was great."
"Not so much, but thanks." is all he replied.
We stuck around and watched Mudhoney. They, as usual, put on a great show. However, it was too late I was already changed forever. Mudhoney finished up. Scott and I headed for the door. On the way out I bought a cassette tape that was crudely packaged in black and white with the word Nirvana strewn across it for $2.00. I was hooked. I listened to that tape so much. I still have it.
I saw Nirvana 9 times between that night and the day I got "Bleach" from the Sub Pop order. I wore it and the "Blew" EP out. I just felt like I had found something different. Something my own. I can't compare it to anything like the Beatles or Elvis because I wasn't there.

I was here though. It seemed right.

  Then something happened. I went and picked up a brush copy of "Silver" my friend Evan had for me. He said "These guys are gaining more airplay."
"I don't know how the mainstream will take them." I replied.
To be honest, I wanted to be selfish and keep them for myself. Again, it was too late. I look back now and am glad for that.

A writer put it best when explaining their effect on music:
"Despite the fears of some of their dedicated, solid, underground fans and newer alternative-music fans, Nirvana hasn't gone mainstream, though this potent new album may once again force the mainstream to go Nirvana."

  "Nevermind" was released on September 24, 1991. The music landscape once again drastically changed. However, this time it wasn't in my head, in a dank Portland club. It was everywhere. Things seemed to go by so fast and so awkwardly after that. I saw them every time they came here and tried to see them when ever I could. The thing I enjoyed the most is that each time I saw them it was like the first time. It's hard to completely explain.
Everyone knew there was sadness buried in those lines. It was too late to stop it. It had gone of the tracks, everyone had their hand in the cookie jar, and every other cliché. It was exciting, sad and anxiety all wrapped up in an 8 pound angst wrapped package.
Even after the releases of "Incesticide" and "In Utero" had a bit of a stranglehold on the mainstream audience. You could tell that from their earliest fans to the very newest felt right about what could happen.
MTV's Unplugged performance still ranks up there as one of the most engaging performances ever by them along with Reading in '92. I was very thankful for the experience that one night opened up for me. I never thought anything but seeing Mudhoney again would come of it.
  I went to Nirvana's final show in Oregon as well as the final 2 shows in Seattle, on a whim senior year. It was a day or two past exactly 5 years since I had first seen them.
The only regret I have is that I took it for granted. I saw them often enough to not even think about final shows.
Sadly, it was true. As most people know in 1994 after an accidental overdose on Rohypnol and alcohol an intervention was staged, the rest of tour was cancelled or "rescheduled" or whatever. After less than a week in rehab though, Cobain climbed over a lame wall of the facility and took a plane back to Seattle. A week later, on Friday, April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head at his Seattle home by Gary Smith an electrical employee who had an appointment. I was in shock upon hearing the news. Absolute shock.

This is the poster for the last U.S. show, and the last time I would see them live.

Do I remember where I was? Yes. I was at Ticketmaster trying to get tickets to a show that would never come again.

I went to the vigils in Seattle and Portland. I witnessed a grand smorgasbord of people that were influenced by a man that seemed so accessible, yet so distant and hidden from everything.

I was 14 again. Waiting on a rainy NW street to see Mudhoney. It had come full circle.

I was crushed.

Time passes and things grow shorter. Sadness fades. I know the memory of a 14 year old fades as the years go by.
Part of that innocence, angst and memory were fortified with it though on that day.

Kurt Cobain would have been 44 years old today. While I cannot truly imagine what he would have created or been like. I will forever be saddened that myself or any of us will never get that chance.

Who knows what is waiting for a wide eyed kid out there to discover musically? Who knows what will be the next change to turn the monotony of auto-tune and lip-synched heavy pop over. It's most likely already out there, in some dank venue. Most likely opening for someone else's favorite band.
I revert back to that night in 1989 as a kid that hoped, shrugged and said "I guess we'll see."

Thanks Kurt.

Play nice.