Saturday, January 10, 2009

Visit to the Jimi Hendrix Grave Site Today

My friend Ron and I went out to the Jimi Hendrix grave site today... Finding the Greenwood Memorial Park was a challenge. We both started to get vertigo from going around in loops! It was even more confusing to try to keep figuring, should we be on the freeway above? Or the freeway below?! It turned out to be a cold, rainy day and felt like a trip around the world.

Even with Mapquest, we had to stop and ask for help several times... We were laughing when people kept saying - "Watch out for Burger King!" "You'll see the turn-off near MacDonald's..."

Eventually we pulled into the parking lot, where the Memorial sit in direct sight.

I'm attaching a link to Jimi's family website here...

Check it out... Jimi's dad, Al, had to fight for the legacy. He decided to use the money for a family memorial. Al died in 2003. The work on this site is happening gradually - but today we saw all the granite artwork and poetry is up! A life-size statue of Jimi is due as well.

The Memorial is GORGEOUS!

Jimi was not cremated. I believe the family wanted to get his body under granite, in order to prevent the kind of vandalism as seen with Jim Morrison's grave over the years.

Jimi Hendrix
Birth: November 27, 1942
Death: September 18, 1970

Although Hendrix verbally requested to be buried in England, his body was returned to Seattle and interned at Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington, approximately 30 minutes south of Seattle. Today, the gravesite contains the remains of Jimi Hendrix, his father Al Hendrix, and grandmother Nora Rose Moore Hendrix . The headstone depicts Hendrix’s legendary Fender Stratocaster guitar; although the guitar is shown right-side up, and Hendrix, being a left-hander, played it upside down.

Jimi Hendrix’s Grave at Greenwood Memorial Park
350 Monroe Avenue NE
Renton, WA 98056
United States

It's a beautiful memorial, something the cities of Seattle and Renton should be proud of! It perfectly expresses Jimi's spirit, similar to this painting, above. The beautifully-carved silver and smooth-black granite inlays on the inside columns of the dome are done in the art-nouveau style, with a super-fun psychedelic '60's flair. One column image shows Jimi's face simply looking in on the fans who come to this place, the words of his poetry scrawled around the stones in carved handwriting.

Ron set up his guitar and amp... He played "The Wind Sings Mary", and another song by Jimi about an angel; so lovely. Ron's spot-on guitar work and singing brought a feeling of presence for those of who gathered around.

At the foot of each column are granite benches, carved in handwriting with lyrics, for the fans to sit and enjoy. The energy is sweet, in a large grove of fir trees, birds, natural elements. I could have stayed for some time, however Ron started to become extremely cold, like a little child... So we headed out.

How I met Ron...

He's a black man, I've seen often up on Broadway, in Seattle, playing his guitar with a little amp. People are always throwing dollar bills at him, something you never see with street musicians in this city. As I walked by the other night, I thought - I should stop and say hi to this guy. I noticed, he often loves to play Jimi Hendrix.

Normally we don't just stop and start talking to someone we might meet on the street. Especially in the city, people can be paranoid. Many souls in the city are immature, and have hidden agendas and wounds. Sometimes it's possible to connect with someone who has grown beyond their wounds, but most of the time you get attitude. Many people are jealous and insecure... And it's only possible to reach to them if you're willing to blow rainbows up their asses. Ron and I are not that kind of people.

Sometimes it's strange to get into a conversation with a stranger... But after days like today, I'm not so sure all the people we meet are exactly strangers.

Ron was straight-up with me about who he is. It was fun to learn he is actually employed in the meat department at Safeway! ("I can't complain about it; I'm grateful to be able to make a living...") He said he just loved to come out to the street whenever he wanted, just to play. It was great to see the response he was getting from people! (Ron is someone who is always smiling.) When I told him about Jimi being buried just out of town, we made arrangements to go.

"It makes me crazy, sometimes," he said, "how people get all over my case for smoking..."

I laughed. Everyone suffers and struggles, I said, it's just up to how we choose to deal with it. We have choices!

Ron is a Veteran of the Gulf War. He's seen some things around the world. Today he kept questioning if we (here on the planet) were gonna make it.

"Not as long as we don't acknowledge we all have to live together!" I said. "The only reason we need to work on conflict resolution and honesty is that we have to live with one another! It's not that we need anyone policing our souls. It's not like anyone likes that, or wants it. But I'm a big advocate of personal responsibility. I'm not really interested in what people say, so much as what kinds of attitudes they have."

We both agreed it takes a lot of energy (more than it's worth) to hang around people with negative attitudes.

We are both close in age, born in the late '50's. We were both feeling a little sadness and disillusionment as we sat, contemplating the lives of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, etc. They weren't perfect people, by any means. But when you think about what they were expressing to the world in their short lives, it makes you wonder about the rest of their generation...

Throughout history there have been delightful little blobs of collective hope. For a couple of years in the late sixties, no matter what was going on in the world, our generation happily assumed that with love and education we could change outdated social systems. One huge thing that we missed.... Ninety percent of the population is genetically imbued with sub-mediocre reasoning skills. No matter how much you hug them or read to them, there’s no correcting stupid. Monterey – a celebration of youthful naiveté. –Grace Slick 2007

It was ironic, to pull out of the cemetery and see the Golden Arches of MacDonald's directly across the road from the Jimi Hendrix Memorial. We'd been talking about vegetarianism all through the day.

Ron was sullen, thinking about Jimi and the music.

I looked at him driving, he was so thoughtful and quiet and suddenly changed.

There was a bright light coming out of chest; but his eyes looked lost, and sad.

"I feel different," I said. "I can't describe it - spacey, light, and happy... I felt so much happiness coming from that place!" I laughed.

"Well of course!" Ron began to laugh too... "Because Jimi IS where he is. He's happy! He's no longer confined to this body," Ron slapped his chest. "He's no longer confined to this earth. He's happy to be on the other side! It's the best place to be - don't you think? And! We feel it!"

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