Fifty-one years ago, Louis R. Slosar, an Ohio native, decided to go west by bicycle.
"So, with a box on my luggage rack and a Boy Scout knapsack on my back, $11 in my pocket and against the tearful protestations of my family, I embarked on my search for employment across our country. My destination: that golden land, California," Slosar, now 71, writes from Solon, Ohio.He never made it to the Golden Land.
Instead, after picking tomatoes in Indiana and pitching hay in Illinois, sleeping on park benches, in flophouses or jails, he arrived in Salt Lake City. On Sept. 14, 1937, at 6:30 p.m., to be exact.
"I fell in love with the city. I discovered Salt Lake City as one of the most beautiful cities in the world," Slosar says, remarking on the city's wide streets, beauty and cleanliness.
Slosar found work as a dishwasher at the Station Hospital at Fort Douglas.
While working at Fort Douglas, Slosar discovered Covey's Coconut Grove, the joys of dancing and the joys of the lovely ladies there.
Slosar says last year on his 71st birthday he was reading his 53 diaries when the memories began to flow. "I thought how nice it would be if I were able, somehow, to bring back some of those beautiful memories to the many lovely ladies who helped make my three years in Salt Lake City the three most memorable, even now, in my life."
Slosar sends greetings to: Esther and Pearl Roach, Lois Carlson, Edith Christopherson (Music Maestro, please!), Norma Guthrie, Georgia and Jean Kehlin, Cora Lee Enos, Edith Derbyshire, Lavina Loring, Marjorie Gex, Val Broders, Meredith Nielson, Norma Clayton, Ruth Erickson, Marcella Kendall, Frieda Roe, Ruth Lay, Dona Ashby, Marjorie Neil, Zelpha Frandsen, Dixie Lee Cheney, June Reid, Helen Stillman, Belle Henderson, Blanche Richardson and Wanda Thomas. Wanda, was a "most wonderful waltzer," Slosar recalls. "The eighth dance, a waltz, was always ours. She was like a feather in my arms."
Slosar says there were many more ladies whom he only remembers by first name. "But if they danced at Covey's in the years 1937 to 1940 and loved to dance, I'm sure they will remember me, the boy who loved to sing or whistle."
He also mentioned his closest buddies Ralph Swift, Ken Nelson, Dan Jensen and Jesse West.
After his adventure stretched to three years, Slosar decided to retrace his steps back to his father, mother and two sisters - but not by bike. He settled in Ohio, where he married and raised four sons. He and his wife celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last July.
"I thought perhaps your reading public would enjoy reading something about friendship over the years, of love, of memories that span over 50 years back to when they enjoyed life and there was less news of drugs, plane crashes, terrorism and murder," he writes in a letter to the Deseret News.
Louis Slosar can be reached at 36380 Bainbridge Road, Solon, Ohio 44139.