This week, MobileBooth West said goodbye to Salinas, CA and headed inland towards the promise of the first-ever StoryCorps stop in Salt Lake City. On our way, we swung south through the desolate Mojave and glittering Las Vegas and then headed up north. By the time we pulled into Salt Lake City, the state’s famous snow was out to greet us.
The sun came out just in time for opening day and we were also greeted by our host station, KCPW, press, SLC mayor Ralph Becker (below) and most importantly, cupcakes. Check out great images of StoryCorps opening day from the local perspective here.
Our booth is parked in Washington Square–the heart of downtown, right across from Salt Lake’s inspiring central public library–much more than a place to house books, it is a real community gathering place where people meet for coffee, language exchange and public readings; kids run in the sun-dappled light under living trees in the children’s section and visitors take in the city’s signature mountain views from the rooftop patio.
Thanks to the library, within our first few days we heard the story of Melvin Grossman as told to his brand-new friend, Laurie Reed (below). They met one another at a recent StoryCorps volunteer gathering hosted by the Library. As Laurie puts it, she and Melvin have little in common–she comes from a long line of Western pioneers and he grew up on the streets of Brooklyn as the child of Polish Jewish immigrants. But as soon as they met, Laurie was eager to learn more so she invited him to make a StoryCorps recording with her to honor his family’s legacy as well as his own experiences.
We look forward to hearing more from family and friends old and new during our six-week stay in SLC.