We had a regular ‘customer’ back at the original Free Wheeler. It was either the end of the 70’s or the beginning of the 80’s, and I can’t even remember her name (I think it was Eleanor) but we called her “The Mayor of Sugarhouse.” She looked every bit of the 173 years old she was, smoked a carton a day and drank mini-bottles by the handful.
I don’t know if she was homeless, she certainly looked it, but we thought she had an apartment somewhere in the neighborhood, She told a lot of stories, but a couple of themes seemed consistent. She was originally from New York City, came out to Salt Lake with a husband that, some unknown years before, left town with a younger woman. He had a name, but for the life of me I can’t remember what she said it was.
She would hang out at Free Wheeler a couple of evenings every week. She liked us, mainly because the place was staffed by a bunch of hippies and we tolerated her. Our customers did too, even found her somewhat amusing when she would claim to be the owner and yell at everybody. She would sit on the window sill at the front of the store (it was a wide, low, long sill), drinking and smoking and telling stories of her life. One time we saw her walking down the middle of 2100 South, shaking her fist and yelling at the cars as they passed her.
I have no idea what happened to her, she just faded from the fabric of Free Wheeler. She can’t still be alive, that was over 30 years ago and she was 149 then, I just hope she’s resting peacefully.