Lois at the Organ
A historical account of our Lodge could not, by any means, be written without mentioning our sweetheart of music and conversation, Lois Fackler.
Lois started playing the piano in our lounge in 1947. She continued entertaining us for many years until the sale of the building 1988. She stated in an interview, that she could still hear the sound of spittoons which were being used by the old timers around her piano in the early days when she first started playing. Lois brought her Hammond organ from home and we acquired a piano bar. The stools around the bar were always occupied by the many fans singing along to old songs of almost everyone. Every evening at eleven o’clock, she would play soft music for the “Eleven O’Clock Toast”. Everyone has their own personal memories of our original home, however, I am sure the memory of “Lois at the Organ”, stands out in everybody’s mind.
The B.P.O.E. and everything that it stands for means a great deal to most of us, perhaps more to some. Some were married at the Lodge; others resided at the Lodge while others went on to break records, such as George Haldeman who broke many aviation records and is in the Aviation Hall of Fame. Another Elk that deserves recognition is Bill Ott. His career started when he won the Golden Gloves boxing championship in 1932. At the end of his career, he had won a total of 550 medals, 335 of them gold.
The Ladies Organizations
However, no reference can be found regarding the existence of a formal association until sometime after 1933, when the Florida State Elks Association adopted the Harry Anna Crippled Children’s Hospital as the state project. The statewide group of ladies of the Elks formed an association named after Anna Miller, calling themselves the “Anna Miller Circle” with a charter date of November 8, 1951. The formal purpose of the state’s Elks ladies organizations is to promote fellowship and friendship and to render altruistic service to help the unfortunate children. Another The ladies of our Lodge probably gathered together for social events since the time of our charter, purpose and their main project is to assist the Harry Anna Hospital.
The Anna Miller Circle of Lakeland Lodge #1291 became the “Elkettes of #1291” on March 2, 1972. The Elkettes continued for years having many very successful fund raisers for the Harry Anna Hospital. They sponsored many events including the formal Elks Ball and other numerous social dinners and activities.
The Elkettes reorganized in 1982-1983 under a new set of bylaws, and renamed themselves the Elkmates. The Elkmates continue in proud tradition of the Ladies of the Elks and with all the virtues of Elkdom.