(L to R) Hanna Mlekodaj, Carol Johnson, Kay Jaskowiak, Sandra (Johnson) Hansen, Marcella Hauser
We call her the “Starke County Bowling Queen.” This week on “Ted Hayes Remembers”, Hanna Mlekodaj’s bowling career that spanned six decades will be featured.
Beginning at the Zingarelli Lanes and ending at Bowlaway Lanes, Hanna was a promoter of women’s bowling during the glory years of the sport in Starke County.
“Marcella Hauser, Carol Johnson who was Sandy Hansen’s mother, June Cruce and Martha Desmond are some of the first bowlers,” said Hanna of her team in 1950.
Hanna was always passionate about getting teams to go to the State Bowling Tournament. She got 37 teams to go one year.
“The State Tournament was in Indianapolis and I had always made all of the arrangements for applications and sent in the money, made the date and everything,” she said. “They decided that we would stay at a certain hotel. 37 teams were going down together so I went into the hotel at the Heartland Inn and told the desk clerk that I needed to make a reservation for 37 rooms. She looked at me kind of surprised and she said, ‘Let me get the manager’. She got the manager and she made arrangements for the 37 teams and gave our team a suite!”
But the next day they went to the 40 lane bowling alley to bowl and they thought the entire city was in attendance.
“The team lines up on the lane and they call off the name of the team and where they’re from,” she explained. “Naturally, we started out with lane one and all the way up to lane 37 and it was Knox, Knox, Knox. Somebody hollered out, ‘Is there anybody left in Knox?’ ‘Yes’ we said. ‘Our husbands!'”
Hanna Mlekodaj, Starke County’s Bowling Queen. She will be Ted’s guest on the ‘Ted Hayes Remembers’ program Friday at 12:20 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.