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The Elks — Circa 1950s

My Port Jeff roots are strong. My parents both grew up here and my dad’s parents were both local teachers. Many of you may remember my grandmother Sally Tessler who taught at Scraggy Hill and my grandfather Melvin Tessler who led the English Department at ELVHS. On my mom’s side of the family is the Koutrakos clan which owned the Original Elks. Decades later my family would own A Gift of Faith on Main Street. My family history is irrevocably tied to Port Jeff and that’s something I’m forever grateful for.

On September 11, 2081, an unborn generation of American leaders will gather in New York City for an annual pilgrimage to mourn the loss of innocent lives and America’s innocence. By then few alive will remember the beautiful Manhattan skyline of yesteryear and that bright blue September day. Few alive will be able to recall the horrors we experienced and the profound patriotism that ensued. Few will remember this tumultuous moment in our nation’s history.

Those old enough to remember and lucky enough to be octogenarians will be given a profound task: to remind the future of our past.


Let me start by saying that I’ve lost 54 lbs. This number can be a tad daunting because I’ve got a few friends who’d literally invert and develop into black holes if they lost that sort of weight. When I began this journey, I weighed an impressive 356 lbs (with a BMI of 51.1). So while the loss has been transformative and extremely noticeable, I do often find myself getting frustrated at the fact I’m still very much obese.

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Can you guess who I am?

When you grow up fat you find yourself with an interesting assortment of role models: Santa Claus, Chris Farley, John Goodman…

Michael Tessler

Film Producer, Screenwriter, and CEO of #MultihouseEntertainment — Fmr. President of the #IYC. Lover of #history, #politics, & @StarWars

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