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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Paul F. Beich singers

This quintet entertained at a Young Men's Club function in the Illinois Hotel on May 5, 1940. Note the WJBC microphone -- perhaps they were "live streaming" the performance? I can see two cigars in the image -- imagine how that room would have reeked from all the cigars and cigarettes smoked around those draperies. They were called the Paul Beich Company Singers. Were any of them actual candy makers????

Norma Aull was a music student as ISNU as well as an employee at Beich, and she lived with her mother, two sisters and a brother. (Her parents were divorced.) Norma played the bassoon. Later in 1940 Norma would marry J. E. Sigler, but she would continue to work the rest of her life at Beich, Northern Illinois Gas, a chiropractors office, Freedom Oil and the IRS. She was a clerk at Beich, not a candy wrapper.

Anna Deutsch was a Trinity High School graduate and Bloomington native. Anna left Bloomington sometime during WWII. A family story says that Anna Deutsch spent the war years in St. Louis and nothing much remained of that experience except a photo of Anna, sitting on top of a bomb, selling war bonds. What happened in St. Louis, stayed in St. Louis. Anna married after the war to a man named Bender, but he died eight years after their wedding. Anna returned to Bloomington as a widow, probably to be near family. Anna raised her four children alone, managing the Ken Anderson Insurance Agency in Bloomington. Ken Anderson retired the same day as Anna "because he couldn't run the business without her."

Lucile Heiple was a Wesleyan student from Gridley, where her father was the president of the Gridley State Bank, so, not a lowly little candy maker. She married Merle King in 1940, but apparently that marriage did not last. By 1946 Lucile was married to Otto G. Beich, a divorced man, and they had a child. In July of 1949 Merle King married again (so she wasn't a widow) -- to Alberta Carnine Carter, another divorcee. Otto was about 25 years Lucile's senior, but most likely not her boss, since she was a "housewife" by after marrying King. Otto died in 1964, but no report of Lucile's continued life could be located. So, those were the good old days -- when people didn't get divorced. (If you believe that, look at the old newspapers)

Eunice (Naugle) Wilson was already a married woman when she was working at Beich. She was cashier and Beich's head bookkeeper as well as a member of the bowling team with singers Anna and Lucile. She had attended Brown's Business College and worked at Beich until she retired.

Audrey Marshall was a transplant from New York, probably coming to Bloomington in connection with her father's work as an engineer at Williams Oil-O-Matic. Audrey attended Bloomington schools and graduated in 1932 from BHS. She married Eugene Cawood in Atlanta Georgia in 1942, at which time she quit working at Beich (as a clerk) and took a job at Swift in Atlanta. Audrey and Eugene were both Bloomington natives, so they returned after the war for his work at State Farm. Audrey died suddenly in 1959, leaving behind four children.

The "natural" class divisions of life in Bloomington would have prevented any candy making girl or woman being part of a group that entertained the Young Men's Club -- at an event covered by the Pantagraph.

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