Bohnen History

(Written by Arthur Bohnen to his daughter, Miranda, before 8-19-1974 when he wrote the Bohnen history)

 To answer your questions re the name Bohnen etc. I will have to give you the best of my memory. I tried to look up a few items but can't find anything in the mess of our move.

Grandfather Bohnen, my grandfather, your great grandfather migrated to America to escape military service in 1869 (he sailed from Breman to N.Y. on the "Donau", arriving 11 Sept. 1869). Grandmother followed him later and they were married at  Buffalo N.Y. (her obituary says Erie, Penn.). Both came from the Moselle country. This had been a part of Alsace-Lorraine (Alsace-Lorrain belonged to France then, It became part of Prussia after 1871).

Grandmother used to have two photos on her bedroom wall when she lived with us after grandfathers death. They were scenes of the vineyards and castle of Bernkassel where I was told she taught or tutored (inserted photograph is a contemporary postcard purchased in 1986). Grandfather was also a teacher. This is about all that I  knew as a child. 

When we went to Europe, 1914-17 (this was during WW 1!), Dad had planned to visit his relatives but the war made travel difficult but he managed to go alone. He met and somewhere I have photos, of some Bohnens. The picture is of an officer in uniform and I don't recall much of what Dad reported about that part of the family. But I do recall that he saw grandmother's folk near Aachen, of the holy roman empire under Barbarossa (west of Cologne, near the French & Belgium borders). Her maiden name was  Jochem. Her uncle ? was the chief forester of a huge national forest near there which seems to have been the one which figured in the Battle of the Bulge in WW II. There are some letters of Dad's from these people and some pictures.

There was a story that the elder Bohnen son was always to be accepted in some school as a hereditary right. Never explored. Dad had some stories... That one relative was a general under Napoleon and another was an Italian noble ( from whom he inherited his roman nose). This area was one which was under several jurisdictions through the years.

Back in Chicago Dad saw the name Bohnen in the phone book, two I think, so he called one who referred him to his sister Anna, Mrs. Albert Loeb (one son was the Loeb of Loeb-Leipold fame (famous kidnapping and murder of about the 1920s). Mr. Loeb was Vice president of Sears. They became friends and  Dad did several portraits in the family. They determined that their forefathers came from the same general area of Alsace.

When I first came to Chicago, summer of 1922, I called at the ATO house to get acquainted. When I introduced myself as Bohnen one of the boys, Luelyn Westcott, said he was dating a Virginia Bohnen. He called her and we went on a date (blind for me) to the Dunes one weekend where I met Virginia and found her father to have been the Bohnen Dad had called. There were a couple of boys who still live in some western was a golf star. Virginia now lives in Evanston a spinster (she died in 1988 at the age of 86).

When Michael Bohnen came to sing at Ravinia, he was married to Mary Lewis. Dad met both of them and did their portraits. A picture of the three of them with Dad doing the portrait was in the local papers. They established some sort of connection and called each other cousin. I met him at that time. When Gladys (my first wife) was in Berlin she heard him in "Johnny Speilt nuf" a very modern opera. She went back stage and met as "cousin" etc.

Dorothy and I went to a German consulate affair a few years ago. The guest was the director of Culture (in Berlin) or some such title and  was a very good friend of Michael.

During the depression I had a downtown office. I received a telegram, delivered in those days by boys, and this boy wanted to hand me the telegram. When he did he said he had a brother of the same name..Arthur. His name was Joe and we later hired him as an office boy. From his mother I learned that his father had come from Milwaukee, I lost contact with them.

This year I called an office and spelt my name. The girl said she knew it as that was her name, She was married to one of the "Luxengurg" Bohnens of Wilmette..that they had once owned a big farm in what is now Wilmette.  The girl at Advance Copy also knew my name as that of her bowling partner also of Wilmett. There are several in the phone book, 5 in Chicago, 10 in suburban book. Also 5 Bohnenbergers and 1 Bohnenkamp and 14 Bohne, the singular of Beans,

When we were in German we most often had to spell our name as it seemed to be in error. In other words it is not a common name.

Just recalled that I  had a business acquaintance say his best friend was a Bohnen with Inland Steel Co. and another one I gave my name to on the phone, and spelt it said he knew it as his neighbors name. These were the brothers of Virginia.

As you may not know a great many Germans migrated to White Russia..the Ukraine.. so your inquiry may come from some descendant of such a migration.

I guess that about covers what I know about the Bohnen's.

Grandfather was a teacher in the deaf and dumb school in Erie and apparently a good one for the gold headed cane I have was given him as a parting gift when they set off, with your grand-father as a baby for Meyer's Grove (on AAA map it is Meire Grove) Minnesota..just north of Saint Cloud (about 30-40 miles)...where he was the school teacher, sexton, organist and band leader of that small German community. He was a good musician, played the organ in the German pro-catheral in Saint Paul..and I remember the sign on his porch..Nichalous Bohnen, Teacher of Music.

The Bohnens
(By Arthur Bohnen, August 19, 1974)

It all started when Nichlos Bohnen (born in Bernkastel on the Mosel) met Maria Jochim at a teachers convention in Alsace Lorraine (Alsace Lorraine belonged to France then, this location for a teachers convention in the late 1860s. ). Both were, by the then standards, well educated, refined and artistic persons. Nichlos's father and grandfather were teachers, Organists and conductors. The mass which Nichlos composed at the age of 26 was still (1937) being sung in the Rhine country. He left Germany before the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71 in which France lost Alsace-Lorraine to Prussia) to avoid military service.

Marie Jochim was a teacher in the Hocheren Toechter School in Trier on the Mosel (she was born in Leiwen on the Mosel).  Her mother was said to be Italian. An uncle of her father was a Lieutenant general in the army of Napoleon III of France.  Her last position was as governess to the lord of Bernkaselle on the Mosell.

Marie followed Nichlos to America (about 1870) where they were married in Buffalo N.Y.(Erie, Penn. per her obit.) in 1870. Nichlos received a position in school and church institution for the Deaf and dumb in Erie Penn. It was here that the first three children were born, Elizabeth, Carl and Nicholas.

 For some matter of health the family left Erie (about 1876. They were living in Nicollet Co., about 70 mi SW of St. Paul in the 1880 Mn census) for Meyers Grove Minnesota. As a parting gift, and for his excellent work with the children of the school,  Nichlos was presented with a gold headed stick or cane. The head of which was inscribed in German. (I now have this in my possession). It was always said in the family that the wood of the stick cane from some remnant of admiral Perrys flagship in the Battle of lake Eire.

As children we heard many tales of Meyers Grove. While what follows is hearsay yet there must be a large element of truth in the content. Nichlos's job was many fold. He taught in the school, the only teacher. He was the sexton of the church next to where the family lived. He was the organist for the church services and the boys pumped the organ.  This was a German community so the spoken words were German. within the family German was also the language so all of the children became bilingual. Stories of Meyers Grove were part of my heritage but the episodes are now gone. One remains clear. Grandfather made a band out of the boys in the school. He sent away for the various instruments. When they arrived he had to learn how to play each and everyone so as to teach the boys how to play their allocated instrument. This is how Carl became a snare drummer. Years later the alto and tenor horns were still in our attic. Brother Roman taught himself how to play them and so became a neighborhood character as he went about tooting on the horns. This early training with instruments carried over into adult life. John later became a clarinetist with both the St. Paul and Los Angeles Symphony orchestra. John and Aloys were born in Meyers Grove. Somewhere along the line Carl learned the violin and piano as did some of the other children. Nichlos was a good musician. while in Buffalo  or Eire he played with a a string quartet for the the Prince of Wales, Edward 7th, at the Crystal Palace at Montreall on the occasion of his visit there. So music has always been a part of Bohnen life.

I think a quotation from a letter to me from brother Roman just after the death of his wife Hildur tells the story of Meyers Grove in our lives..."We've talked  a lot of the earlier days. All to the good. I happen to love that Meyers Grove tradition- the madcap family, the whole historical situation,- the native love that went coursing through the veins of those ego centric Bohnens, at each others throats quite unselfconsciously like a healthy little wolf pack... One could say "with birth control there wouldn't have been quite such a big family ", - but I prefer that ignorance in a way - I mean I think I envy the blind daring that launches such a brood into the world,- otherwise you are 'saving yourself' like an over trained athlete on the premise that your creative function in society is so god damm important that it mustn't get bogged down by too much domestic responsibility. I guess I'm not really prepared to defend my contribution to society on this basis. I think my blood and marrow is comparatively superior, and, in the long run it would probably have been most  creative to launch a dozen 'ambassadors without portfolio' down into the corridors of time ".

Somewhere along this corridor Carl went to nearby St.  Johns University at Collegeville  in Minnesota in 1892. Here he won a diploma for booking and Penmanship. We had this Diploma framed in an elaborate frame, size about 24 x 36 inches, in our attic. Here Carl made many friend of years long standing both with his fellow classmates and with the Benedictine order. One class mate later became rector or superior. There is a print of Dad's latter date portrait of him. It was at St. Johns in 1912 that we had the only family vacation I can recall.

About 1930 Gladys and I made a trip to northern Minnesota and stopped to see what Meyers Grove looked like at that time.  It was still a small, sleepy spot on the map. Dad made one trip back there and proved the old saw that it is a mistake to go back as it only spoils the fantasies which you had created. But he left his mark on the bar room mirror in the form of a soap drawings of the dog who would have caught the rabbit if he had not stopped to answer a call of nature.

I will guess that in about the mid 1890's that what was left of the family moved to St. Paul (a  letter written to Carl from Elizabeth, March 17, 1993 was sent from St. Cloud, 30 miles from Meyer's Grove, also she wrote a letter to Carl, Oct 31, 1892 from St. Martin, Minn. about 20 miles south-east of Meyer's Grove. She lived in these locations while apprenticing and working)  where Nichlos became the organist of the pro-cathredal (I don't know what a pro-cathredal is!) and a teacher of music. I think there was an intermediate stop at St. Peters (St. Peter is about 60 miles S-W of St. Paul in Nicollet Co., where they lived in the 1880 census).

From here on in I have some recollections. Carl was the only one married at the turn of the century. The others were still at home. Their house was in a part of town known as Frog Town. This was the center of German and Polish ethnic groups. In front Grandmother had  two Oleander trees in tubs that had to be kept in the cellar during the winter. The cellar also contained a barrel in which sauerkraut was made, weighted down with a big stone. There was a garden in the rear for both vegetables and flowers. There is a story that I picked flowers here, only I picked only the flower and not the stems. In the house there were geraniums on the window sills, also dishes with black flypaper in water. In the living room was a square piano from which Grandpa gave lessons. There were also violins and cellos about. I have a distinct picture of grandpa up on a ladder hanging storm sash above his head. Suddenly it lost balance and came crashing down on his head. Then a torrent of German from both him and grandma of which all I remember is "du alte lump". For winter protection the exposed cellar foundation was covered with horse manure which in turn was covered with tarpaper held in place with lath nailed with tin washers the size of half dollars. To me this was play money.

Then came the tragedy. The story was that Grandpa had pared a corn (must be on his foot) with a razor. It became infected, gangrene set in and his leg had be to amputated above the knee. From this point on, this man of grate energy, vitality and aggressiveness began a slump from which he never recovered. A family conclave led to the grandparents moving in with us on Ramsey Hill.

One last recollection of Frog Town. On the corner across the street from the Bohnen house was a saloon with a hall over it. I have a dim recollection of a Polish wedding taking place there which went on for several days with great feasting and drinking taking place, all with attendant music and dancing.

After the amputation there was a period when an effort was made to continue the old household, But things went from bad to worse. Nichalos grew heavy, found it hard to move about even with his crutches, he became intolerant of his students and lost them, so moving in with us was the old fashion way of taking care of one's elders. Also I suppose that the money contribution from the rest of the family was a help to the Carl Bohnen budget. There was a back stair from kitchen to bedroom and bath at Ramsey Hill. Nicholas made this trip as infrequent as possible and sat for the most part in a captains chair at the foot of the stair. It was not too long after coming to us that he died (his DC states that he died of gangrene of the leg 3/29/1911). Grandmother continued to live with us until we left for Europe (in 1914).

I believe I can best portray the rest of that family by taking them up one by one. Elizabeth, Lizzie to the family and friends, had a millenary shop. I recall it as a couple of glass showcases either side of the aisle as you entered. Herein were feathers, ribbons, bird wings etc. all of the items which went into the making of hats for the ladies of that era. In the back was the workshop where she employed some people. She was a talented person and had a good clientele. There was a cash drawer under the counter which rang a bell when it was opened. The money change lay in a wooden shelf into which round concave depressions had been made to hold the coins. In the store front windows were samples of the current offerings. Lizzie was a highly emotional person given to crying at the slightest provocation. It was the hope of the boys to have her get married. This she finally did to an Arthur Teuchert. He was a German of recent immigration and worked as a bookkeeper for George Sommer Company a wholesale distributor. Somehow I recall that he made the magnificent salary of  $125 a month..regularly. The wedding party is shown in a picture in the album. All I remember..and in those days kids were taken to all social events as there were no baby sitters in those days.. was that a couple of Teucherts friends, from his office, also recently arrived Germans, left their red Windsor ties soaking in drinking glasses. Teuchert was a military man and fastidious in his dress etc. Lizzie was sloppy, a poor housekeeper and weepy. We never liked to go to her house for we always left with disgust at the menage. Grandma who went to her to help from time to time always came home with a great sense of relief to be back in our well ordered household. There were three children, Fritz, who looked like his father, Marian, who had a Bohnen nose, and last Harriet. All three used the crib which had been Nichlos's contribution to my birth and which when last seen could have been used indefinitely.  Arthur got connected with the national Guard and rose to a high command. When we went to Germany he gave Bud and me the metal eagles which were from officers caps. These we wore in Munich on our felt mountain hats. Later on Teuchert got into trouble with another woman and peculation (embezzlement) for which he was sentenced. John (Hans) having gone to California in the mean time had Lizzie and her children come out there. I think the last time I saw the family was when Grandmother who had gone to live with them, when we left Holly ave., was sick. This was while we were at the university. I have recently had some correspondence with Dennis, Marian's son and John, Harriets son called to see me one day this year on his way to Europe. Alyos who was also in California was close to the family. How they managed to get along I have no idea.

Carl was the second born and since he was my father I have a special story (story is missing) to cover his career. He was the runt in a family of taIl men but also the leader in the early days. He gave jobs to Al and Nic in his studio. (In a letter to Justice Butler in 1937 Carl wrote about his artistic accomplishments. He studied art at the Royal Academy in Munich during WW1. In 1928 he went to Paris and painted for five years. He also studied in Italy and England, making his total stay in Europe twelve years. He had two paintings at the University of Chicago and painted five full size portraits of different governors which were hanging in the Minnesota State capitol.)

Uncle Nic, as we always addressed him was a quite type of person. very steady and at hand when needed. He was a candy salesman in the area and carried a sample case which always intrigued us when we saw him. It had expandable trays like a tackle box in which the samples were glued down. We could look at the case with desire but - no touch-. He had the first automobile in the family. I don't know the make but I recall the brass lamps, brass bound windshield and the brass rods supporting it. There was the carbide tank on the running board to serve the lamps. When  Nic married  Edna it was a family bash. She was a fat woman with a hairy lip. She was loud and domineering. We never could see what Nic saw in her. The boys resented her for she would nibble a chocolate to see if the filling satisfied her and we were given the damaged pieces. She was sort of jovial and bossed Nic about. Nic became the partner of the Funke Candy Company of La Crosse Wis. and set up the Funke-Bohnen Candy Company. It was he who gave me the job of making special deliveries while I was still in Grammar school. The store was on 3rd street behind which the bluff fell to the railroad tracks on the river bank. Under the store were a whole series of caves cut out of the white sandstone cliffs. Some were used as additional store rooms. This is all gone now with the redeslgn of downtown St. Paul. Other wholesale houses were neighbors.. Booth Fisheries.. and a Legal Publishing house, among others. Further north was the police station with stairs alongside it going down to the red light district. Coming from school with my newspaper boy classmates we used this stair as a short cut to downtown..also to 'rush the can' for some of the inmates of the houses easy nickel or dime tip. Nina Richards was the best known of the madames with the best house. She drove about town behind a pair of tawny and white horses pulling a beautiful equipage. The ostrich feathers in her hat blowing in the breeze.

All the above is an aside from Uncle Nic but I was reminded of it by the reference to 3rd street. Also George Lamb used to tell the story of being in St. Paul and seeing a news item of Nina's death. So he claims that he called up some of the most prominent names in town posing as her attorney and saying that Nina had left the request that he be a pall bearer at her funeral. As George told the story, the reaction he got from the men he called was hilarious.

Back to Uncle Nic... When we got back from Europe he gave Bud a job as a salesman and he was so good at it that Nic wanted him to keep on. So this was the after school Job Bud had his first year at the University. It bogged down with the distances involved and the short time after late classes. Edna died and Nic remarried (1935-6) a demure widow (Susie, who had been Nic's mistress while he was married to Edna. She was a lovely and charming and loved Nic very much--Harriet) who after Nic's death (in 1950-1) remarried someone in Iowa.

Aloys was the baby of the family. He worked for Carl in his old Broadway studio but wanted to get better training. He went to New York to study. He was a Henri student. His close friend was Cristodora (a sculptor) and Van Sloan of San Francisco (an actor). The two shared a studio. I have a few of his paintings. He would return to St. Paul from time to time and these were occasion for his spigitti dinners for a group of  St. Paul artists etc. Mother would say afterwards that he soiled more pots etc. than anyone else ever did  for a similar event. When we lived on Dayton and Uncle Hans lived with us circa 1907 Al also stayed with us. He and Hans gave Bud and I the admission. to see Buffalo Bills' circus out at Lexinton Ave. We were only 8 or 9 years old at the time. But we went. The jam at the ticket wagon was so great, we were so small and the window so high in the wagon that we were being trampled underfoot. We would never have made it if a cop and a fireman had not put us on their shoulders to get through the crowd and up to the window. It was a great experience and I can still picture the events in the rings..whooping indians, shooting cowboys, Anny Oakie shooting glass balls,  the pioneer prairie train surrounded by indians only to be rescued by the Cavalry at the last minute. We had spent our car fare for Cracker Jack or some such and had to walk home after dark to a concerned family..that is all but Hans and Al. I believe we were spanked as mother had not been at home when we were sent off.

When we went to Europe we saw Al in New York and again when we returned. As we were several weeks in New York at that time, Al took us and some friends to bathe at the then far away Rock-Away beach.  All of us got a real dose of  sunburn. Al was a friend of the founder of the Theosophists Society and she gave him a studio on Point Loma near San Diego California (It was Mrs. Lyman Gage, not Madame Tingley--Harriet). So he sort of dropped out of sight. But he did come to Chicago about 1933 and stayed with must have been fall for Mother was there also. We had a nice time renewing acquaintances. He was always my favorite uncle. I suppose because we were suppose to look something alike. I next saw him when I was in San Diego doing the shopping center there for War Housing. I did not get to see his studio for some reason. I never saw him again but the news was bad. A fire gutted his studio destroying most of his lives work. He was very friendly with the Teuchert children and Bud saw him from time to time. He retired to some place in Santa Anna where he died. I forgot to mention that he sent me while we were in University, costumes he had designed for some party in New York. I used his drawings for a Garrick Club party and me and my date wore the costumes. I saved them for years but don't know what happened to them.

 I am suddenly aware that I skipped Uncle John (Hans). He played with the St. Paul  Symphony ( Minneapolis Symphony--Harriet) and so was a member of some of the after show performances which took place at our house. I recall one such jam session that took place at our Fuller St. house. A keg of beer was a necessary part of such meetings. One of the people was baby Bliss, a 300 lb. violinist. Bud and I slept in an alcove off of the living room while the party took place in the kitchen, we could sneak out a bit and see what was going on. Baby Bliss sat on a chair on the kitchen table playing the Irish Washerwoman while the rest did an accompaniment with mothers pots and Jam sessions are not a current phenomena.  He also played in theaters, cafes etc. When he lived with us on Dayton Ave. he would pace the floor by the hour practicing. His mirror always had reeds stuck to the glass to make them straight. He played at the Nankin Inn in Minneapolis where the pianist was a most attractive girl, Lena. A smiling, quite person. They were married. As she was an only child her family did not want to let go of her so they lived together.  The father-in-law was a carpenter and had built a nice house but this arrangement gave out tensions. A child, Edna, was born.. So when Rothwell the conductor of the St. Paul Sympathy went to Los Angeles, Hans went with him and was latter divorced (and remarried Betty) He did very well in California becoming Assistant Director of the Fox Movietone orchestra.  I never did see him after he went to California nor his wife Lena. Little Edna called on me in the mid 1930s after she had been divorced from her husband (Edna now lives in Sequim, Washington).

That about winds up the Bohnens. There may be other associations come to mind as I write up other stories so they will have to take their place at that time.

Here are a few comments about Al from Bud (Roman) who would see him in LA: " Uncle Al,  who commands quite a lot of respect from me, because he seems to still keep his philosophical 'bin' in high personal good order, like an excellent cat. Al mentioned so often the good time he had with you (Dad) when he was in the middle west last. You must have given him the works. He certainly is a very attractive fellow. His bland fatalism and mild detachment from this vigorous dynamic world (that we are supposed to be living in)  gives him a very enviable relaxation. And there is an equivalent easiness and looseness about his work. Very commendable on its own level. But there you have it. You can't beat the game!  If you lead a purposeless life you'll do purposeless work. I feel he indulges in the luxury of being unharrassed, and by the same token cuts the balls off of his cumulative creativity as an artist. But I am not giving him the needle. Far from it. To pass Judgment on a man you must first examine his fundamental intention. Al's intention is by no means to be the  finest artist he can possibly be. If that were his intention he would be a pretty dismal failure, for he hasn't begun to use his talents in any hard-hitting, penetrating  way toward that end.  But that's his business. His basic intention seem to be to avoid the cloying vicissitudes of life, to amuse himself with his work. Well, if he succeeds or doesn't succeed at it, the world will never be the wiser. That's really too bad in a way, (since he has a gift) but it is not serious. There are already plenty of art treasures  in the world... so you can't exactly call it a duty for a man to strain his guts  and make himself unhappy trying to be immortal. Do you know what I feel ? - it is this- if a man can cash in his chips and feel that his life has made sense to him, that's about all one should ask; except perhaps that he should also want the life around  him to make sense,- and that he should therefore do a wee bit in that direction too.  So that, -when all is said and done, his personal comfort lies in the first point  and his contribution lies in the second" (Alloys lived for 86 years, longer than any of his four married siblings (he was married in New York for a short time to Eloie). So perhaps there is merit in living an "unharrassed" life).

Added note... Hans was one of the first to play saxophone with an orchestra. I can see him as he practiced the pulled his nose down and his chin up....Mother summed the family up when she said that the Bohnens were all night hawks.

       Arthur Bohnen-Evanston, Ill, 1974



By Arthur Bohnen, July 16 1971.

This is all hearsay...The day I was born, February 22 1900, I was the first grandson or grandchild for that matter in the Bohnen family.

 Grandpa Bohnen had two drinking companions, Father Prentiss,who latter baptized me in the Roman church since mother, who was Methodist had so agreed; Dr. Vicregge, who delivered me at home on Olive Street, near west Seventh and now under the expanded RR yards.

They met in some saloon, most likely in Frog Town, the German and Polish section where Grandpa lived, and had some drinks to celebrate the first grandchild, new Roman, and a successful delivery. The story goes that they got rather high and in the bloom of their high spirits went out and bought the best and most expensive crib they could find.

The crib was a large oak box with paneled sides set in a frame, which acted with a glider action. I well remember it for it was in the family for many years. It had a peg to push in to stop the glideraction. It was a formidable piece of furniture. It was also very expensive and in more sober moments caused some problems but we still retained it.

Since brother Roman, also delivered by Dr. Vicregge, came in 22 months the crib became his. Latter it was also sister Charlotte's crib.

In the meantime it was also used by the Teuchert family for cousins Fredrick and Marian and latter by their younger Harriet. This was about the time we went to Europe so when last seen to my knowledge it was at Aunt Lizzie's. I have no doubt that it went on from there to service any number of other children. It couldn't wear out for it was built like an Ark

 My remembrances of the Bohnens.
(By Dennis Goodno)

Elizabeth Teuchert (my Grandmother)  died in 1940. I have some photos of her with me when I was about two (but of course I don't remember her). She lived with Fritz and Harriet until she died. After moving to California in the early 1920s  both my mother, Marian and her brother Fritz were required to work and could not finish High school. Only Harriet graduated ( but my mother and uncle Fritz both took night classes in the 1950s and got their belated diplomas. My uncle walked down the aisle to receive his and was class valedictoran but my mother stayed home. She didn't want anyone to know that she had just now completed High School!). One story I had heard about my grandmother was in love with a man and they were ready to get marry when she was 25, but when she went to the doctor for a pre-marriage check-out, the doctor told her that she had a bad heart and would not live very long! She canceled her engagement and didn't get married until 10 years later to Arthur Teuchert (10 years her junior). I have a hand written letter written by Elizabeth to her brother, Carl, March 7,1935. The family had just moved to 123 North Gramercy place in L.A. (where Marian met Bob). The letter is very difficult to read (she must have been in a very bad emotional state at the time as her previous letters in English and German had very precise handwriting) but seems to be mostly about her brother John's (Hans) recent death and funeral. She wrote about John's wife, Betty, who she said had mental problems and how she thought that John's job contributed to his death. That his luck had changed, he had lost his job in 1932 and had been out of work for a year and had lost $16,000 in the process. She wrote about how she had held both of her parents in her arms when they died.

Elizabeth has left a legacy; Marian Elizabeth Goodno (my mother), Christine Elizabeth Goodno (my sister), Jacqueline Elizabeth Goodno (my oldest daughter) and Elizabeth Mariam Goodno (my daughter). There may be others.

The only thing I remember of  Carl was that he apparently had a stroke. After that he lived with his daughter, Charlotte in L.A.  My mother said that it was such a tragedy, he had been such an alert and vital man and now he had to be treated like a baby. He died  in about 1950 in Chicago while staying with Arthur Bohnen.

I knew Uncle Al the best. He used to visit with us on Christmas. The tradition was that Uncle Al would take us kids for a walk on Christmas eve so that Santa could deliver the presents! He would bring present to us wrapped with his own hand made paper and cards. He used to bring me books. Unfortunately, when I was young, the books were too old for me and when I got older it was vice versa! My mother used to say that children made him uncomfortable. We used to visit him at his studio at Point Loma in San Diego. It was an interesting place. His studio was upstairs and the living quarters were downstairs dug into the ground. I remember a couple stories he told (he was always telling stories about the olden days). When he was a kid, probably in Meyer's Grove, one of his Halloween tricks was to place candles on turtles and turn them loose in the graveyard at night to frighten the town folks! I also recall an observation he made, when he was young, when his family went to the railroad station to greet a 30+ year old woman. The woman smiled at him. He thought to himself, "how can anyone over 30 smile!". I did not see Uncle Al after my mother died in 1958. When I returned from the Army in 1963, I heard that he was living in a rest home in Orange County, California. Unfortunately I never visited him. He died a couple of years later.

Roman Bohnen (Bud), Carl's son, was a good character actor. He started the Actor's Lab in Los Angeles, a theater group. He also played in several movies. I remember  "The Best Years Of Our Lives" with Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myna Loy and Teresa Wright. It won the best picture Oscar for 1946. He played Dana Andrews' father (in some TV reruns his part has been cut severely). I have a tape of the movie. I also remember Roman playing the old man in "Of Mice and Men" with Lon Chaney Jr..  I don't remember his wife, Hildur, she died 7/10/1941. We used to go over to Buddy's big house in Hollywood for special occasions like Thanksgiving. He had a cook/housekeeper and a small stage in his house. His daughter's name was Marina but everyone called her "Button". She was about a year older than me. One time she had a birthday party at her house, with a real magician to entertain us! The last time I saw Button was about 1955-6 when I was 18, we want to the Hollywood bowl together for a concert. I remember seeing "The Wizard Of Oz" at the Actors Lab. One Christmas it was raining when we were going someplace. Buddy carried both Button and me together out to his car. In 1949 my mother read in the papers that Buddy had died. He was in a play at the Actor's Lab when during intermission one of the cast members noticed that Buddy had dropped his cigarette while resting between acts. Upon investigating, he found that he had died of a heart attack. Years later I meet a man that said he was watching that play and had always wanted to know how the play ended! I suppose for an actor, that's the way to go.

Charlotte was Arthur and Roman's sister. She was an artist. I don't know if she every sold anything because she could never get her act together. My mother could never understand how an artist could wear such un-color coordinated clothes! She used to bring strange men over to our house to visit. She never got married. When my mother was dieing of Cancer, she would stay with us and housekepted for us kids. It didn't work out well. My sister Pat, who was about 18 at the time and Charlotte could not get along. Finally, Charlotte left. I had not seen her since my mother's death. When Arthur visited me in 1975, I asked him how she was. He responded, "with Charlotte, It's hard to say". Charlotte died in 1999.

After my father died, we made some trips to Santa Barbara to visit John's daughter, Edna. She had recently remarried to Charles Orchard. They lived on a nice property with a guest house in Montecito, a suburb of Santa Barbara. The story was that she had met her new husband on a bus. He was a rich cattleman or oil man from Colorado or some such place. They had one small son at the time. Her husband appeared to be retired and older than her. They owned Cadillac's which, according to my sister Pat, they traded in when the ashtrays were full! I remember that she showed us  color slides of flowers she had taken with her leica camera. One time we left my sisters with them so that my mother and I could go to San Francisco. When my mother was sick in the late 1950s, they loaned her $1000 (not to digress too much, but one of Fritz's girl friends also loaned my mother $1000 but wanted it back after Fritz lost interest in her!).  Per the SSDI, Edna died in Sequim, Washington, 11/5/1996.


My Known Bohnen Ancesters:

Gen. Bohnen Born Spouse Born
1 Matthias Bohnen Prussia? Annae Marie Henkel Prussia?
2 Nicholas Bohnen (1843-1911) Prussia Maria Anna Jochem (1843-1920) Prussia
3 Elizabeth Bohnen (1871-1940) PA Arthur Gustave Teuchert (1881-1965) Prussia

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