Thursday, November 12, 2015


Eda's Premium Hard Candies, aka "Yumbos"
Mention Yumbos to any of the countless students who learned their way through Paideia's elementary school, and eyes light up.   Many years ago, legendary 4th/5th grade teacher Peter Richards discovered "Eda's Sugarfree Candies" at the DeKalb Farmer's Market. He and other teachers gave out the candies, renamed "Yumbos" (a much more exciting name for 10-year-olds) as treats for exemplary work.

Peter being Peter (for one of his class' annually assigned projects, each student had to research the history of a company of choice), he naturally needed to know more about this mysterious "Eda" and her candies.   An article he researched and wrote, "Yumbos: History of a Confectionary Reward," appeared in the May 2014 issue of the Paideia Newsletter.

A former 4th grader, with Yumbo and book.
Just recently Peter, who retired in 2014, sent a gigantic bag of Yumbos, along with Eda Lehman's autobiography.  Since Peter's last students are now working their way through junior high and high school, I announced "Yumbos in the Library!" at Monday Morning Meeting this week.   The book, Eda's Story: A Memoir  and a bowl of Yumbos are out on the circulation desk.  High school students all week have asked about them, browsed the book (some quite thoroughly -- it's pretty short), and enjoyed a Yumbo or two.  Some students reminisce about their favorite color, while some students are newly introduced to the treat.  

Click the page image to download Peter's article as it appeared in the newsletter.

There's an interesting coda to the story -- while I was doing some quick research to see if Eda Lehman is still living (and discovered that she celebrated a birthday last February), I found that Eda's youngest sister Ruth, long believed killed in the Holocaust, may have survived and possibly immigrated to America. It doesn't seem that the family ever made contact with her, but you can read about that chapter of the Konigstein family's story here.

You just never know what's going to happen when you open a giant bag of sugarfree candies.

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