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Letters to the Editor, July 9, 2019

To the Editor,

I am writing to recognize local resident and businesswoman Sonja Escalante, who is retiring after decades of service to the Watsonville community.

As the long-time owner of the local bridal shop A Touch of Elegance, Sonja has been a part of the special celebrations in many of our lives. She has outfitted thousands of local residents with elegant gowns and tuxedos for weddings, quinceaneras, first communions, proms, and other formal events. The shop, which has been in business over 50 years, is closing at the end of this month.

Sonja is a longtime friend of our family. I have always admired her tremendous work ethic and tenacity. She experienced severe hardship during her youth as an internal refugee in Germany during World War II before immigrating to the US as a young woman. When she arrived in Watsonville, she worked in local restaurants and shops, including A Touch of Elegance, before purchasing the business. When the Main Street location of the shop was devastated by the Loma Prieta earthquake 30 years ago, she gathered all the inventory she could rescue from the building and re-opened on the corner of Brennan Street and East Lake, where she has been in business since.

When driving through town, I always enjoyed the colorful seasonal displays of gowns in her shop window. Even more fun was to see Sonja, whether I was looking for a special occasion dress or just stopping in for a visit. Her upbeat personality and genuine interest in others were some of the reasons for her long-term success as a small business owner.

Now entering retirement in her mid-80s, I wish Sonja all the best during this new chapter of her life. Thank you, Tante Sonja, for all the service you have given our community over the years and for bringing more than just a touch of elegance to downtown Watsonville.

—Brooke Sampson, Watsonville

To the Editor,

Cheers to The Pajaronian for their move to downtown Watsonville and their return to their previous name.

Perhaps I am dating myself, but I remember a field trip to the Register-Pajaronian offices and print shops on East Lake Avenue. The hot lead type machine made quite an impression. The noise of the presses and bindery operations fierce.

Little did I know that I would spend most of my life as a printer—an honorable American profession since the days of Benjamin Franklin (that’s right, the non-president on the $100 dollar bill.)

It seems like a homecoming for The Pajaronian, with local ownership and a presence downtown. Best of luck to a great local paper.

—Dave Miller, Watsonville

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