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December 5, 2023

This week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, Feb. 26

Compiled by Steve Bankhead

25 years ago on  Feb. 23, 1996

A 13-member delegation from Watsonville’s sister city Kawakami, Japan began a whirlwind tour here of our lettuce industry. The lettuce industry began in Japan during the U.S. occupation after World War II when a mess sergeant planted seeds to provide salad for his troops. Japanese farmers decided to adopt the crop, and now want to study our methods. Yesterday they visited Dick Peixoto’s farm to observe his tractors, automatic seeders and laser ground levelers. They also visited Nob Hill Market where the committee viewed vegetable displays and packaging, including individual plastic wrapped heads of lettuce—unavailable in Kawakami. Tour leader, Mayor Ann Soldo also escorted the group to Gottschalk’s where they did some “serious shopping.” Mayor Soldo said many things are much cheaper here than in Japan. The delegation next visits Yuma, Ariz., to view spring lettuce production. 

50 years ago on Feb. 24, 1971

A Watsonville High School junior has been accepted in the Americans Abroad program. Jean Sakata, daughter of Me. and Mrs. Tommy Sakata, was notified Monday her application in the American Field Service-sponsored program had been accepted. Her destination has not yet been revealed. In another AFS event, a tea and reception will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Orr at 332 East Beach St., to honor Japanese exchange student Keiko Maeda, who is taking classes in Tracy, Calif., but is being entertained in Watsonville while participating in “Exchange Week” programs. She is also attending Watsonville High School classes as part of the International exchange program which brings foreign students from one city to another for a broader based educational experience. There’s also a newly formed AFS Club at Aptos High School with O’Brien Riordan serving as its advisor.

75 years ago on Feb. 26, 1946

Edward R. (Ed) Ferguson who has spent 78 of his 83 years in the Pajaro Valley came to the Pajaronian editor’s office recently wanting to know: 1. Is there anyone else here who went on that memorial’s first Southern Pacific train trip from Watsonville Junction to Sargent Station in 1872. 2. Is there any other local who used to drive oxen teams in logging operations 65 years ago? Ed was born at the Big Tree Ranch above Zayante after his parents crossed the plains in an ox wagon, and he can still remember how grizzly bears used to roam all over that area. Moving south to the Green Valley area when he was only 4 years old when his family moved to the Green Valley district on their purchased land, it was covered thickly with willows. He’s worked all his adult years, mostly in logging and more recently in Charlie Merrill’s cigar store. His invitation is open for anyone old enough to exchange such memories.

100 years ago on Feb. 24, 1921 

Lake School observed Community Day in a very pleasant and profitable manner, beginning with lunch for the seventy people attending. The program opened with exercises presented by students based on their daily school work, with patriotic singing and speaking, including several original compositions on Washington and Lincoln. Pleasing dramatizations and readings followed, while some rapid arithmetic and map drills, and an old-fashioned spelling bee closed the visiting hours. The men spent the afternoon making improvements around the school and yard, which resulted in a new fence, some added playground apparatus, and improvements on the inside of the school. The trustees, C. T. Faucett, M. V. Howard and R. Stewart expressed their gratification over the excellent response shown by the school district community.

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