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June 12, 2021

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, May 28

25 years ago on May 23, 1996

Nobody knows Watsonville High School like Mas Hashimoto. Born at home just two blocks from the campus, he’s spent two-thirds of his life there; first as a student, then as a teacher of history and geography. He knows it like the back of his Wildcat paw, but this June, the man who taught, skied, bowled and golfed with generations of Watsonville students will retire at age 60. He began teaching in 1960, plus advised student clubs in bowling, skiing, golfing and was Powerpuff girls football coach most of those years. “I work hard to get kids involved in different activities,” Hashimoto said. “School is more than just a classroom.” While teaching history, Hashimoto sometimes shared it, says former student Cathy Ybarra. When they studied World War II, he described what it was like to spend three years as a child in a Japanese internment camp. “He told the story with no resentment, and said the action was based on fear, not discrimination.”

50 years ago on May 22, 1971

St. Francis has decided to close down its high school program next month because of declining enrollment. The Catholic school will maintain a boarding school for seventh and eighth-grade students. This year the school had 28 high school students, with 15 expected next year. Those 15 students will now attend school in Bellflower, California. The Rev. Mario Mich, in explaining why the high school students are being moved, said it has been difficult with so few students to operate the school both for financial reasons, and to maintain a staff. The high school students are seminarians, boys studying with the goal of becoming priests. After finishing at a seminary high school, a student has eleven more years of study before becoming a priest. The remaining school will be called St. Francis Residence School for seventh- and eighth-graders.

75 years ago on May 24, 1946

(Pajaronian editorial) Several hundred of our local residents have joined railroad workers across the country now idled by the national strike of coal miners, steelworkers and automobile workers. Here in Watsonville where the Southern Pacific plays an important part in our community, railroad employees are not just “railroad men” who are keeping us from traveling on trains and preventing shipments of vital goods. They are George and Bill and Joe, the fellows who live here and belong to the lodges and clubs like the rest of us. Those neighbors have helped create unions so powerful they can come close to defying the government of us all. It’s easy for some of us to say “we ought to have a law” against strikes, but not easy to say what kind of law. One thing is certain—both the unions and national government have reached the showdown point which may become a turning point in American history. If arbitration won’t work, what will?

100 years ago on May 28, 1921

A bold jewelry thief visited Watsonville early this morning and escaped with hundreds of dollars worth of loot. He kicked in the plate glass window of Herbert Rappe’s store at 317 Main St., and made away with some watches on display, but was probably frightened away by someone’s approach before he could take any jewelry. It was discovered by Officer Mann on his patrol, who called the proprietor at his home at 45 Bockius St., and contacted Chief of Police Whitsitt. The stolen property included a wristwatch studded with diamonds, $100, and six other jeweled watches, but the thief lacked time to secure more. Mr. Rappe called the Jewelers’ Security Alliance in San Francisco, and they immediately offered a reward of $100 for apprehension of the robber. This was augmented by another $100 from Mr. Rappe.


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