Jim Gregory

Jim Gregory grew up in the Upper Arroyo Grande Valley of San Luis Obispo County, California, where he began his education in a two-room schoolhouse built in 1886, which is where his interest in history began. After teaching high school history for thirty years at Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo and at his alma mater, Arroyo Grande High School, he began writing books on local history. They include World War II Arroyo Grande; Patriot Graves: Discovering a California Town’s Civil War Heritage; San Luis Obispo County Outlaws: Desperados, Vigilantes and Bootleggers; Central Coast Aviators in World War II; and Will This Be on the Test? Reflections from a History Teacher.

Updated December 2019

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The Medic: Makoto Yoshihara

I was preparing to speak to the Santa Maria Rotary Club about the Central California’s coast April World War II commemoration—the eightieth anniversary of the war, and of Japanese internment here—when I wondered if any Santa Maria Nisei had been among that town's 55 wartime casualties. My hometown, Arroyo Grande, lost 100th/442nd GI Sadami Fujita, among the nearly 1,000 casualties incurred in the rescue of the “Lost Battalion” in October 1944. Because of his surname, Makoto Yoshihara was at the bottom of Santa Maria’s list. He was actually born in Morro B…

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Lessons from Coach Sab's Generation

I had the great good fortune to speak to Mrs. Ainsworth’s class at St. Patrick’s Elementary about the 1942 “evacuation” and incarceration, in the Arizona desert, of our Japanese neighbors. This gave me one more chance to talk about a wonderful family, the Loomises. Sadly, it gave me one more chance to miss my friend, Joseph Ira Loomis, who left us five years ago. I don’t think I will ever get over missing Joe. I don’t think I’m supposed to. But it was also a wonderful opportunity to talk to young people about important things like honor and characte…

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Ancestral Ghosts, Dearest Friends

I have never met a group of people, in my sixty-five years, as gracious and generous as Japanese-Americans. I never felt anything but welcome in their homes. Moms treated me like a son. One of their sons—Larry Hirase—was, during a hard time in my life when I needed one, like a brother to me. And, thanks to the Yamaguchi sisters, I had an overwhelming and immediate passion for sushi, long before it became fashionable. I identified this wonderful food with important Japanese holidays, like the Fourth of July and Labor Day. We do not agree politically. Many in Arroyo Grand…

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