As many Elk Grove High School graduates know, Louis Silveira (Elk Grove High Supergrad, 1967) sends out regular updates to hundreds of his fellow alumni. Men and women of all ages participate, and it is a wonderful way for people to stay in touch. Recently, Louis posted a message from Peter Horikoshi, and this is what Peter said:
“Thanks for keeping us up to date with our fond friends from a special time in our lives! I wanted to share that I just finished reading a book, “We the People,” that was written by Mary Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton (who you feature from time to time in the update). This is a book about the Japanese Americans who were forced to move from their homes to incarceration camps in World War II due to racism and war hysteria. This book was published many years ago, but I just read it, and I’m glad that I did because I learned some things about my good friend Wayne Ouichida and his family. I didn’t realize how his relatives were connected, and Mary states clearly who is related and how. I also didn’t know that, unlike many Japanese American communities at that time, Florin was divided into four sections, and the four groups were sent to different places, so cousins and siblings might not know where the others ended up until later. Can you imagine how frightening that must have been? Most of the other communities, especially rural communities, were sent to the same assembly centers, temporary encampments while the permanent camps were being built.
“I also learned more about the segregated schools that existed in Florin long before my family lived there from 1958 to 1968. This was history about our own little town that I never knew when I was growing up there. I want to say that I never felt racial discrimination when we lived in Florin and when I attended Elk Grove High School.
“Can you please forward my thanks to Ms. Pinkerton for helping Mary write her story?”
I greatly appreciated this message from Peter, but I needed to know more about him. So I sent him some questions, and this is what he tells us.
“My father was a Methodist minister who was assigned to the West Tenth Methodist Church in Oakland, a historically Japanese church from 1952 to 1958. He was reassigned by the Japanese Methodist conference to the Florin Japanese Methodist Church in 1958. In 1968, the Florin Japanese Methodist Church and the Pioneer Methodist Church in Sacramento, also a historically Japanese church, merged, and the conference asked both incumbent ministers to move.
“I am the youngest of four children. My father was Rev. Yoshikazu Casper Horikoshi, born in Japan in 1910. My mother was Hisako Horikoshi, born in 1916 in Korea, which was occupied by Japan at that time. Therefore, she was a Japanese citizen. My brother is Elliot Horikoshi, born in Salem, Oregon in 1938, now a retired pharmacist, living in Danville, California. My older sister is Nancy Prather, born in 1940 in Salem, Oregon, and now retired and living in Richmond, California. They were both in college when we moved to Florin. My second oldest sister is Kathy Horikoshi, born in 1950 in Boston, Massachusetts, and she grew up with me in Florin. She is now a retired medical transcriptionist.
“I attended Florin Elementary School, and your book with Mary Tsukamoto raised a question for me. She wrote that she taught at Isabelle C. Jackson School, and I remembered that our school yearbook for the 1958-59 year included both Florin School and Jackson School. It is still unclear to me why the two schools shared a yearbook and why some students attended one or the other. I am hoping that you know the answer to that question.” Yes, Peter, the schools were connected!
“I also attended Joseph Kerr and James Rutter before attending Elk Grove High. I would have graduated from Elk Grove High in 1969 had my parents not moved from Florin. Instead, I moved to Berkeley High to live with my brother Elliot, who was 29 and had purchased a home there.
“I have been attending my class reunions recently. It’s possible that one of my classmates told me about the Update. Louie does a terrific job of keeping us up to date with everything that is going on with our friends from so many years ago.
“I am retired now and live in Alameda, Calif. I am married and have two adult sons, and my siblings all live within 45 minutes from me. My father passed away in 2001 and my mother in 2015. They both lived good long lives and were blessed with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Florin and being able to bike to friends’ houses to visit without my parents worrying about the dangers that we all must think about these days. We were not wealthy, but we had enough to eat, a parsonage to live in and good friends that remain to this day.
“Thank you for working with Mary to bring her stories to us.”
We greatly thank Peter for sharing his family history with us!
BOOKS BY ELIZABETH PINKERTON
History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold
History Happened Here, Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools
We the People, a Story of Internment in America
All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made possible the 80 scholarships with each one $1,000 – make your check for books payable to Laguna Publishers and send to me at 9227 Lamprey Drive, Elk Grove, CA 95624. Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one book; $5 for 2-3 books. Call me at (916) 685-0606 or email me at email@example.com. Books are also available at the Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse.