April 20, 2002
March 12, 2003
Zachary is Born
April 5, 2003
First Baseball Game
June 21, 2003
Attends Mom and Dad's Wedding
August 27, 2003
Starts School at Berkeley with Dad
In the fall of 2003, five-month-old Zachary and his father begin attending college together. Zachary attends UC Berkeley's Infant Toddler Center and Clark Kerr Preschool over the course of his time at the University, while his father, Frank, finishes his BA, MA, and begins his PhD across campus in Wheeler Hall.
Zachary is spotted frequently at student hang-outs like Cafe Milano, Yogurt Park, and Memorial Glade. On a few occasions, Zachary attends lectures on campus, sleeping in his stroller, when daycare was closed and dad had to take him to school. (Photos are not from 2003.)
December 25, 2003
Baby's First Christmas
March 12, 2004
Oatmeal was on the breakfast menu. . .
June 22, 2004
First Dodgers-Giants Game
September 11, 2004
First College Football Game
California beats New Mexico State, 41-14, at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Zachary watched the game from the Student Section because his dad was then an undergrad at Cal. He suffered a mild sunburn (dads are bad about remembering sunscreen) and had a diaper change under a tree behind the stadium.
October 1, 2004
November 20, 2004
First Big Game
March 12, 2005
March 20, 2005
First Airplane Ride
Zachary's first flight is to Cincinnati, Ohio. He visits his Great Grandma Philhower and his Great Grandpa Philhower. The flight is very pleasant, right until the end. Zach's notorious penchant for motion sickness eventually catches up with him and he gets sick right before the plane touches down! Great Grandma greets him with her collection of Tickle Me Elmos piled high on the couch in her living room (Elmo is a passion they both share). During this trip, Zachary and his parents also take a drive to Columbus, Ohio to visit the zoo.
March 12, 2006
June 9, 2006
Movie Premier: Disney/Pixar Cars
Zachary spends almost an entire year anticipating the theatrical release of Disney/Pixar's Cars. In the months leading up to the debut, he watches the trailer constantly on the Internet and on his dad's iPod. The family purchases tickets for opening night in advance. Zachary's anticipation builds leading up to the premier. On Friday, June 9th, 2006, after preschool, Zachary heads to the theater with his parents to finally meet Lightening McQueen and his friends. His favorite part of the movie is when Mater takes Lightening cow tipping. Cars bedsheets are soon on his bed and with the help of his Papa Dave, Zachary begins collecting Cars toys. Like kids all over the world, Zach has fallen in love with the film.
June 17, 2006
Road Trip to Missouri
December 22, 2006
First Trip to Disneyland
March 12, 2007
August 20, 2007
Learns to Swim
September 13, 2007
Cousin Moves to Berkeley
By Frank Cruz
My first-cousin Barbara came to study business at Haas in Berkeley in 2007. I was very proud of her. Her son, Jeremy, was just a year older than Zachary. As luck would have it, Jeremy and Barbara moved into the same apartment complex where we lived. And so these two "cousins" were neighbors for the rest of Zachary's life (we called them cousins, and Zachary called Barbara his Aunt). Jeremy and Zachary were best friends. Together, we went trick or treating and we had sleep overs. I'm proud of my cousin Barbara for her academic achievements and I'm happy that we were able to have these years together. I know that having his cousin next door brought so much joy to Zachary's life.
November 23, 2007
Thanksgiving Tahoe Vacation
March 1, 2008
First Year of Little League
March 12, 2008
March 29, 2008
Zachary Helps Set a Guinness World Record!
On this day, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers played a spring training game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 115,300 people (including 1 Zachary, 1 Dad, and 1 Uncle John Spargur) are in attendance. This crowd sets a new Guinness World Record for attendance at a baseball game. The previous record of 114,000 was in the 1956 Summer Olympics at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
For the Dodgers, who were celebrating their 50th season in Los Angeles, this day, the game marked a return to the venue they called home from 1958 to '61. The team moved into Dodger Stadium in 1962.
April 4, 2008
First Counting Crows Concert
By Frank Cruz
One day after work, I was sitting with a friend at the Bear's Lair at UC Berkeley, having a beer. It was a beautiful spring afternoon and so we sat outside. The Bear's Lair is in Lower Sproul Plaza. The bustle of Telegraph Avenue is close enough to hear. Undergrads scurry back and forth across the plaza, heading to and fro at all hours of the day and night. Between sips of Newcastle, something strange caught my eye. A small army of men were moving a baby grand piano to a stage in the shadow of Old Eschelman Hall. The campus hosted live music there every Friday, so only thing really weird about this sight was that some unknown indie rock band was bringing a BABY GRAND PIANO to play a free show on campus. It was then I noticed that a Hammond B3 organ--a beautiful vintage American instrument made in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, that weighs more than 300 pounds--was also on stage. I walked over to someone coordinating the set up and asked, "Who's playing?" But I already knew.
It was Counting Crows, and they were playing an unannounced, free show for the annual spring concert. The band rocketed to international stardom in the '90s when "Mr. Jones," surprisingly, jangled its way past the darker sounds then dominating rock radio and into the hearts of listeners who were perhaps ready for something that could match the emotional depth of Seattle's scene but without the cultural and sonic clichés that were, even in the early '90s, attendant to grunge music. As that sentence probably suggests, I'm a big fan of Counting Crows. I was introduced to them by my dad while driving around L.A. with him in his big Buick Skylark. Later, in high school, I went to see them in concert four or five times on a single tour. They were my favorite band for a long, long time and I still think that huge blocks of their work are amazing pieces of pop music. (True story: I am writing this on 20 Sept 2015. And this very evening I will go to see Counting Crows play a show at Concord Pavilion!)
So as a big nerd, of course I knew that lead singer Adam Duritz had deep roots in Berkeley, had studied English at Cal, and that the band was founded in the Bay Area. Adam's connection to the University these days is mostly via his love of Cal Athletics. He is a regular fixture on the sidelines at Cal Football games. I can talk for hours about Counting Crows.
I was giddy. I called everyone I knew like I was Paul Revere: "Counting Crows are coming!" I was so excited. I practically ran to Zachary's daycare, signed him out early, and together we went back to Lower Sproul Plaza, where we were joined by my cousins, Kevin and Barbara, and my wife.
Before the show, all the band members were milling around, talking to family and friends, signing things for fans, posing for pictures, relaxed and in their element--having a good time! They took the stage around 6 pm to a huge crowd and played a wonderful show for all those lucky enough to be there that day. Zachary was one of those people. It was his first big rock and roll concert. It was his last big rock and roll concert. And it was my favorite band! As Zachary ate a hot dog and danced along to "Mr. Jones," I tried to take it all in.
I remember very clearly, as the band played "A Long December" this feeling that I needed to record one particular line from that song on my digital camera. So I did:
"I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass. . ."
May 16, 2008
Stars in "Goodnight Gorilla"
May 16, 2008
Graduates from Clark Kerr Preschool
August 8, 2008
Zachary Meets Manny
Zachary arrives to AT&T Park early this evening to what would be his last baseball game in San Francisco. He is excited to see the Dodgers newly acquired left fielder, Manny Ramirez. From the left field line, while Los Angeles takes batting practice, Zachary chants, "Let's go Manny! Let's go!" From video of that day, it appears that Ramirez looks over, perhaps smiles, nods his head, and relays a ball back to the cut off man. To Zachary's delight, the Dodgers beat the Giants 6-2.
August 17, 2008
Becomes a Big Brother
August 27, 2008
First Day of Elementary School
December 1, 2008
Receives Student of the Month Award
October 4, 2008
Attends Dodgers Sweep of Cubs to Clinch NLDS
Zachary attends Game 3 of the National League Division Series in Los Angeles, California. Accompanied by his father, and two grandfathers (pictured below), Zach enjoys hot dogs and popcorn in the Right Field "All You Can Eat Pavilion" while he watches his new favorite baseball player, Manny Ramirez, lead the Dodgers to the series sweep. This was the last baseball game Zachary would attend. The following season, his family attended several games at Dodger Stadium in Zachary's honor, including the 2009 playoffs, once again sitting in Right Field.
November 22, 2008
Storms the Field at the Big Game
By Frank Cruz
This is a great memory, and I have to tell it in first person. I have been a Golden Bear fan since I started college at Berkeley in 2003. And while I got my bachelor and masters degrees, I had my son Zachary with me. We went to games, and rallys, and fan appreciation days together. He was a Golden Bear, through and through. When I'd go to a football game without him, he'd be waiting for me when I got home. I take sports losses pretty hard. One time, after a particularly tough loss to Stanfurd in the Big Game, Zach said, "Dad, I know you're sad because Cal lost. But it's okay. We'll win next time." He was adorable.
When the Big Game was in Berkeley, I would take the whole family to California Memorial Stadium and we would enjoy the festivities together. We'd all get dressed up and we'd cheer for the Bears as a family. This particular Big Game was just months after Miles had been born. But I see no reason why 3 month old babies can't go to football too, so once again (for the last time, in fact) the whole family went to a game.
So much of it is lost to my memory now. So much of it is just average stuff: buying concessions, snapping photos, finding our seats, the insignificant details of the game (sports are not about sports). But some things, I am thankful, I will never forget.
I remember that the baby was fussy so my wife took him home early. Zachary and I stayed though. And as the clock wound down to 0:00, and the Golden Bear victory was secured, the Student Section stormed the field. I stood on the bench at my end-zone seat and picked Zachary up, so he could watch the sea of people flood the green grass of Memorial Stadium. He looked at me and said, "Can we do that?" Of course, I told him! "Do you want to?" I asked. It was a silly question: "Yes," he whispered to me, breathlessly.
I carried Zach down to the field and helped him climb onto the field. The crowd was jubilant but no where near belligerent. We gave strangers high fives and hugs. Several fathers congratulated me on my obviously strong parenting skills. We rubbed shoulders with football players and we took this picture at the 20 yard line. Such a small moment. One I hope I never forget.
January 20, 2009
Joins Record Breaking Crowd at UC Berkeley for Historic Inauguration
By Christopher Dixon, Zachary's Uncle
The morning was cold and Zach was bundled up and excited. He was a big fan of Obama and was happy to be part of the massive crowd gathered on Sproul. He had been rooting for him, almost campaigning for him, the whole election season. Zachary even wanted his brother Miles to be named Obama! He was also happy to be hanging out with his Dad, baby Miles, and me. We all squeezed in towards the back of the massive crowd and watched as Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th POTUS.
February 22, 2009
Reads a Book On His Own
By Frank Cruz
Zachary was really beginning to take off as a reader by the beginning of his second semester of kindergarten. He was tentative with the words, but he was figuring it out. Since he was a baby, Jodie had read to him every night, before she would sing him to sleep. She has always been wonderful about reading to the boys. And we had books everywhere in the house--I am a student and teacher of English literature, after all. Zach knew, just from the environment he grew up in, that reading was important in our family. We taped up his "sight words" on the bathroom wall, next to the toilet, so he could practice while he was in there. Because, all joking aside, Zachary would spend A LOT OF TIME on the toilet every day. . .
This picture means so much to me as a father. It was taken in the living room of our Berkeley apartment just a few days before Zachary was taken from us. It was a rainy weekend and baby Miles was still pretty new, so we weren't going to brave the weather. I'll never forget the title of this book: "That Bad, Bad Cat."
Zachary and I laid down together on the living room floor and he read this book to me. Every single word. It took a little longer than I would have liked. And a few times I had to help him join sounds together to make meaning. But he did it! I was filled with pride. I cried as I listened to my son read on his own for the first time.
February 27, 2009
Zachary is Killed
By Frank Cruz
Zachary's day began with the Beatles. When I went in his room to wake him up for school, I pressed play on the cassette deck by his bed and the Beatles #1s came from the small speaker. I don't remember exactly, but I think it might have been "Penny Lane" or "Get Back."
We had a "smooth morning": any parent of young kids knows what I mean by that. We weren't late, we weren't stressed, we weren't fighting over little things like teeth or breakfast. Jodie sat on the couch nursing baby Miles (6 months old) and Zachary and I got ready for school. While I brushed my teeth, I heard him laugh with his mother. He kissed his mom and his baby brother. Zachary said goodbye. And we walked to the parking lot of our apartment.
The day was gorgeous. I imagine most places feel clean and new after a good rain, but the angle of the rising sun on this day, the hills in Berkeley, pleased with the moisture the sky had given them, the chilly February air, the whispy white clouds over head: everything combined perfectly and I remember feeling all of these things as I held Zachary's hand and walked to our car. Today was going to be a beautiful day.
We drove to the bus stop and together, we waited for the school bus. Did I hug him before he got on the bus that day? Did we kiss? I don't remember, and that's painful to admit. I remember we said I love you. I remember helping him take the first big step onto the bus. And I remember he turned and waved goodbye. He left for school and I left for work--my PhD--nearby at UC Berkeley.
I was in a lunch meeting with my faculty advisor when my cell phone rang. I ignored it but it rang again. This time I answered and a man said, "Mr. Cruz. This is the Berkeley Police Department. I have bad news. Zachary has been in an accident."
The call, the wait for the police car, the drive to the scene. A few moments. A lifetime. I was overwhelmed and shaking; I couldn't control my breathing and I didn't know what to do. I asked the police officer who sat in the driver's seat: "Is he okay? Are we going to the hospital? If we are going to the hospital, he is okay. If we don't go to the hospital then it is not okay." She simply replied, "I'm sorry, sir. We are almost there."
We didn't go to the hospital. Instead, we stopped right outside of Zachary's after-school care center, which was called K2, on Warring Street. Thinking of it now (and this isn't a canned story--I'm writing it from memory the best I can today, in 2015)--I recall that everything looked strange. This is because I was in shock. Also because the traffic was stopped due to the accident. The police weren't letting anyone through. In contrast to that stillness, the police car I was sitting in kept moving forward toward a white tent in the middle of the road.
When the car stopped, they made me sit down on the steps of an apartment complex. A police officer and a police counselor introduced themselves to me. They said words like instantly, no pain, didn't suffer, gone.
"Where is he? I mean, where is his body? Can I go see him? I want to go see him?"
"He's over there, inside that tent, just while we finish the investigation. No sir, it wouldn't be a good idea for you to see him like this. We are taking care of him. I promise, we'll take care of him for you now."
I remember I made them promise me again. He was alone there, all alone, and that frightened me. I remember feeling like a coward for not disobeying the police officers and running over to my son. Sometimes, I still think I was.
Later, we went and talked to his teacher and principal. They told us Zachary had a great day at school that Friday. Nothing out of the usual. He was happy and well behaved. He played at recess. His last day was a good one.
Our last morning was beautiful.
I know that we said, "I love you."
As evening slowly arrived on that first day, my neighbor Duncan took bagpipes up to the hillside outside of our apartment and played the pipes for Zachary. Duncan said it was too hard to sit in his house and hear to the sound of the TV news helicopters hovering over the scene of the accident, just a few blocks away from where we lived.
Read More: What Happened?
February 28, 2009
Roadside Memorial Created
March 7, 2009
Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, 5400 Valentine Road, Ventura, CA: The view from Zachary's grave, looking west toward the Pacific Ocean.
March 9, 2010
March Named Zachary Cruz Pedestrian Safety Month in Berkeley
October 25, 2010
Zachary Michael Cruz Foundation Established
December 8, 2010
"Zachary's Corner" Sign Appears
Read More: About Zachary's Corner
January 15, 2012
First Annual Zachary Cruz Memorial Scholarship Awarded at UC Berkeley
Read More: Berkeley Mom Wins Inaugural Scholarship (via ZMCFoundation)
June 10, 2014
Zachary Honored by Graduating Class at Le Conte
During 5th grade promotion at Le Conte Elementary School in Berkeley, where Zachary attended kindergarten from 2008-2009, one young graduate said, into the mic: “Today is for Zachary, too." These awesome kids were his friends in kindergarten and they say they always will be. In the front row, on stage with these 11 and 12 year olds, Zachary's one and only school picture was placed, along with a bouquet of flowers. The principal led the audience in a moment of silence for their missing friend.
Read More: http://zacharyscorner.tumblr.com/post/88445101252/... (Original post via Tumblr)
August 26, 2014
Zachary Becomes a Big Brother For a Second Time
November 1, 2014
Dad's Band Releases Vinyl LP for Día de los Muertos, Dedicated to Zachary
September 21, 2015
Redesigned Memorial Site Blasts Off!
Inspired by Zachary's creativity and love of the Solar System, a completely redesigned version of ZacharyMichaelCruz.com is launched. Designed and coded by Brian Espinosa and re-branded as ZacharysCorner.com, the new site features fun space characters, hidden games, an interactive timeline, and a collection of art, poems, and more that have been created in Zachary's honor.
Great Aunt Lauren's Tattoo
Such a wonderful site! Since I only knew Zachary as a little baby; sitting in the back of Frank's Kia with Rage Against the Machine blasting. This is such a great insight to see what a wonderful little man he grew into. My heart has been touched.
Risa - September 22, 2015