The William Cruz Collection (Class of Winter 1950)
William Cruz collected an amazing assortment of photographs, news articles, yearbooks and other artifacts from Garfield and the East Los Angeles area. It is now at the Garfield Library and is on display here on this website.
William’s parents Jose and Anastasia emigrated from Mexico sometime in 1922 along with William’s older sister, Graciela. William was born in 1930 in California followed by his younger sister, Carmen, two years later.
William grew up in the East Los Angeles area, first on Record Drive just a block north of today’s Esteban Torres High School and later just two blocks west of today’s Obregon Park. William attended Garfield High School, participating in basketball and graduating with the Winter Class of 1950. His wife Annie Gomez, lived near the corner of Lanfranco Street and Rowan Avenue, next to Rowan Elementary School. She graduated from Garfield with the Winter Class of 1952.
Here is their story:
"Our father, William Cruz, graduated from Garfield High School in Winter 1950. Our mother, Annie (Gomez) Cruz, also went to Garfield and graduated in Winter 1952. Our parents didn't actually meet at Garfield, but through our dad's sister, who also was a friend our our mom's. As a favor to her friend, Annie became Willie's pen pal, while he was in the air Force. He was stationed in Alaska during the Korean War. They fell in love and married in 1954.
Our dad retired in the mid-1980's, after 35 years as a sheet metal worker. He started going to breakfast, once a month in Montebello, with a few other Garfield alumni and Belvedere alumni. My family and I referred to them as, "The Breakfast Club." Our father enjoyed reminiscing with his buddies so much that he began taking his yearbooks to the breakfast. In time, other members began bringing him their yearbooks, pictures, class photos, etc. Our dad would ask the club member if they had siblings, or wives who also went to Garfield, and if they did, the members would bring in different class pictures or yearbooks to the club. Thus, began a project that my dad thoroughly enjoyed. He was so proud of the unofficial title of "Historian" for his Breakfast Club!
Sadly, my father was diagnosed with dementia about 9 years ago. He stopped going to his "Breakfast Club." He now lives in La Verne in an assisted memory-care home. After more than 60 years, our mother has sold their home in Monterey Park so that she may live closer to her husband, and her children.
William Cruz may not remember his family, or his friends very much these days, but I think my father would be very happy to know that all the pictures and yearbooks he collected from his fellow Garfield alumni, have found their way back home where they belong . . . at Garfield High School."
From the Family of William and Annie Cruz
May 24, 2019
Senior's Camera Day, Belvedere Junior High
Class of Winter 1947
Veterans Groups from East Los Angeles