Does a good man’s life end at his death?
The answer for daughter Lisa Reinicke was, “No.” Her father was known by many names: Buster, Bill, Billy, Dad, and the Football Flyboy. His deeds, no matter how small, should be passed down to family, friends, and anyone looking for inspiration, and life-lessons from one who worked, lived and part of the Greatest Generation. The Football Flyboy was young, newlywed and a pilot in WWII. He was a good man.
One weekend morning, she determined that his spirit should not stay silent just because his mouth could no longer speak words. “I open my dad’s old air force footlocker - still solid, battleship grey, weathered, and a little rough from travel and age. His name is in white lettering on the front: First Lt William R Cannon.”
What she discovered were yellowed envelopes bound in twine - hundreds of them - that her father had written to her mother. Letters written daily during the last year of WWII and received by his bride. Her daily letters disappeared - only three times during the year, did the “mailman” catch up with him and teased with just a few of the hundreds.
“Before reaching inside, there was a feeling of the hands of time grabbing onto my heart, knowing that this was such a huge part of not only his life but my mom’s as well.”
Meet Bill “Buster” Cannon, the Football Flyboy … a good man with a good life who made a difference.
Lisa Reinicke is the majority holder of Our House Publications and author of 4 published children’s picture books for sale on Amazon and independent book stores. Lisa was honored with the Mom's Choice Gold Award for lifetime literary excellence for her children's book "Wings and Feet in 2017. She is a storyteller and author of 35 children’s stories appearing on local TV shows, elementary schools, and bookstores. The stories have been published in 3 collective recordings for distribution for A Goodnight Sleep Company. She also produced online (virtual) training for service advisors and technicians. Lisa served as head writer and on-camera talent in the videos. Her books are entertaining yet focus on social issues that engage children and parents to discuss. Her four children were all uniquely different ranging from physical differences, adoption, and physiological disorders that lead her following experts in each field to help children overcome the stigma around being different.
Lisa passionately works raising money for charities that improve children’s lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
For all their fights and squabbles- Ruby did love her brother.
Sept 15, 1943
Dear “Little One”
Please forgive my negligence about writing- it won’t happen again.
Your news was good news! . Naturally, we all are probably a bit sad about the little brother getting married but the general attitude among the Cannon family is one of absolute approval.
For myself I can only say that Mary Jo is as near what I want for a sister-in-law as possible.
Just this one and only time- I want to tell you that I think my brother is far above the average boy!! Mentally, physically, and morally. Maybe I’m prejudiced, but we have always trusted your good sense and inherent homestay. Those two factors together with a sense of humor and lots of faith in the future are as much security as any of us can ask in the chaos of this war.
Of course, being an old maid, I am equipped to advise you on “how to make a happy marriage,” so don’t take advice from the other kids- ask me!
For my part, I say “lead with the heart”- and the devil take the behind.
The lecture is over, you can wake up now.
The best of luck, honey, to both of you. Take care and be happy.
Football Flyboy: First Lt. Bill Cannon, Piloting More than His Own Aircraft
From the day he was born the whole family has been “dancing to his tune.” I was the only holdout! Mother used to say he was her best child. My answer to that was “of course he was because no one ever crossed him, he had his own way about everything.”