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.
I have two of these old footlockers. Inside is where I found all the old letters that Dad wrote home.
Things has changed so much in just 60 years. These lockers empty weight at least 25 pounds on their own. Imagine that they could only carry 125 pounds by air and also that the owner of the footlocker couldn't carry it by themselves. It would take two men to carry belongings to load and unload the lockers.
What is interesting is that there isn't anymore said about lockers in any of the letters. Dad constantly flew so that mail could never catch up with him so it is a mystery where his locker actually went to base. He moved locations every couple of days and there is nothing noted in any letter where his belongings would be.
Now we see our soldiers carrying all their belonging on their back in canvas bags and backpacks.
Football Flyboy: First Lt. Bill Cannon, Piloting More than His Own Aircraft
I drew an Army B-4 bag, another canvas bag, and a muster bag and a mess gear bag. There were all kinds of flying cloths and equipment. We are sending our footlockers over by water because we can’t carry but 125 lbs by air. We got a new type of parachute and it is a good one. We also got our life preserver, in case to keep us up to float in the water, and a swell walk out kit with everything in it to survive if you have to crash land and have to walk out.