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.
In the backseat of the car, I could hear the "thump" as the tires navigated the road. Darkness encompassed the vehicle. Stars scattered out the window. Grandma next to me spoke, interrupting a daydream. "I remember when your dad was little. We drove to town in an old wagon with horses. Your Auntie Rube fell off of the back of the wagon. I didn't know she was gone until we arrived in town."
My curiosity perked. I looked at Grandma, wanting to know more about her life; more conversation. I listened with my ears, watching her face in the dark as expressions changed. Our shoulders touched, sitting alongside one another in the back seat.
Sterile stories online leave our ears silent, our eyes expressionless. Our body escapes the warmth of touch.
Computerized stored forever in a cyber abyss; Grandma can enter tidbits onto the screen. Who will read her recollections; pass down historical genetics?
Technology creates a memory forever available, but cannot connect emotionally.
I want both. Digitally saving memories and the warmth of personal interaction. Sharing stories in person with my family and others will cross over the lines of new and old cementing our family history existence.
Limiting cold interactions on screens and increasing human connections will give our stories eternal life and meaning.
Football Flyboy: First Lt. Bill Cannon, Piloting More than His Own Aircraft
We need old people to be the storytellers. The stories must continue from the early days. These stories help ground younger generations and give them purpose. The young don’t even realize what is handeddown to them. Somehow the family history absorbs into them without them realizing it.