For me, the journey to write this book came to me one evening, a few years ago. My brother Gordon, also known as "Butchie", came to visit me. I was startled to see him, because he was a former soldier, stationed in West Germany.
"Hey, Sis," he said. "I'm here with Mom and Pop. They came to get me."
"What are you talking about, Butchie?" I asked. "They came to get you?"
"I have to go, Sis. You're in charge of the family now. Francine ... you can do everything. It will be okay, I know it will."
My brother's voice began slowly fading as he talked. "Bye, Sis. I love you. Take care of the family ..."I could feel him hugging me, as my heart was getting heavy with tears. I realized I was yelling to my brother, "Butchie, don't leave me." As his voice trailed off, I awoke slowly, becoming aware of the room around me. I felt the warmth of the covers, the softness of the pillow, the sound of the air conditioner running on this warm morning in mid-June. I had spent the night far east of the air base - we were on Air Mobility Wing night operations.
I tried to shake the sleep from my brain as I made my way to the kitchenette to fix some breakfast. I was still puzzled from my brother's "visit" the night before when the telephone in the room rang 30 minutes later. It was a family friend calling to notify me that my brother, Gordon L. Reynolds had passed away in his sleep an hour ago in Yorkshire, England. As I hung up the phone, memories flooded through my consciousness. My most recent memory was with my brother in England, when I visited him in his hospital room. We took communion together from the hospital priest. Now Butchie was gone, his last words echoing through my mind.
"You're in charge now, Sis. Take care of the family. I know you can do it."
That was the moment I decided to tell my family's story. The story is here on these pages.
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