[Previously Published May 6, 2010 to honor my brother Police Officer Avon Edward Wilson.]
With a lot of sand still in my eyes, I sit to write about my evening with my brother retired police officer Avon Edward Wilson. After 39 years, distinctive years I may add, my brother Eddie, to the delight of my mother, siblings, aunt, uncle and cousins, has come to the end of his police career. During these years I rarely saw my brother with the exception of a family function; Christmas, Thanksgiving, Funerals and an occasional family picnic. On August 3, 2008 I had the honor of having my brother escort me down the isle of my wedding and give me away.
We are two of seven children; five in the first marriage (William Douglas, Avon Edward, me, Eric Owen, and Lisa Ann) and two from my father’s second (January Nicole and Paul Owen). Dougie and Eddie were always called by their middle name. I am really happy that did not carry over to me otherwise I would be Marie. I don’t feel like a Marie. They actually called me ‘Skinny Minnie’ because I was a stick until I reached my thirties.
I always loved my brother Eddie a little more than the others. I think we all have one favorite sibling. He was popular, athletic and kind. I remember in July 1967 when Eddie enlisted in the Air Force, I had just begun work at Bell Telephone as an information operator; now known as directory assistant or just 411. I couldn’t concentrate on my training session because my heart was broken. “My brother is going to war,” I cried when my trainer noticed I was upset. My supervisor not only allowed me to leave early that day, they sent me to the airport in a cab to see my brother off. I remember the happy farewell we gave him as we sent him on his way. You have to understand those times. Vietnam was heating up and a lot of the operator’s sons, brothers, boyfriends, and husbands were also going to war.
The Lord blessed Eddie and our family. Eddie didn’t go to Vietnam, but served his four years in San Antonio, Texas; Libya, North Africa; Topeka, Kansas and finally Fort Worth, Texas. While in the service he finished first in his class in canine training and received honors as a Canine Handler in 1969 and again received honors in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1970. In 1971 Eddie returned home and joined the Philadelphia Police Department.
While reading his dedication from last night’s program, I also learned that over the years he served as Uniform Patrol and Burglary Detail and made a total of 1,500 arrests. In 1987 he was assigned to Reports Control Unit; in 1988 the Police Detention Unit; and finally in 1990 the Mobile Crime Detection Unit now known as the Crime Scene Unit.
In 1984, I remember the call that Eddie had been shot by a sniper while on surveillance. There was another incident while chasing a suspect, he stepped down on his foot and ripped his achilles heel. How blessed he has been to work as hard as he has and come through with only two injuries.
I write this now, because usually you read these accolades in an obituary. I pray that Eddie has many, many healthy years of retirement. Of course, I know that he won’t just sit on the front porch of the home that we were raised, but together we will be writing his books and developing programs.
One of the most incredible gifts that my brother received last night was to find out that his picture is on the cover of “The Encyclopedia of Crime Unit Investigation.” Incredible!
We need role models for our children. How about your family? Don’t wait until sitting at a funeral to get to know your family. Don’t wait until they put together a family reunion to find out about your ancestory. Now that my brother has retired I look to spending many hours of us getting to know each other better. It’s never to late.
After all I am only half way through my journey.
We were always close as children but as adults we grow apart because of his job. It took up his life.
In the far left picture is my family in the 60’s minus my dad who was out golfing. My mom placed one of his trophies on the fireplace behind us so that he was represented in the picture. I am seated in the center to my mom’s right, then my sister Lisa, Avon (Eddie is what I called him.), Doug, and Eric.
In the next picture, I was honored to have my brother walk me down the aisle when I married Willie in August 3, 2008.
Relationships are so important. Especially as we get older. I made it a point to forgive those who hurt me; keep in my life those who really mattered to me and let go those who didn’t value me.