For eight years a local resident has been compiling a book to make sure her husband’s creative spirit lives on.
Betsy Reese Grant has published “The Adventures of Point-man Palmer in Vietnam.” The book is compilation of cartoons by and a biography of her husband, Vernon.
When Vernon died in 2006, Grant began going through the large collection of art he had left behind. Vernon had been a cartoonist during his 10-year military stint, publishing multiple books from military cartoons in his early life and science fiction later.
“I thought when he passed away, ‘I really want to put this out again.’” Grant said. “It’s his legacy to the world. There’s some beautiful art here. People will enjoy seeing it, and I think his sense of humor is one of his great gifts.”
The namesake, and most prominent character in the book, is Point-man Palmer. A normal military grunt, a snafu leads Palmer into Marine camp, Ranger training and other unexpected military operations. When he arrives in Vietnam he spends the majority of his time trying to recover lost secrets he mistakenly let the Vietcong overhear.
A Point-man is the most exposed and dangerous position in a military group.
Grant said Vernon made the stories for fun, but also to teach lessons. As a communications officer in the military he tried to help the younger service members remember important lessons.
Military veterans who served in Vietnam have given Grant a positive reaction. While the Point-man section may have been written with a military frame of mind, Grant said anyone can relate to the humor. For those who need a brush-up on their military jargon, a glossary is in the back of the book.
In addition to the cartoon, the book features a biography of Vernon by his wife. The two met in 1972 while going to college in Tokyo after Vernon’s military career.
“I had to go half way across the world to meet him,” Grant said. “I’m very glad I went.”
Vernon loved Japan and the influence of manga — a style of Japanese comics — can be seen in his work, Grant said.
The book is a labor of love; putting it together was a constant reminder to Grant of her husband’s talent and wit.
Grant still has a whole book of unpublished Point-man Palmer cartoons along with many other pieces of her husband’s. More could be coming in the future.
“He has a wonderful legacy,” Grant said. “I want to pass on to the world his art and his humor.”
Grant will be holding a book signing at the Kilbourn Public Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18. Books will be $14.35, or $12.75 for those who served in the military. It will also be for sale at the Ivy Cottage, Travel Mart and other locations in the near future.