By Julie Titone
It will be an honor to read from "Boocoo Dinky Dow: My short, crazy Vietnam War" on April 30, the 40th anniversary of the day the war ended. Skyway Library will host the 7 p.m. program.
By the time Saigon fell to North Vietnamese troops, Army veteran Grady Myers had been out of the combat zone for six years. His Purple Heart was packed away; his battle wounds were as healed as they were going to be. He had finished his art studies in Seattle, was about to launch a career, and had begun telling friends the stories that decades later became his memoir. When I first heard his animated stories -- his helicopter sounds were second to none -- I thought of the TV series "M*A*S*H," with its dark and deeply humane subject matter punctuated by humor. Of course, that 1970s hit was really about Vietnam, but set in Korea to make it more politically palatable.
The title "Boocoo Dinky Dow" comes from the soldiers' pronunciation of a Vietnamese phrase meaning very crazy. It wasn't published until after Grady died in 2011. Back in the late '70s, when Grady and I became a couple and worked together on a first draft of the memoir, publishers weren't interested. They said no one wanted to read about Vietnam.
Now there is an explosion of stories about the unpopular war. Men and women who served in Vietnam, some of whom haven't spoken for decades of their experiences, are opening up.
As I describe in the essay Author connects with Vietnam veterans, I'm delighted to be among those calling attention to the sacrifices of a generation of vets, both those who served in combat and the many more troops who supported them. I look forward to meeting more veterans in Skyway this Thursday evening. And I hope that, after sharing some of Grady's stories, I'll get to hear some of theirs in return.
Julie Titone is co-author of the Grady Myers memoir "Boocoo Dinky Dow: My short, crazy Vietnam War." Grady was an M-60 machine gunner in The U.S. Army's Company C’s 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment, 4th Infantry Division in late 1968 and early 1969. His Charlie Company comrades knew him as Hoss. Thoughts, comments? Send Julie an email.