In his 83 years of living, Miller Pope has grown up feisty and adventurous in the South, earned a living and hobnobbed with the upper echelon in the North, and published a book to tell all about it.
The longtime Ocean Isle Beach artist, entrepreneur and writer has commemorated his multi-faceted life in his latest book, “Confessions of a MadMan: From Madison Avenue to Island Sands,” available at local bookstores and online.
Though most of his books are heavy-laden with his art, especially about pirates, this one is a little different.
Pope said he wrote it for his grandchildren.
“I just wanted a book left for my posterity,” he said, dining recently at a Shallote restaurant.
His latest publication still features the wonderful art of Pope, who worked as an illustrator on Madison Avenue in the 1950s and ‘60s. He deems it a Camelot time, and he got to be a part of it.
Pope enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17, shortly after finishing the required 11 grades of school in Greenville, S.C.
“Soon after my birthday, I enlisted in the Corps,” he writes. “The Japanese had just surrendered, but the peace treaty had not been signed, which made me an official veteran of WWII and entitled me to all the benefits of a real veteran.”
He wound up working on the staff and honing his artistic abilities with the Marine Corps’ “Leatherneck” magazine in Washington, D.C., where he once got a glimpse of President Truman out for a morning stroll.
After his stint in the Marines, Pope attended Furman University for a while to make his Grandmother Pope happy. He pledged Phi Kappa Phi fraternity, “but I never became a brother because a C average was required and my grades were abysmal,” he writes.
He did, however, make straight A’s in history, one subject that interested him.
In the next chapter of his life and book, Pope is a freelance illustrator who’s migrated to Manhattan, where he eventually met his wife, Helen, and embarked on many more adventures. They set up house and raised their two children in Westport, Conn., where Pope continued to freelance and commute into New York City.
He recalls the era when advertising was in its heyday—with clever and creative campaigns, martini lunches, train commutes and parties.
Years later, the Popes discovered Ocean Isle Beach, where they started The Winds resort and Pope became involved as a partner in the launch of Sea Trail in Sunset Beach. He also writes about the loss of his wife, Helen, to Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago.
All of these details and more can be found in his latest book.
“A book is a wonderful thing,” Pope says. “It can talk to ages.” He’s hoping his does that, especially to his children and grandchildren.
These days, Pope still draws and writes books for fun. “I don’t play golf; I don’t like watching sports,” he says. But he still loves history, writing and illustrating—especially pirates. He says he’ll also continue working on books, even if they don’t make the best-sellers lists. He’s having too much fun to quit.
By Laura Lewis, staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email [email protected].
Buy Confessions Of A Mad Man and all of Miller Pope’s books and artwork at: http://Islands-Art.com