PEN PALS- CHAPTER 2

Disclaimer- Sadly, the characters from M*A*S*H do not belong to me. Only Nancy, her dad and friend Becky are my own creations.


"Dad, do you know what MASH stands for?" Nancy handed her dad the postcard that she had received in the mail from the Red Cross.

Her dad took the pipe he had been smoking out of his mouth and looked at the postcard. "Is this about the pen pal request you made?"

"Yes sir, it is."

Her dad was a World War II veteran. "Yes, I know a little bit. MASH stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. They started during World War II as a way to get medical teams closer to the front lines in an effort to save more lives. Many badly wounded soldiers didn't survive being transported to field hospitals that were set up next to airfields."

"That sounds dangerous for doctors to be working so close to the front. The soldier I'm writing to is a corporal. What kind of job would he have at a MASH unit?"

"I don't know, honey. All the doctors and nurses would be officers. I'm not sure what an enlisted man like a corporal would be doing. You'll just have to ask him in the letter you're going to write to him."He smiled at her. "When are you going to start it?"

"After supper, I guess." She bent down and kissed him on the cheek.

"Nancy?"

"Yes, Dad?"

"I'm proud of you for signing up to be a pen pal. I was lucky; I had your Mom to write to me when I was deployed. A lot of guys weren't so lucky. You don't know how much it means to get a letter, any letter from home."

It was after midnight and the kitchen table was covered with crumpled pieces of paper. Nancy had started on the letter right after supper. She was ready to give up. What on earth could she put in a letter to someone she didn't know on the other side of the world? She took a fresh sheet of paper and tapped her pen against her forehead. "Come on Nancy, think of something to write!"

She began writing the letter for what seemed the hundredth time.

A few weeks later, Corporal O'Reilly received this letter


Dear Corporal O'Reilly,

My name is Nancy Greene. I'm 19 years old and live in Savannah, Georgia with my Dad, two dogs and three cats. I received your name when I signed up to be pen pals with a soldier. My dad who is a veteran told me I'm doing a good thing by writing to you. He says that it means a lot to get a letter from home when you're so far away.

Dad explained to me what MASH meant. It must be pretty scary to be working in a hospital so close to the fighting.

I work as a secretary for an insurance company. It's a boring job, but I took it right after I graduated from high school last year because I can type really fast and most days I get my work done an hour before quitting time. Besides I don't know "what I want to be when I grow up". I guess I'll figure it one day.

What kind of job do you have? It must be interesting.

Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do in your spare time? I like to read and sometimes I go to the beach with friends. Sounds dull, huh?

Please write me back. I would really like to hear from you. I know this letter is short, but it's hard to know what to write to someone you don't know.

Sincerely,

Nancy Greene


When the mail came to the 4077th that day, Radar O'Reilly was expecting a letter from his mom and Uncle Ed. He was surprised to see a second letter from someone he didn't know and even more surprised to see it was from a girl he didn't know.

He was sitting in the messing tent eating lunch and reading the letter. Klinger sat down beside him. "Did you get a letter from your Mom, Radar?"

"Yeah, I did." Radar pointed at an envelope lying on the table.

"Well, who sent you the letter that you're reading now?" Klinger asked him.

"A girl named Nancy Greene from Savannah, Georgia." Radar held up the envelope showing the return address.

"You know a girl from Savannah, Georgia? Boy, that's a long way from Iowa." Klinger sounded surprised.

"No, I don't know a girl from there. This Nancy signed up or a pen pal and she got my name. I forgot I had turned my name in to get a pen pal. It was months ago," Radar told him.

"Are you gonna write her back? "

"I don't know Klinger. I guess so. What have I got to lose?"

"Who knows Radar? You might gain a long distance girlfriend." Klinger winked at him.

Radar grinned, "Yeah, I just might do that. I mean write her a letter."

Now, Nancy had written the first letter and Radar has received it. Wonder what Radar's reply will be like? Thanks for reading! Please review.