Welcome to my retelling of Off All the Camps in All of Korea.
Stepping off the plane, Margaret Houlihan and her father gather their belongings, hail a cab, and head to a hotel General Al Houlihan's friend is staying at. Three years after the Second World War and only six months state side, Margaret is finally getting used to civilian life. And, as of 1948 is attending an Army Navy game with her father and his friend. The three joyfully root for their team and after attending the game, Al's friend proposes they all go out for dinner. Margaret declines a dinner invitation and ventures on her own through the city. Finally, taking in the scenery of Central Park, Margaret barely registers the wind take her hat off.
"Penny for your thoughts?" A male voice asks her. She turns to find a pair of blue eyes staring down at her and a dazzling smile on his face. Instantly, Margaret smiles back as she explains, "I was just admiring the park. I've never been to New York before."
"I've only made it down here a few times, myself. How do you like it?"
Margaret shrugs. "There's less French."
Noticing his confused expression, the blonde explains, "I was stationed in France during the last war. I was a nurse there. I just got stateside about six months ago."
The blue eyed man smirks, "I'm a doctor. There's a medical conference in town that I'm currently avoiding. Some pompous surgeon is giving a boring, opinionated lecture."
A small break ensues until the doctor announces, "I think your hat flew off" He states as he extends his hat holding, gloved hand toward her. Margaret smiles and takes the hat. Thanking him, the army nurse puts the hat back on, but not before the blue eyed doctor rights an errant blonde strand of her hair. Stepping away, the doctor gives his name. Margaret gives hers just as her new friend motions toward the bench. They sit down as he asks, "What brings you to New York?"
Sitting beside him, Margaret answers, "The Army Navy Game. My father's friend had tickets."
"Army or Navy?"
"Who did you root for?" He clarifies. A wide grin plays on the blonde's face as she answers, "Army."
Finding a small cafe, the couple continues to talk well into the morning. Realizing the time, Margaret excuses herself, but not before giving the man her address.
"I'd give you my phone number, but I don't want you to pay long distance," She apologizes. Grinning, the doctor answers, "As long as you promise to visit on New Year's. My dad and I are throwing a huge party to ring it in!"
Confused, Margaret states, "It's only going to be 1949."
"Yeah, the last year of the 1940s!"
Shaking her head, Margaret answers, "Just as long as you pick me up from the airport."
Over the next year, the pair trades letters and get together as often as they can. Somehow their relationship continues to work despite the distance. In May, Margaret takes a flight to her boyfriend's home. As soon as she disembarks onto the tarmac, she finds her boyfriend waiving to her. Smiling, Margaret heads over to him and receives a generous kiss.
"What was that for?" She asks with a flirtatious smile. He grins down at her with an equally flirtatious grin answering, "Wouldn't you like to know?"
The rest of the week the pair spends their time happily engrossed in each other going to the movies or simply staying at his home. One night, the couple spends time listening to a radio program when the doctor's father tells the man that there is a telegram for him. Curious, Margaret watches her boyfriend leave the room and soon hears him yelling from the hallway about being drafted.
"What?" She exclaims. Still shocked, Margaret's boyfriend explains, "Right here in black and white: 'You are hereby directed to present yourself for Armed Forces Physical Examination' etcetera, etcetera! Margaret! I've been drafted!"
The blonde quickly takes hold of the letter and scans through it. Swallowing, Margaret whispers, "This is dated for next week!"
The new draftee sighs in frustration. Finally, he looks intently at his girlfriend and seriously asks, "Margaret, will you marry me?"
The blonde stutters, "But my job?"
"Hang your job!" the man exclaims before recomposing himself. "Just think about it? I'll be leaving in a week anyway. For all anyone knows you're a nurse who is engaged or has a very serious boyfriend."
Unable to say no, and knowing the ravages of war, Margaret agrees to the marriage. This may be the only chance she gets to marry him.
Seeing her new husband off at the station a week later, Margaret tells herself not to cry. Calling her father once she gets back to the house, she tells him she is going to apply as a M*A*S*H nurse again. Her father congratulates her, but Margaret makes sure to add, "I just have one favor. I need you to make sure my husband is put in the same unit I am."
"Fine, fine!" Al ecstatically agrees before yelling, "Husband?"