Disclaimer- Corporal O'Reilly and all the other characters from M*A*S*H are sadly not my own. Only Nancy Greene and her friend Becky are.

What do you do if you're a young secretary without much of a social life and no boyfriend? You sign up to be a pen pal to a soldier.

July 1951

It was mid-July in Savannah and hotter than Hades. All the windows in the office of Peterson Insurance Company were wide open and the ceiling fans were running at full speed. Sweat rolled down Nancy Greene's forehead and into her eyes. It made it nearly impossible to see the letter she was typing. She already had to start over with a fresh sheet of stationary twice that morning. At this rate, it would take all day to type this one, stupid letter!

How she wished she could take the rest of the day off and go to the movies. The movie theatres were one of the few places that had air conditioning. She would gladly spend all day there! It wouldn't matter to her what movie was playing, she would be cool.

It was not good to watch the clock, Nancy knew that, but she did it anyway. She looked forward to lunch time, if for no other reason than the fact that the lunch room was in the basement of the office building where she worked and was about ten degrees cooler than any other place in the building.

At the stroke of noon, she was out of the office and down the stairs to the lunch. Instead of waiting on the elevator, she always took the stairs and was the first person in the lunch room. The contrast of the relative coolness of the lunch room to the rest of the building always took her by surprise even though it was the same experience every day.

"Oh boy, I'd work down here if I could. I would set up my typewriter on one of these tables and not come outside until 5 o'clock!" she thought.

"Hey daydreamer, are you gonna eat or not?"

"Huh?" Nancy turned around to see her co-worker Becky standing next to her. "I'm sorry Becky, I was thinking of a way to work down here instead of our office on the ninth floor. "

Becky laughed. "Good luck in persuading Mr. Peterson to let you do that. Come on, let's get our food. I want to sit and talk about something besides work."

They both chose small salads and sweet iced teas and found a table. "Well Nancy, do you have a date this Friday night?" Becky asked.

"Becky, why do you insist on playing this game? You already know the answer. No, I don't have a date this Friday night. Why are you so interested in my love life or lack thereof? "

Becky chuckled. "Because my dear friend, I don't want to see you become an old maid."

"Good Lord, I'm only nineteen. I've got a little time before I'm "over the hill".

"Time flies, Nancy. You'll look around and all your friends will be married with kids before you know it."

Nancy rolled her eyes and pointed her index finger at Becky, "Changing the subject; do you have a date for Friday night?"

"Of course I do. It's with Bobby Sullivan. We're going out for supper and a movie," Becky told her.

"You've been dating him for a couple of months. You must really like each other."

"Yeah, he's fun to be with and he hasn't tried to you know…"

"Make a pass at you?"

"Yes Nancy, Bobby's a perfect gentleman. Say why don't I fix you up with someone and we can double date on Friday night," Becky suggested.

"Oh no, the last guy you fixed me up with was far from a "perfect gentleman" as you can get. You've heard of the expression "roamin' hands and rushin' fingers"? Well that was this guy. I can't even remember the creep's name."

"O.K., Nancy. If you want to be alone on Friday night, it's up to you. But you have no social life whatsoever. It's pitiful, really"

Nancy sighed, "Well it's my pitiful life and fine by me."

They finished lunch and as they put their trays on the counter, Nancy noticed a small card tacked to the bulletin board above it.

Pen Pals wanted for servicemen. Sign up today! Contact the Red Cross.

Nancy grabbed the sign off the bulletin board and stuffed it in her skirt pocket.

When she returned to her desk, Nancy looked up the phone number for the Red Cross and called them. The woman that answered the phone asked her name, age, address and why she wanted to be a pen pal to a soldier. The first three questions were easy to answer. They were just facts. It was the last question that she didn't have a ready answer for. Nancy stammered, "I think it would be a nice thing to do."

The answer seemed to satisfy the woman and she told Nancy that she would receive the name and address of a soldier to could correspond with.

"Maybe I'll have a social life after all, if only on paper."

When Nancy came home from work a couple of days later, a postcard was waiting for her on the kitchen table. She grabbed it and read the name of the soldier that had been assigned to her as a pen pal.

Corporal Walter O'Reilly

MASH 4077th


So it begins, Nancy has the name of her pen pal. Next chapter, we'll have the first letter. By the way, I don't know if the Red Cross actually had a pen pal service during the Korean War. Thanks for reading. Please review!