Author's Note- Let me know how you like it. I will take any and all comments, good, bad, or indifferent. Enjoy!
"I'm home," Margaret Houlihan called out after a long day at work.
"Hi Mom," her daughter Molly 17 year old daughter replied, "Dinner is almost done."
"You cooked?" Margaret asked when she walked into the kitchen, "When did you have time?"
"Mr. Sewald closed the grocery store early today," Molly said of her after school job.
"What about homework?" Margaret inquired.
"I have a little genetics homework left, but I'll finish it later," Molly smiled, and put two plates on the kitchen table.
Margaret sat down, and sighed. "When did you grow up?"
"Oh, Mom," Molly smiled. The two sat down and started to eat silently. "Hey Mom," Molly said partway through the meal.
"Yes, dear," Margaret responded.
"Mom," Molly said a bit nervously, but was sure she wanted to ask the question, "What was my father like?"
"You are an awful lot like him," Margaret smiled, "But why do you ask?"
"Well, I sit in genetics class, and I wonder about this man, who you say I am so much like, and who obviously had to mean something to you, but I know nothing about him," Molly said. "The fact that you are struggling to write your memoir also made me think about him. Do you ever hear from him? I know you met him in Korea, but how did I come to be? Where you in love with him? If you were, why aren't you together?"
"Molly," Margaret said interrupting her daughter, whose questions were making her head spin. "I'll answer all the questions you have. I was sure I would have to someday. Do me a favor, and ask one at a time though."
"I'm sorry, mom," Molly said.
"Don't be dear," Margaret said, "You have a right to know."
"What was he like, what did he look like?" Molly started asking her questions.
"Your father was a very charming man," Margaret started, "I fell in love with him the moment I met him. You are so much like him. He was intelligent like you, and funny. You have his eyes, and his smile, actually, Molly, you are tall like him, and have his dark hair. Every time I look at you, I see him. Like I said we were stationed together in Korea. We ended up becoming friends," Margaret said. "Although, during the war we never were romantic. I married another man, and we divorced, but I always loved your father. When we came back to the States. I moved to Boston, and got a job. I went to visit your father one weekend," Margaret smiled, "That was when you were conceived."
"Mom," Molly looked at her with disgust, "Why didn't you stay together?"
"He wanted me to stay," Margaret said, "But your father had never seemed like marriage material. In Korea, he was a womanizer. He told me that he loved me, but I left at the end of that weekend, and came back home. When I found out I was having you, I was thrilled, but never told your father. He would have felt obligated to take us in, and I didn't want to weigh him down, or force him into anything where he would have been unhappy."
"You mean," Molly looked up in shock, "My father, doesn't know I am alive?"
"I'm sorry, Molly, " I could never find a way to tell him." Molly looked down at her plate. "Oh, Molly," Margaret said.
"Is it my fault the two of you never were together?" Molly asked sadly.
"No, of course not," Margaret said. "And if it makes a difference, I know your father would be proud of you. You are so bright, just like he is. Your dreams of becoming a doctor would make him overly proud. He is the best doctor I have ever seen. Molly, I am proud of you."
"Thank you, Mom, that means a lot to me," she said wiping a tear from her eye," Have you heard from my father since then?"
Margaret was silent for a moment.
"Have you, Mom?" Molly asked again.
"No," Margaret said quickly. "Well, I have to go up, and finish my homework," Molly said
"All right, dear," Margaret said smiling, "I am going to be in the study working on my memoir."
The next day was Wednesday, the day that Molly had off from working at the grocery store. She came home quickly after school. There was some investigating that she wanted to do.
Molly went upstairs into her mother's room. She knew there was a shoe box in her mother's closet filled with things from Korea. She searched the closet until she found the dusty box on the top shelf. Molly brought it down, and sat on her mother's bed, and opened the lid. The contents of the box were mostly pictures, and letters. She started sifting through things carefully, by taking each item out and investigating it fully before putting it in another pile.
Molly thought that one of the men in the pictures might have been her father. The first picture she found was of a man wearing a dress. She prayed that he wasn't her father, and turned it over revealing a caption "Corporal Maxwell Klinger, the crazy company clerk." Molly smiled with relief, her father was a doctor. She picked up another picture. It was of her mother, standing with two men, one of them had a cheesy mustache, and the other was tall and had dark hair. The caption on the back said, "The two men I love most in this camp, BJ (mustache) and Hawkeye." Could one of these men be her father? Molly kept searching through the box. She found a gold ring, which she thought may have been her mother's wedding ring to the man she married in Korea. Another picture was of her mother, and a man with no lips. The captions said, "Me and my Frank." Could Frank be her father? There was a picture in the box of an older man standing next to a priest that said, "My dear Colonel Potter, just like a father, and Father Mulcahy, who is a Father." Molly knew that that could not be her father. One of the last pictures at the top of the box was of a bald man the caption only said "Charles."
After fifteen minutes of searching through the pictures she was getting no where, but more confused. Molly decided to start reading the letters in the box. She picked up one and started to read it. "Dear Margaret," it said, "I am so glad to be back home in California. Peg and Erin were at the airport awaiting my arrival. My little girl isn't a baby anymore. She has grown up so much, and has her own personality. The first few days were a little hard. Peg and Erin were getting used to me being home, and I was getting used to not having Hawk around. I am sure that, you too are missing him a great deal, at least from what I saw. Working in a real hospital feels so strange, and foreign, and sanitary, as I imagine you have discovered as well. How is Bean Town? Have you run into Chuck? I hope you have the luck not to run into good old Charles Emerson Winchester, the third. All my love, your friend, BJ Hunnicutt. Molly decided that BJ, the man with the mustache, could not be her father. She had a feeling that Charles wasn't either, but something in BJ's letter made her wonder if the man named Hawk could be. She wondered what BJ saw to make him think that her mother was missing him.
Molly looked through the box again, and found more pictures at the bottom. There was a large group photo with everyone from the unit in front of a pole of signs. Another group picture was of all of the nurses her mother had commanded over. There was a picture of an odd looking teenager with glasses, the caption said, "the always lovable Radar O'Reilly." Molly was pretty sure, that Radar was not her father either. The last picture in the box was the biggest clue she had gotten all day. It was a picture of her mother in the arms of a tall man with dark hair, the same one, she thought that was labeled as Hawkeye before. She turned the picture over, but there was no caption.
Molly decided to read through more of the letters. There were a few from Colonel Potter, but they only described his retirement. One from Maxwell Klinger, the man that wore dresses that said he and Soon-Lee had found her parents and were moving back to Toledo. Molly was somewhat confused by that letter, but it didn't concern the man named Hawk.
She was just about ready to give up, when she struck gold. There were a pack of envelopes tied together. Molly opened the first letter, and it said "Margaret, I loved hearing from you, and I am glad you have found happiness in Boston. It will all last unless you find Charles walking down the street. I haven't been able to stop thinking about you, and how we left a lot of things unsaid when we left. 'Actions speak louder than words,' my father has always taught me. I think in this case it is true as well, but there are still so many things I wanted to tell you. You should come and visit me sometime. There are some great places to eat lobster. Come to think about it, the only good places here are the ones to eat lobster in, so I hope you like lobster. You can met dear, old, Dad and see Crab Apple Cove. Let me know. Love Hawkeye. Could this be the trip her mother spoke of? Molly was confused, and overjoyed all at once. Was the man named Hawkeye her father? What was it that this man and her mother did where actions spoke louder than words?