Chapter 21 - Yessir That Could be Our Baby
"So how was your first day back?" asked Rose as the four ate dinner Daniel's favorite seafood restaurant in Crabapple Cove.
"It was tough, Mom," said Margaret. "We nearly lost a baby in delivery. The cord was wrapped around her neck. Dr. Donaldson managed to revive her by doing cardiac massage while Nurse Miller used an ambo bag."
"Sounds pretty tricky," said Hawkeye. "That's a very tiny heart to massage."
"Yeah, Doug's a pretty amazing doctor. He reminds me of a certain doctor I worked with in Korea. He never took no for an answer when it came to death, either," she said gazing into Hawkeye's eyes.
"That must have been something to see," said Rose.
"I'm sure it was," said Margaret softly under her breath, not sure if she wanted to mention that she missed it because she'd passed out.
Hawkeye caught her nearly imperceptible wondered what she meant. He'd be sure to ask her later. It was obvious to him that it was something she didn't care to discuss right now.
"Dad, you're very quiet tonight," said Hawkeye.
"He's been a gloomy Gus ever since he got home," said Rose.
"Is there a problem at the clinic?" asked Hawkeye.
"Pass the ketchup, please," said Daniel.
"You know that too much ketchup isn't good for you...how can you even taste your French fries with all that goo on it?" said Rose.
"Don't start with me, Rose Houlihan, I'm not in the mood!" said Daniel.
"Dad, come on...out with it...something's bothering you and I don't think it's the ketchup...do I have to beat it out of you with a crab leg," said Hawkeye holding up a large crab leg.
"Oh all right. Mrs. Wilcox is quitting...she and her husband have decided to retire and they're moving to New Hampshire to be close to their son."
"Shirley Wilcox, the nurse who's worked for you for twenty years?" asked Hawkeye.
"That's the one. She's one of the best damn nurses I've ever had at the clinic. She's been my right hand. Good nurses are hard to come by and I dread the hiring process. I guess I've just been spoiled to have her for so many years. Besides, I'm really going to miss the old bat."
Hawkeye laughed, "Please Dad, not while I'm eating...I nearly choked."
Rose looked at Margaret, Margaret nodded, and then Rose turned to Daniel, "I think I know where you might find just the right nurse."
"Now how would you know that?" asked Daniel. "You don't know anyone in Crabapple Cove, Rose."
"Dad, Mom is a nurse," said Margaret.
"But you have a home and a job to return to at Fort Dix," protested Daniel.
"What home? I have a dinky little apartment with a Philco television set. I don't know anyone there really. I was in Germany until October of '53. I quit my job to come here to take care of Margaret," said Rose.
"You gotta admit, Dad. It sounds like the perfect solution to me. Margaret's back to work and doesn't need a caretaker. Rose could ride into work with you every day...in fact she could start immediately so Shirley can show her the ropes before she moves to New Hampshire," said Hawkeye.
Daniel gazed into Rose's eyes, "You would really move here to be my nurse?
Margaret and Hawkeye exchanged amused glances. Rose and Daniel sat like two star crossed lovers, staring into each other's eyes.
"Would you two like to be alone?" asked Hawkeye.
Rose turned crimson and Daniel cleared his throat.
"Then it's all settled," said Daniel. "You can ride into work with me tomorrow, Rose. Good idea, Hawkeye.... thanks for suggesting it."
Daniel paid for dinner in spite of protests from Hawkeye.
"I said this is my treat. I wanted to celebrate my kids being healthy and back on their feet."
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asked Margaret, joining Hawkeye in the study. She handed him a glass of wine and sat beside him on the couch in front of the fire.
"About what?" he asked.
"What do you mean 'about what?' Did you see the way Mom and Dad looked at each other tonight?"
"I thought I saw some sparks fly there," chuckled Hawkeye.
"We got some mail today," said Margaret. "There's a birth announcement from the Klingers! Did we even know they were back in the country? Anyway, they had a little boy, Brian Yong Klinger. Everyone's having babies..." she sighed.
Hawkeye put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. "Care to tell me what you didn't want to tell me at dinner?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said.
"When you were talking about Dr. Donaldson reviving the baby, your mother said it must have been something to see and you said you were sure it was. So are you saying you didn't see it? I'm assuming you were in the delivery room when it happened."
Margaret looked into the fire, avoiding eye contact with him. "I didn't it because...I...I...saw that the baby was 'dead' and I passed out. I came to in one of the empty patient rooms. Doris let me cry it out and then she showed me that the baby was alive."
Hawkeye held her close and said, "Margaret, you don't have to stay in Maternity if it's too much..."
"No, it's okay. I held that baby and fed her...Hawkeye...I'm going to be okay!"
"That's my Major!" He said with a broad smile.
Margaret noticed that Hawkeye had been looking through the scrapbook she'd been putting together of their time in Korea.
"I need to finish putting that book together before our pictures get lost. Looking at anything in particular?" she asked.
"As a matter of fact...yes. I got a letter from Father Mulcahy about a week ago. I wasn't sure when would be a good time to bring this up but I think maybe now we're ready to discuss this.
"Just before we were discharged from the hospital, Father Mulcahy came to talk to me about something that was on his mind and heart. At the time I couldn't even think about it....but now I've been doing a lot of thinking, particularly since the letter.
"Margaret, what would you think about adopting a child?"
"I...I...never thought...I don't..."
"Okay, hear me out. I have an idea. I don't know if there's any way we could even make it happen...it's been two years. Father Mulcahy mentioned that the Korean government is working on getting Armerasian children out of their country. Do you remember the baby girl that was left at the door of the swamp?"
"Remember her? How could I ever forget her? She slept in my tent. Klinger stole my T-shirts to make pajamas for her. She was a beautiful baby," said Margaret.
"Yeah, I was looking at these shots that Klinger took of her. What I'm thinking, and I know it's probably a long shot, is to send these pictures to Father Mulcahy and see if maybe...just maybe that little girl is still at the mission. He said that she'd probably be there fifteen or sixteen years and then they might be able to get her out of the country. So chances are she's still being kept there. I don't know if there's any way to get her out but I say it's worth a try. If you don't feel up to this I'll forget the whole thing....Margaret?"
Margaret was leaning against him crying.
"I'm sorry...I didn't mean to upset you..."
Margaret smiled at him through her tears, wrapped her arms around his neck and said, "Yes...yes... oh yes! Let's try!"
January 18, 1955
Dear Father Mulcahy,
I didn't want to let too much time go by before answering your letter.
Yes, your letter found us in better health. Thank you for asking. Margaret and I have both returned to work. Margaret is in better spirits, thanks to Sidney Freedman and a lot of support from our folks.
Margaret and I had a long talk about adoption last night. She and I are both excited at the prospect! We saw so much destruction and bloodshed over there. We agree that if something good can come from it it's worth a try.
I have an idea. Margaret loves the idea. You brought up the subject of the baby we left at the monastery. I am enclosing some pictures that we have of her. Klinger took them so we'd never forget her. It's not as if any of us ever could. She must be about two by now and I imagine she would still be recognizable from these photos.
I know you said that the monks are very secretive and don't want contact with the outside world. We are hoping that you being a priest, perhaps you will be able to flex your ecumenical muscle to make this work.
If this doesn't work out we're willing to look into adopting another child, but that child is our first choice. Please let us know something as soon as you can. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.