Mary Louise was going on three, her father could stand it no more.
He screamed at his wife, threatened her life, then walked out slamming the door.
Mary Louise was going on three and didn't like to see momma cry
She went held her hand but didn't understand it was poppa's final goodbye.
Poppa had gone with the clothes he had on, nothing much more to his name
He wandered around from city to town, a folk singer searching for fame.
He played his guitar in night-club and bar, doing his best to please
And there in a locket, hung around his neck, a picture of Mary Louise.
Mary Louise was going thirteen, her mother was looking real old
Sometimes she asked where her father was at, the answer was bitter and cold.
Don't talk of your dad, he was much worse than bad, he ran off and left us alone
But Mary Louise had sweet memories of the father that she'd hardly known.
Mary Louise was soon seventeen, the bar-room was dusty and dim
The singer on the stage must have been twice her age but she was attracted to him.
He bought her a drink, she didn't know what to think when he said your room or mine
He conquered her dread in a cheap hotel bed with the help of a bottle of wine.
Young hours of day and early awake, surprised that she felt no regrets
Tell me, she asked, is that a photograph that you wear in that thing round your neck.
He showed her a picture, her thoughts were a mixture of fear and dreadful unease
She knew it well, he didn't have to tell her, it was a picture of Mary Louise
A sweet picture of Mary Louise.
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