Mary Louise was going on three, her father could stand it no more.
He screamed at his wife, threatened her life, and walked out slamming the door.
Mary Louise was going on three and didn't like to see mamma cry.
She went held her hand but didn't understand it was pappa's final goodbye.
Pappa had gone with the clothes he had on and nothing much more to his name.
He wandered around from city to town, a folksinger 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, was a picture of Mary Louise.
Mary Louise was going thirteen, her mother was looking real old.
Sometimes she aked where her father was at but 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 place 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 on that thing round your neck?"
He showed her a picture, her thoughts were a mixure of fear and dreadful un-ease.
She knew it well, he didn't have to tell her, it was a picture of Mary Louise.
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