It was the early nineteen hundreds when she was left at the workhouse door,
To mingle with the waifs and strays, and the rest of Barnsleys poor.
Too young to try to understand, at the tender age of three
Why she slept on a worn out mattress, instead of her mothers knee.
Expressionless she stood alone. allowing no one to get through,
She was abandoned and deserted, cast off like a worn out shoe.
And that would have been poor Jessies fate, if old Sam, her grandads mate,
Hadn't walked by and spotted her, standing by the big iron gate.
' Jessie, Jessie Hainsworth is that thee' he said, surprised.
The pale sad face looked back at him, then quickly recognised.
' Mr Naylor, have you seen my mam' she asked him close to tears,
The old man shook his head and said,.Does thy grandma know thar here'.
She shrugged her tiny shoulders, ' Mam told me i'd to wait'
Sge says she's coming back for me, I'd to wait here by this gate'.
' Just thee wait theer then' said old sam,' I'll be back soon as I can'
She clutched his sleeve,' Don't worry lass, I'm off to fetch thy gran'
Gently he unclasped the hand still clinging to his sleeve,
Un he wiped away her salty tears with his big white hankerchief.
Anxiously she watched him disappear along the road,
And old Sam turned to waved, as if to reassure.
But Jessie had no faith in him, after all her mam had failed her,
Why should he be different,no, she didn't trust Sam Naylor.
But the old folk came and took her home,' Till your mam comes back', they said,
And they fed her home made bread and broth, and then tucked her up in bed.
It wasn't long till Jessie settled down on Smithie Farm,
Money was in short supply, but their love kept Jessie warm.
Life wasn't always easy,sometimes they couldn't make ends meet,
So Jess would fill a barrow, selling firewood street to street.
The kids poked fun, but she still went out, even when't snow were bad,
Most days the money from that firewood round was all the old folks had.
Grandad told her stories about days when he was young,
Teaching her the poetry and the songs that they once sung.
She was fourteen when they passed away, once more alone again,
But her aintie Vi from Carlton said,' We'll take Jessie in'.
'But you'll have to get a job, to pay your keep'. they said.
So she took a job at Grundy's, baking cakes and kneading bread.
She paid her keep and gave the rest to drunken uncle Jack,
Who said he'd save it up for her, but she never got it back.
She slept with her three cousins in a small three quarter bed,
There was no one else who wanted her, she'd asked her uncle Fred.
Then she took a job in service on the other side of Leeds,
working her way from laundry maid,to first parlor maid with ease,
Jessie blossomed into womanhood, emerging from her shell,
Dark curly hair and slender limbed, like an elegant gazelle.
Nothing else, she thought could make her happy life complete,
The she met her one and only love, and he swept her off her feet.
Joe, so tall and handsome, in a rougish sort of way,
Jess knew that if he asked her, she would wed her Joe one day.
But once again old fate stepped in and dealt another blow,
She found out she was pregnant and was scared of telling Joe,
Joe saw the change in Jessie, thought she didn't want him anymore,
So he asked her what was wrong with her, thinking she'd show him't door.
' I'm pregnant Joe' she blurted out, as the tears streamed down her face,
As he held her close, she whispered,' I've been worried sick for weeks'.
' Do you love me' he asked anxiously,she said 'aye Joe that I do'
'Well! That settles it' said he relieved' Because by God I love thee too'.
On the third of March they took their vows and pledged to have and hold,
For richer and for poorer with a simple band of gold.
She'd dreamed of getting married in a long white wedding gown,
Not at Pitt Street register office on the other side of town.
No! It wasn't how she planed it but she was used to lifes rough weather,
'We can make it Joe' she told him,' Just as long as we're together'.
Times weren't always easy for the newly weds, but they muddled through,
Soon they'd six more mouths to feed, what else could they do.
Joe worked his fingers to the bone and Jess took washing in,
They hadn't much but that terraced house was clean as a new pin.
When they got a brand new council house,they couldn't ask for anymore,
Then Hitler raised his ugly head, and the country was at war.
Joe signed up for duty, like all the other men.
It was six long years of conflict, before they were a family once agin.
Not long after Joe came back, Jessie started gaining weight,
'I can't be pregnant' she exclaimed,'Not at thirty eoght'.
But sure enough as winter came so did a baby boy,
The girls all spoiled him rotten,he was Josephs pride and joy.
Years passed, the children wed , now had children of their own,
But Joe was gettin g tired, the hard years had took their toll,
He never did grow old and grey, it wasn't meant to be,
And in sixty nine Jow passed away, released from all his pain.
Once more Jessie was alone again, the long years drag on and on,
Though her family are around her, it's not the same since Joe has gone.
Last Friday night, God beckoned and Joe called out Jessies name,
It's been thirty years, but once again they'll stroll down memory lane,
Hand in Hand, Side by Side they'll walk through heavens door,
Jessies with her sweetheart Joe and she's alone no more....

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