Sandra was the Head Secretary and Clerical Manager in the Dewsbury Probation Office until her retirement several years ago. We worked in the same office for many years and Sandra was noted for her extreme courtesy and kindness to all staff, especially newcomers. She was also a member of an amateur musical society and an extremely good singer who performed many leading roles in their annual shows. I hope that you had a most enjoyable birthday, Sandra with your loving husband, Bill. In fact, with a name like 'Bill';, how could he be any other than 'a loving husband’?
Today’s song is ‘I’d Love You To Want Me’. This the title of a popular song from 1972 by Lobo (the stage name of Roland Kent LaVoie). He wrote the song, which appears on his album ‘Of a Simple Man’.
Released as a single in the fall of 1972, ‘I'd Love You to Want Me’ was the singer's highest hit on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart, where it spent two weeks at Number 2 in November of that year. The single was the second of four of his songs to hit Number 1 on the ‘Easy Listening Chart’ in December 1972. It became a ‘Gold Record’.
I once knew a woman who never seemed to get the type of man she could settle down with. Her name was Mavis and she lived in a caravan with her 7-year-old son, that was parked in a field in the area of Emley in Huddersfield, close to the Yorkshire Television transmitter mast.
I originally met Mavis during the 1980s when I worked as a Probation Officer in Huddersfield. I had been requested to do a ‘Social Inquiry Report’ for the local Magistrate’s Court as to her means and general situation. Mavis had been fined by the court previously and hadn’t paid a penny off her fine. Court sentence was adjourned for a month (with a view of giving Mavis a brief prison sentence in default of payment). It wanted a Probation Officer to check out Mavis’s situation, especially as receiving a prison sentence would automatically place her 7-year-old son in Care of the Local Authority.
Today, an offender can burgle an occupied house in the dead of night, or mug and rob old person on the public High Street, or sexually assault a young woman, or stab a rival gang member and still escape a prison sentence when caught; whereas during the 1970s and 1980s, a single parent/mother of a 7-year-old child could be imprisoned without the blink of an eye for non-payment of a court fine!
I was given Mavis’s address (which was incomplete) and asked to interview her. The address she had given the Magistrate’s Court had no house number. It bore only her full name, followed by 'Off Jagger Lane', Emley, Huddersfield. The night I visited Mavis to complete the report for the Magistrate's Court, I searched for the better part of an hour before I eventually located her with the help of a villager. He only knew of her because she was a single parent with a 7-year-old son, and Emley was the smallest of villages, where everyone knew everything there was to know about each other, especially if it involved a bit of scandal or salacious gossip. These were the years where the first parts of the local weekly newspaper looked at were the 'Orbituary' and the 'Court Sentence' sections. This was the era when the height of village gossip between next-door neighbours primarily concerned, 'Who'd died? How old were they?, and how much did they leave in their estate?', along with 'Who'd been fined for not having a dog or a television licence, or for beating his wife within an inch of her life?'
It transpired that Mavis (who was in her mid-late twenties), and her son, lived not in a house but in an old caravan. Instead of identifying her general location as being ‘Off Jagger Lane’, Mavis would have been more accurate in describing her precise location as being ‘Off an old dirt track which ran off Jagger Lane and led to a derelict outbuilding in a farmer’s field'. Mavis lived in the farthest field which had panoramic views of outer Huddersfield, apart from being the closest resident to the 'Emley Moor Television Transmitter Mast'.
After assessing the situation of Mavis, it became apparent that she needed help and could benefit from being the subject of a Probation Order rather than being sent to prison for fine default while her young son was taken into Care of the Local Authorities during her absence. These were the days when Probation Officers were much more than parole-officer contact points and had the necessary training skills, adequate resources and enough time to devote to clients, getting to know them in the most helpful of ways.
The upshot of Mavis’s situation can best be summed up by her having had an unhappy upbringing as a child in a large family, with all her male siblings being perpetrators of petty crime. She left home at the age of 15 years after becoming the target of sexual abuse by an older brother.
Her initial decade between 15-26 years, witnessed her having a string of failed relationships (five cohabitees in total), and living with partners who could best be described as ‘losers’ and ‘a waste of space’. The first man Mavis lived with was 10 years older than her, and the couple started living as man and wife four months before her 16th birthday. He had been her son’s father, but when he learned that Mavis was pregnant by him, he took off, leaving her penniless, and never contacted her or his son thereafter. An aggressive partner had been violent towards her and frequently beat her so badly that she once spent three weeks in the hospital. Three other men she lived with, never held down a job long enough to collect a full week’s wage. Mavis told me that they idled away their time at her home, living off her, while she went out to work part-time in a café in Kirkburton.
After two years of Probation Officer contact with Mavis, she seemed to have turned around her life. She still had a long way to go but was at last headed in the right direction. She and her son gave up their caravan and moved out to Oldham where she’d been allocated a flat.
Mavis used to tell me during our office discussions that she was always a compliant partner and would do whatever her man wanted her to do at the time, in order that she might feel closer to him. She used to say to me, “I don’t need much to be happy, Mr Forde. All I want is for someone to love me for who I am, and for them to want me too!”
Today’s song, ‘I’d Love You to Want Me’ reminds me of Mavis. Her son would be in his mid-to-late thirties now. Have a nice day, everyone.
Love and peace Bill xxx