Chapter 22 » 22.40

Marriage and steadfast commitment

Testimony concerning Jessie Gadsden (1912–1990):

Jessie and her companion Mary Mills were among a handful coming to Bewdley Meeting in the late 1950s when it was an allowed once-a-month-in-summer meeting for worship. When this small group of Friends were determined on a renewed preparative meeting, Jessie and Mary would be there early on Sunday pushing a murderously heavy hand-mower amongst the graves recently uncovered from three or four feet of grass and nettles.

Over the years her contribution to the home and life she shared with Mary was constant and faithful. It was a partnership and Jessie’s support for Mary’s dedicated work in school and in Guides seemed as unquestioning as Mary’s was as the second pair of hands in Jessie’s flower and vegetable garden.

This was Jessie’s real world… But she always left the greenhouse or the bushes graciously for a caller at any time. ‘Here’s …’ Mary would call from her part of the garden, and no-one felt unwelcome. Their cakes and Jessie’s home-made bread (not to mention gifts of vegetables, flowers and fruit!) made it hard for us to stay away.

Worcestershire & Shropshire Monthly Meeting, 1990

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