Monday, February 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8 Sharon Gay Hammon

My Aunt Sharon was born on 3 February 1930.  As you can see from the date, she was born during hard times as the nation began the Great Depression.  Sharon was the second child of Daniel Glenn Hammon and Virginia Slater.  She was my mother's younger sister by 5 years.  The Hammons lived in Mohland Utah where Glenn, as he was known, worked in the coal mines.  A younger brother, Donald, joined the family a year later.

Tragically, Virginia died when Sharon was only 3.  My mother, Jean Hammon Brooks, clearly remembers coming home from school and finding the door locked.  She could see her mother collapsed on the floor.  Sharon was with her and this loss had a great effect on the family.  The children were scattered for a time to various relatives; something that would recur from time to time, even after Daniel Glenn remarried in 1935. This picture of the three siblings is probably from the mid-1940s.

Sharon grew up mostly in the Roy, Utah area.  She was a beauty with big green eyes and blond hair.  She was very outgoing and attracted a lot of attention.  She was also anxious to get out of the house which now had 4 additional children from the second marriage.  Sharon married Adrian (Bud ) Draayer in the Salt Lake Temple on 27 May 1948.  She had just graduated from high school.

Five years later, Sharon and Bud had four young children, three boys and a girl. Sharon also took care of other children, so the demands on her time and health were heavy.  She grew increasingly unhappy in her marriage. At the age of 31, she learned to drive and got a job.  Eventually she left her marriage and moved to California.  Her children remained with their dad.  

Sharon and Monte

Lynn, Connie and Vaughan Draayer

Sharon loved California and especially enjoyed the Bay area and all the excitement of the 1960s. She married three more times: to David Lyons in 1961, to Jerry David Bell in 1963, and to Bruce Battles in 1971.  None of these marriages lasted, but her marriage to Jerry Bell did produce another daughter,  Virginia Lee Bell..  Virginia and her half-brother Vaughan had green eyes and were left-handed, like their mother. The others, Monte, Connie and Lynn, were blue eyed and right handed.

Sharon and Virginia

After many moves, including a time in the Philippines, Sharon retired to Arizona. Though she had a difficult relationship with her children, they knew she loved them. Sadly, her four oldest children died within 5 years in the early 2000s.  Sharon died of heart failure on 10 November 2007.  She is buried in Warrenton, VA near the home of her youngest daughter.

Her daughter, Virginia, describes her mom as a paradox: she loved to eat but hated to cook; she was very generous but not good at managing money, she loved clothes but had no style.  If she didn't like you, you knew it.  She was a great story-teller, and would make things up on a whim  I certainly never knew what to believe. I did know that if you admired something of hers she was determined to give it to you!

These are Virginia's words:

When she died and I had to put a tombstone on her plot, I had no idea what to do. One night I had a dream about the Little Prince and his rose. The story is about a difficult relationship with a thorny and vain flower on the little prince's planet and how he travels the universe only to discover that that relationship meant a great deal to him because it was difficult. When I woke up I knew what I had to do:
I ordered a rose granite tombstone from Vermont, with roses etched into the stone including her name and dates, plus an epithet from the Little Prince: "A flower that was unique in all the world"
and she was

Sharon had planted a rose bush for each of her 4 deceased children.  There are rose bushes at her gravesite, and a Rose of Sharon planted behind the tombstone.  She was truly an unforgettable woman with a childlike wonder and enthusiasm for life through all her days.

1 comment:

  1. I am always amazed at the photos you are able to find! I'll never forget pool aerobics with GAS in Arizona :)