Hazel Jolly Sharp sets her own terms

How I’m related

Dorothy Hazel “Hazel” Jolly is the youngest sister of my dad’s mom, Myrtle Mae Jolly Hemenway. Their parents were William Coleman “Coley” Jolly and Martha Jane “Mattie” Brantley.

Hazel’s Story

Hazel Sharp

Hazel Jolly Sharp, May 2002

Hazel, born on March 14, 1914 in Eldorado, TX, was the youngest child. Her siblings were: William Melvin “Brother”; Allie Bell “Sister”; Erma; Coleman Clinton “Clint”; Clara Sue; Bill Arp “Arp”; Thelma Alta; Tony Drew “Jack”; Grady G.; Myrtle Mae; and Mattie Eloise “Lois”.

Like her sisters, she didn’t let the norms of the day or restrictions placed on women limit her. She traveled around the US and Canada. One of her achievements that she commented on often was visiting all 50 states.

Always moving forward

In one of the letters that Hazel wrote to me she said “I don’t think anyone can ever learn too much. When I was younger I was always taking some sort of a course.”

Early Marriage & Divorcing in the 1950s

Hazel married Arthur Sharp in Eddy, New Mexico in 1930 when she was just 16 yrs old. They were both living in Texas at the time so I’m not sure why they would need to go to New Mexico. Maybe some law about age or some other reason.

According to stories from my dad (Hazel’s maternal nephew), Arthur always seemed to have some idea that never quite panned out: an airport and pig farm are two that my dad mentioned.

Of course, this was during the 1930s and 1940s during the depression, so he may have just been trying to find the best way to make a living.

But, Hazel was left doing most of the work as well as raising their two kids, Katie and Olan. Here is an excerpt from a letter that she wrote me in 2001 about her marriage:

My ex-husband owned an airport. I never felt like it was our airport, yet I worked so very hard at it until we could hire some help. I was never included in all that went on for Arthur never talked of it, yet at the airport I had to write down the name of who took a certain airplane, see that they signed in, and I had to write the time they took off and landed.

Eventually Hazel had enough and divorced Arthur. I don’t have the date, but it was probably in the 1950s judging by conversations with my mom. She had her skills from the airport and also had taken shorthand classes so found work in an office.

My mom told me that while she raised her kids largely on her own, Hazel’s extended family was there to support her. She was very close to her sister Myrtle (my paternal grandmother), who helped her along with the other sisters who had also moved from Texas to California.

Visiting all 50 States

At a young age, Hazel got it in her mind that she would visit all 50 states – and she did. I have more information on this in a letter that she sent me. Once I find it, I’ll update this section.

Sources for these stories

Any source not specifically mentioned in the post is listed here:

  • Letters we wrote to each other from 1984, when I was 17 yrs old, until her death in 2005.
  • Ancestry.com
  • Family diaries.

 

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