Clyde Hammonds of Ashland does not know what became of his sister, Mary Marie, or if she is even still alive, although he holds on to hope they will soon find one another.
Hammonds, 80, said his sister left home when she was 16 and seemed to vanish afterward.
“I never seen or heard from her after that. She always told mom she was leaving home when she turned 16, and she did. She left and went to Picket Branch, and a man picked her up and we never saw her again,” he said, explaining he decided to actively try to find her again after hearing about a woman’s body being recovered from a well in Ohio. “She might’ve passed away by now, but I thought ‘I’m still living. She might be, too.’”
Hammonds has talked to people at area funeral homes and nursing homes in hopes of finding a clue about his sister’s whereabouts, but so far has only come as close as an eyewitness report from a railroad worker who believes he saw her in South Shore during the 1980s. He has no photos of his sister past the second grade, but carries a photo of their mother and another sister who had a strong family resemblance. Their parents were Smith and Ethel (Yates) Hammonds.
“Her name was Mary Marie Hammonds. She may go by Marie or she may go by Mary. She may be married ... we just don’t know,” he said.
The long-lost sister was born on Oct. 11, 1933 and had blues eyes, Hammonds said, as well as a strong sense of humor.
“She was just a little bit off. Anything was funny to her,” he said, apologizing for the lack of details and explaining he was quite young when they parted ways. “She had ... we always called it ‘dishwater blonde’ hair.”
Hammonds, who retired as a supervisor of grounds and transportation from the Ashland school system, said his sister has almost always been on his mind.
“When she first left, it bothered me for a long time and I’d almost got over it by when they found that woman in the well in the ’80s. I always prayed she would be found. It’d be a happy reunion, I’ll tell you that! I would like to be a part of her life, even if I had to take care of her.”
Hammonds asks anyone with any ideas about the whereabouts or fate of his sister to call him at (606) 325-0507.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com.