Following is an excerpt from my book, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story. The stories of family history came together mostly from discussions with my father, Vernon H. Sparks. So far, few records have been located to develop the stories further and to verify facts.
“My dad talked fondly of his childhood, especially times on his grandparents farm in the Red River Valley in North Dakota. He loved this time as a child the best. His grandmother was Native American, and grandfather was from the old country. He rode horses, hunted, fished, and worked hard. His grandparents were highly respected and well off at the time. Their three sons, including my grandfather Art, all had their life challenges and success eluded them for the most part. Except for Uncle Harry, who took his inheritance and bought a farm in Ascov, Mn. Uncle Bob Sparks died of alcohol poisoning, alone and mostly homeless. Grandpa Art passed away in his mid 60’s of a heart condition and alcohol, basically a poor and unhappy man. My grandmother Mildred lived well into her 80’s and had mostly close relationships with her children and grandchildren. I didn’t see much of any of them after joining the Navy. I have recently reconnected with my cousins and surviving aunts from both sides of the family while doing research for this story and to retrace my roots. My daughter, Bianca, and her family recently moved to Eden Prairie, Mn giving me more motivation to find my way back and to share family roots with Bianca and grandkids, Joey and Jordan. Another effect of my own PTSD condition was to ignore where my family lived and roots, sharing hardly anything with my children until recently. Discussions about my own parents have been limited to negative references for the most part, leaving my kids with a feeling that they didn’t want anything to do with my family. I take full responsibility for this behavior, and intend to make it up by writing this story and sharing my family history with my own family for the rest of my time.”