Thursday, June 1, 2006

William FRANK Sparks

My father was called Frank. He may have been named William Francis but he never used that name and he didn't like William. Sometimes, teasing him, my mother would call him 'Franklin.' The third child of Alie Sparks and Mary Elizabeth Hager, Frank was a mild mannered, educated man who treasured his family.

He was a police officer in Kenova in the 1930s. There was a chief and 3
officers I think I remember daddy telling me. Bootlegging continued to flow from Catlettsburg, KY into and through Kenova and on to Huntington in those days. Daddy said he knew one man that was a bootlegger, was SURE he was doing it, but was never able to catch him. Daddy said the man's Ford was a souped-up one and capable of great speed but he never saw him speeding. He always came across the bridge into Kenova, usually on a Thursday night around 10:00pm each week. Daddy would turn on his lights, the guy would pull over, and daddy would search the car without any luck until ONE particular night.

He said that for whatever reason, instead of pulling up behind the guy, he did
a U-turn and pulled up with his lights on, facing him. He got out and
went to the side of the car while the guy proceeded to lazily get out of the
car. Daddy said he searched everywhere, looking for a stash of liquor to no avail.
Disgusted he told him to drive on and turned to walk back to his car. As
he did so, he KICKED the front tire of the man's car in disgust. It made a
funny clunking noise and daddy said the guy jumped in the car and started the
motor. Daddy reached through the window and grabbed the keys, turning the
motor off, and proceed to put the guy in cuffs. Then he jacked the car,
removed the tire, to find the inner tube filled with booze. All four tires
were full!! The guy went to jail, and the booze was disposed of in the Ohio
River - bet those fish swam funny for awhile!! LOL And daddy said the man
stopped bootlegging!!

I love this story and hope you enjoyed it too!!

One year during the big war - WWII - we were without a car. Daddy had had
one of those old Fords where the battery was located under the floorboards on
the driver's side. He went out one morning to go to work and the car wouldn't
start. He checked the engine, and then looked at the battery which was
MISSING!! Someone needing a battery worse than we did, hadtaken it during the

Daddy tried for two weeks to find another battery with no luck - all such
were for the war effort - and then just before Christmas our "ice box" which
was really a refrigerator broke. Daddy worked for an electrical appliance
wholesaler so getting a refrigerator wasn't a problem. Getting the money to get
one WAS!!

So Daddy sold the useless car to get the money to buy the brand new bigger,
sparkling white refrigerator!! It gleamed in our small kitchen and held the
Christmas ham and other Christmas goodies. And Daddy rode the bus to and from
work which fortunately stopped only one block from our house. But the time
came to get the Christmas tree and we had no car to haul it.

Daddy and I boarded the bus, wrapped to the 'gills' :-) in our heavy
coats/scarfs and hats. It was really cold, and the air had a snap to it as it curled
around our heads and nipped at our noses. The warm bus interior actually
felt stifling in its place. At the first sign of a Christmas tree lot, we pulled
the cord to stop the bus and got off to look for our tree. Now our tree was
always a huge one and sometimes Daddy even 'built' it using two trees,
nails/hammer and string to hold it together. This Christmas year at the first lot,
there seemed to be no big, tall trees, just little 5 foot ones and those were
sparse and spare!

We waited 15 min for another bus to come by, stamping our feet and blowing
on our gloved fingers to try to stay a little warm, and boarded with our
transfer slips in hand, requesting a new transfer from this bus driver. And we got
off at the second lot, and the third and the fourth and more. No Christmas
trees fit our preconceived idea of what a tree should be. Finally on the other
side of town at a lot near our state capitol building we found the tree. It
was huge, it had only one bare spot which Daddy said could be turned into the
corner where our tree sat, so we bought that tree. It cost $15.00, a lot of
money for that time period.

And so there we were on the lot with a tree and miles from home, and Daddy
walked across the street to a house whose occupants he did not know, while I
protected "THE TREE." He knocked on the door and when a woman answered, he
asked if she would call a taxi to come so we could get our tree home. The woman looked as though she were going to close the door and Daddy motioned toward me and the tree and the woman smiled.

She called a cab for us after wishing Daddy a Merry Christmas!

The taxi came and the driver and Daddy tied the tree into the trunk of the
car and Daddy tied his scarf to the top, sticking out behind in warning. We and
'the tree' arrived home. It was set on the porch and we went in with our
noses red and fingertips cold to warm cocoa and Christmas cookies.

Later Daddy built the crossbars to hold it and set the tree up in the corner
of the living room. I lay on the floor under the bare tree, dreaming of
Santa's visit and the joys to come, enjoying the pine scent of Christmas! No
artificial pine scent can ever replace that true smell of Christmas to come! No
artificial tree can ever hold such memories.

Descendants of William Frank Sparks

1 William Frank Sparks b: 31 Jan 1905 in Wayne Co., WVa. d: 23 Jan 1999 in Charleston, Kanawha Co., WV Sex: Male
. +Shirley Evelyn Mayo b: 01 Nov 1916 in Ceredo, Wayne Co., WVa. m: 09 Feb 1935 in Beckley, WVa. d: 02 Oct 2004 in Heartland Nursing Home, Charleston, Kanawha Co., WV Sex: Female Father: James Glen Mayo Mother: Elizabeth Margaret Carey
... 2 Nancy Lou Sparks b: in Charleston, Kanawha, WV Sex: Female
....... +Richard Philbert Morrison b: in Richmond, Va. m: in Huntington, WVa. Sex: Male Father: Frederick Elmer Morrison Mother: Agnes Montgomery Butler
... 2 Peggy Joan Sparks b: in Charleston, W.Va. Sex: Female
....... +James Allen Hanshaw b: m: in Charleston, WVa. Sex: Male

1 comment:

sisbur1937 said...

handsome man- his eyes were "alive" in the photo- you could see personality- lorene