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How Marky Sparky Got His Name

Kids don’t come any cuter than my baby brother Mark, seven years my junior. He lit the world when he was born in 1963, raring to go. You couldn’t help but pay attention to him — he found fun in everything, smiled no matter what, and thoroughly enjoyed how much others enjoyed him.



Just take a look at his first slice of watermelon, first ear of corn, and first Christmas if you want to understand why we nicknamed him Marky Sparky. Who else would rather have a bucket than a present from under the Christmas tree?



What do you do if you’re two years old and there’s a glass of beer on the lawn? (Let's not ask why there was a glass of beer on the lawn.)

Apparently tiny black boots are the perfect accompaniment for a tiny red bathing suit. And water feels cold on the belly.



Anything can be a toy if you’re in the right mood.



Living a spark-filled life comes with plenty of calamities. Here, Mark explains how he leapt from one wooden-armed chair to another with undesirable results.

This wasn’t his first or last injury. There was the time he fell out of a shopping cart and hit his head on the concrete floor when he was about a year old. And the snowy day when he rode a toboggan into a park bench. As a fun-loving adult, he snapped an Achille’s tendon diving into a swimming pool and soon thereafter snapped the other one chasing kids up the stairs. Yet his smile returned every time.


Things have hardly settled down, now that Mark is pushing sixty. When he’s not on his bass boat or pontoon boat with a dozen fishing lines in the water, he's sitting in a tree stand with a compound bow ready to greet any deer who might come by his corn feeder. Or he's restoring a broken canoe or a dead ATV motor. Or he's grilling meat on the barbecue for a couple dozen of his closest friends as they toss back beers around his fire pit or throw darts in his garage. Or he's ripping an eyelid when groping for the woodpile in the dark and tripping into a sharp metal bracket. Life couldn't be much better for him.

Is it any wonder I’m as glad to see him as I was a half-century ago when he came home from his first day at school? He's a precious spark in my life.

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Susan Kirchner
Susan Kirchner
Apr 26, 2022

What a great read to get to know your beloved little brother from this perspective....thanks


Apr 26, 2022

Love cousin Marky Sparky - and love reading and seeing all about ... wait... we're both pushing 60?? (Janie Wanie Panie)

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