Short Stories: Carol Fox
Carol Fox is an East Wilco resident and historian. She was among the six speakers presenting oral histories at the second “Deep in the Heart of Taylor” story night at Taylor’s Moody Museum, March 23, 2019.
Gary Border will be speaking about my father, so I will focus mainly on my mother, Marie Price. She was born in Frankston, Texas, and graduated from high school at 15. There was no money for college, but the older of her two brothers, Quannah, bought The Frankston Citizen newspaper and turned it into a family enterprise. My brother, Herman, was the linotype operator and printer. At 17, mother began working on the paper, wrote a weekly column and published her poetry in the paper. At 22, she became the editor.
My father, Henry Fox, or H. B. Fox, grew up in Granger and all seven of the children graduated from Southwestern. He said it seemed to be the rule: you graduated from high school, Southwestern and then had your appendix out.
Upon graduation, father boarded a train for New York City where he spent most of a year reading in the New York Public Library. He also gained an appreciation for the arts, especially ballet.
At 24 or 25, father bought the Centerville newspaper, then sold it to purchase the Madisonville Meteor. He also wrote a weekly column and before long my parents were exchanging barbs in their columns. Being shy, he asked his friend, Don Scarbrough, owner of the Williamson County Sun, to “check out” my mom. Don reported that Henry would be crazy not to make a move.
After a slow start, a whirlwind courtship resulted in their marriage, attended by the whole town of Frankston, who had been following the weekly back and forth columns.
Mother was an active partner of the Madisonville paper and also The Taylor Times. She became quite good at selling ads, becoming very involved in the advertiser’s lives by taking voluminous notes each year during her sales visits.
Both parents were writers and loved literature. Our home was filled with books and conversations about books. Father was quite self-disciplined while Mother was a free spirit, but they shared a tremendous sense of humor. They continued to trade barbs in their columns, enjoyed by readers.
Music was a big part of our lives. Mother played the violin and had taught herself to play the harmonica. One of our cousins was a wonderful pianist and could play almost anything by ear. Aunt Iris had a beautiful voice and mother could harmonize with anything.
Christmas was a special time and my brother and I received many gifts. My father always created the clue gifts for my brother, mother and me. There was a monetary prize, but we never guessed the gifts that ranged from a hundred pound sack of pecans to personalized saddle bags and the Sunday New York Times.
We always had horses and everyone rode. Mother’s strawberry roan quarterhorse was named Rosinante after Don Quizote’s horse.
Mother wrote short poems for everyone’s birthday as well as keeping up a voluminous family correspondence. She also had a humorous domestic column in Soil and Water Magazine while father was writing for the magazine. She also helped Aunt Hilda Fox with speeches and presentations to her numerous Taylor clubs.
In her seventies, Marie published two humorous essays in Byline Magazine. After her death, I found a poem she had written in her eighties – I have attached it below.
Marie Price Fox has a birthday
And here is something she should say:
Nobody else will write a rhyme
Like I do for y'all . . . , so I'm.
Now some might say I'm in a fix
Because I now sport 86
But that's a crawling baby sum
Compared to what is yet to come.
A sum, in fact, you surely know
Suggests it's way past time to go.
So make your bright and cute wisecracks
And then take time off to relax.
Now keep the candles bright and glowin'
Because, guess what? I ain't goin'.
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