Ken Fuchs' Web World
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Hi. My name is Ken Fuchs, Kenneth Willis Fuchs to be exact. I am a retired school teacher, and I live in Temple, Texas. I was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1942 and have one younger brother named Steve. Our father was from Texas, and we moved to Texas in 1949, so that makes us Texans, too.
I attended Diamond Hill Elementary School in Fort Worth from 1949 to 1955. At that time it was decided that using the name Fox would cause less confusion, so all of my school records and yearbooks identify me as Kenneth Willis Fox.
My dad worked for the old Magnolia Oil Refinery in Fort Worth. When it closed in 1955, many of its employees were transferred to the Mobil Oil Refinery in Beaumont. I attended James Bowie Junior High School (1955-1958) and French High School. I was a member of the graduating class of 1961.
In the fall of 1961 I began my freshman year at the former Lamar State College of Technology, now Lamar University, in Beaumont. My senior year in high school I was chosen the outstanding student in English, so I chose to major in English in college. However, my real interest was studying German.
I had spent the summer of 1959 with relatives in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and for two of those weeks, I stayed with my paternal grandparents. When I woke up each morning, I could hear them chatting away in German as they enjoyed their morning coffee. Their grandparents had immigrated to Texas back in the 1840s, and German was their and my father's first language. From that time on I have had a life-long interest in the German language and my own German family history. When I began my studies at Lamar, the College did not offer a degree in Foreign Language, so I minored in both German and history.
After completing my junior year in college in 1964, I went to Germany for the summer , where I stayed in Mainz with my dad's younger brother Marion . I felt as though I were in an enchanted land. It was a remarkable time. The Berlin Wall was only three years old, and the hero of my idealistic youth, President John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated in Dallas only several months before . When the summer ended, I enrolled at the University of Mainz and attended classes until the following spring. After a three-week-long trip through Switzerland, France, and Spain as far as Gibraltar, on the back of a motorcycle with a fellow American student, in April 1965, I moved in with a German family who lived near Bremen in north Germany. There I worked at the Main Post Office for five months, and then in the fall of 1965 I returned home to complete my studies at Lamar College. That was when I decided to keep my family birthname. I had grown up using Fox, but after living a year in Germany, I was more than ever aware of my German heritage and realized I wanted to use Fuchs throughout my adult life. Ironically, the same week I had the name on my transcript officially changed from Fox to Fuchs, my dad and my brother legally changed their names from Fuchs to Fox.
After graduating from Lamar with a B.A. in English in the spring of 1966, I spent the next year doing graduate work in American Studies at Baylor University in Waco. In the spring of 1967, Jack Valenti, at that time the director of the Peace Corps, visited Baylor. When he spoke about the Peace Corps, I could hear President Kennedy talking to me. I applied and was invited to serve in South Korea, where I taught English at a commercial middle school on the semi-tropical Cheju Island, the southern-most part of South Korea. Like my experience in Germany, this was a very special time. The United States was heavily engaged in the Vietnam War, and during our second week in Korea, the U.S.S. Pueblo was seized by North Korean naval ships, and we feared that we would be sent back home before even beginning our assignments. Things did calm down, and I spent two very exciting, colorful years in Korea.
Upon returning home at Christmas 1969, I went back to Lamar University and got my teaching credentials. At Baylor I had done all of my graduate work except writing my thesis, so I applied for a teaching position in school districts in the Waco area. In August 1970 I began teaching English at Temple High School, where I taught sophomore and junior English. I never did go back to Baylor to complete my graduate work, but in 1976 the current German teacher moved, and I finally got the opportunity to teach German classes, which I did for eighteen years. I continued teaching English classes, and I also ran a computer lab and taught Business Computer classes for three years. In May 2000, I retired after teaching for thirty years at Temple High School.
In December 1973 I bought a small woodframe house in what became the Historic District in north Temple. It was built in 1925. In 1977 I acquired the empty lot next door, and now the enclosed backyard is a shady garden area with large trees and many iris beds, which are the pride of my partner Jim Landers, whom I met in March 1983.