Autobiography


Introduction

This autobiography is divided into five sections that include this introduction, my family background, fifth ward and professor days.  The approach is basically chronological but I do believe that each stage in my life has had a central theme.  The focus of each section will be on what I learned from that particular stage in my life.

Family Background

Both my parents were professors.  The house was always filled with books and intellectuals.  They both had extremely successful careers at Michigan State University.  My father is Hugh Fox Jr. and had a Ph. D in American Thought and Language.  My grandfather was an MD and was Hugh Fox senior.  I am Hugh Fox III. I think from my earliest years it was expected that I would get a doctorate and continue the family tradition.  I suppose if I had a son then he would be Hugh B. Fox IV and would also be expected to get a doctorate.

I spent several summers in Sun City, California with my grandparents.  My grandfather Hugh  Fox senior was very different from my father and humble about his education.  I would like to think I learned some life lessons from my grandfather in this regard but probably not!

Fox Family-Dr. Roberto Fantuzzi Portrait-Sun City News

My most vivid memories summers of that time were swimming at the community pool in Sun City.

Fox Children-Community Pool-Sun City News

Some of my father’s friends include the famous American beatnik authors Allen Gingsberg, and Charles Bukowski.   I talked with Allen Gingsberg and Charles Bukowski and got a lot of interesting ideas about life from them and other similar friends of my fathers.  I also met James T. Farrell, Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Diane de Prima, Richard Brautigan and countless other poets and novelists while growing up.  I really didn’t appreciate how lucky I was to meet some of the great writers of the US while growing up.

My mother is Lucia Fox Lockert and is from Peru originally but got her Doctorate at Illinois State University and spent the next 30 plus years of her life doing research and teaching in the area of Spanish Literature .  The fact that my mother is from Peru means that I basically grew up in a bilingual/bicultural household. I was very aware of both US and Latin American intellectual traditions. My mother had very different friends than my father including Luis Borges .  Below is a picture of me as a teenager with Borges.  I am the one with a beard.

Hugh Fox III and Luis Borges

Borges viewed the world in a totally different way than someone like Gingsberg or Bukowski and he would often ask very enigmatic questions in the middle of a conversation.  Years later I realized how lucky I was to have an opportunity to talk with some of the great thinkers of our generation as a teenager.

My mother did make sure that I went to Latin American schools for three years. I did realize at an early age that there was big world beyond the borders of the US.  My mother was determined that I learn Spanish.  I spent fourth grade studying at Colegio Schönthal in Caracas, Venezuela.  I studied at Colegio Claret a Venezuelan school for fifth grade.  I studied at a public school in Argentina for seventh grade.  I also I also spent a year in the Sierra Madre of Mexico when I was three.  I spent summers in Peru with my mother’s family.  I do speak, read and write Spanish fluently thanks to my mother’s efforts.

My mother and father were connected to very different intellectual traditions but from both of them I gained an enduring belief and love in the intellectual method for figuring out problems both cosmic and mundane.  I was lucky enough to graduate from an excellent high school, East Lansing High School.  One of the alumni of East Lansing High School is Larry Page: CEO and co-founder of Google Inc.

Fifth Ward

I got my bachelor’s and teaching certification from Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan and did not go straight on to get a Master and Doctorate and then become a professor as my parents expected.    I felt that I needed some life experience above and beyond going to school.  With my brand new teaching certificate, a brand new wife, a 20-year car and 200 dollars in savings I drove to Texas from Michigan.  At the time the Texas economy was booming and teaching jobs abounded.  Michigan was the rust belt and teachers were being laid off.  I could justify my move on economic grounds but in truth it was time to hit the open highway like so many young Americans before me.   I am sure Bukowski would have approved and asked to have a beer in Texas for him.  Borges probably would have asked some question like “Are you looking for a job or yourself?”  Both views have their place.

I taught ESL and social studies in Fleming Middle School in the Fifth Ward of Houston for five years.  The room next to mine saw ten teachers come and go in that period.  Fleming Middle School was a tough inner city school.  I learned that courage and calm can get your through just about any experience.  I also learned that sometimes you are most needed where you are least expected.  Any good karma I have garnered in this lifetime was during those five years teaching at Fleming Middle School.

Professor Days

I went to Texas A&M University for five years from which I received a Masters (Educational Psychology) and Doctorate (Curriculum and Instruction).  My main area of specialization is computer assisted language learning . After I graduated, I was an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas for a year but the desert terrain soon got on my nerves.  They have no sewers in Lubbock because it never rains, literally.  One of my favorite cities in the world is San Antonio and when I saw a job opening in that city I jumped at it.

I was an Associate Professor at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio in the teacher education program for six years.   I taught ESL methodology and language acquisition theory.  I created and administered a M.Ed. in educational technology at OLLU.  I was on the committee which set up a computer based language lab at OLLU.  I was 39 in 1999 and decided to do a sabbatical year in China.  I suppose seeing so much of Latin America when I was young created a taste for exploration.

I got a job at Suzhou Railway Teacher College in Suzhou, China as a Visiting Professor.  I spent one incredible year there.  China was great and I would still be there except for the small problem, money.  At the time, a well-paid professor in China made three thousand dollars a year!  China is cheap but not that cheap.  I liked the Chinese adventure but I also like money.  Also you need more than three hundred a month to have adventures in other Asian countries.  I started to write a novel while in China.  The novel was Half Square and I finished the novel years later in Taiwan.  I learned more in one year in China than in ten years in the US.  I craved more adventure and did not want to go back to the US.

I applied for a university job in Taiwan.  I was an Assistant Professor at Tunghai University for a year in Taichung Taiwan.  I was later an Assistant Professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei for six years.   Taiwan offered good pay and a perfect base from which to explore Asia due to its central location.  During my years in Taiwan, I visited Australia, Brunei, Guam, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.  After seven years in Taiwan, I had finished my novel Half Square but felt I had gotten into a rut.

I opted for more money and more adventure at Chungnam National University in Dajeon, SouthKorea for a year.  I then taught at the Nagoya University of Commerce and Business in Japan for a semester.  I decided I had enough of the cold of NE Asia and relocated to the warm climes of Thailand.  Ironically I could make more money as a school teacher than a professor in Thailand unlike NE Asia.  I gave the K-12 system one more shot at Sunflower Trilingual School for a semester.  Children are fun but exhausting and applied to the one university in Thailand that was next to a beach.  I have been teaching at Burapha International College in Bangsaen, Thailand for over seven years.  I would say that there are many ways to live life and one should be totally open to new experiences.

 

19 responses to “Autobiography

  1. Hello Hugh,

    it’ my great honor to be able to make the first comment on this blog!
    I think, I’ve found some stuff really interesting, enjoyed much.

    A question: don’t you think that the present best friend of U.S.A should try to upgrade his intellectual capacity, especially in dealing with the beef troubles? 2(Lee) MB … not enough!

    have a nice weekend! ^^

  2. This picture looks nothing like you. The person in this picture is Asian. Why would you post someone else’s picture on your blog?

  3. Hey its me! Asian? I would say young not Asian. The picture was taken at an earlier date in my life but I am not saying how early. This is my blog not a dating site and I allowed some lee way in this area.

  4. Hi, Hugh,

    I never knew that your mother put you in Latin American schools for three years until I read this biography. I was actually wonder why your Spanish is so good. Now I know the reason. I am going to put my five year old son in China to study for 5 months. I guess I am doing the right thing. What a comfort after I read your biograph! Thanks!

  5. Hello, Hugh
    I am the student who is listening to your English Conversation class.
    Finally I enter your blog. I am studying the test of your class when I remember your blog.
    Your blog is very interesting so I will read all of the contens.
    The last day of your class is tomorrow. I will miss you ,your fun jokes and class. I hope that you always enjoys your life.
    Thanks!!!

  6. Thanks for the kind wishes! I have really enjoyed my Korean students.

  7. Hi, Hugh !
    I am the student in your english class.
    That’s so amazing about your father.
    hoho….
    I’m litte at english….
    so…. goodbye

  8. ….I don’t know, where is Hellowkitty VS Snoopy…….

  9. It has been a long time and, indeed, there are some fascinating components to your blog. Hope all is going well for you out there Hugh.

  10. Smile look just above the banner and you will see a ton of pages. They are in alphabetical order or type Hello Kitty into the search box.

  11. Dave,

    I would totally recommend Korea over Taiwan. Looks like I will be going to Japan next! Korea agrees with me a lot more than Taiwan and if Japan doesn’t work out then back to Korea!

  12. Hi Hugh,

    being back at home I just read some of your blogs and smile about the missing 19 inch… 😉 Thank you once again for the city tour in Daejeon!

    Good luck, and next time we will see us in Japan!

  13. Yeah keep in touch! Next stop Japan!

  14. Fox!

    I tried to find your personal e-mail address in this blog, but i coudn’t find.

    I really wanted to take youe class again.
    But now you must be in Japan.
    How’s it going? better than Korea?

    I hope to see you again!
    take care

  15. Hola Hugo , soy Nati , hija de Mario, tu tio hno. de tu Mama , estuve casada con un Koreano por 10 anos y vivi en Pusan y Seoul , me encanta korea, me gusto leer parte de tu vida e historias.

  16. Hi Hughie, I remember the days when you teach me how to play Chess in the 70’s in Peru and read your books about Buddah,we were young and wild,like good Arians we go around conquering new frontiers…I’m your cousin Carlos….best wishes Hugh.Hope to see and read more of you.

  17. Dear Nati and Carlos,

    Glad to hear from both of you. Korea is great but the won went down 37% this year vs. the yen going up 10% the same year so moving to this year Japan turned out to be a great move financially.

    Take Care,

    Hugh

  18. hi ,Hugh

    I ‘m a Thai subject teacher in Sunflower Trilingual school who didnt know what the blog means…hahaha…now u remember me right ?
    Congratulations on your new job in the university .To be honest , i think it really fits u more than highschool. Keep in touch .

    Sarah

  19. I’m your father’s first cousin- send me an e mail so we can keep in touch.

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