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Falcon man conquers dyslexia to become an author

Unlike many book authors, Jimmy Fox did not excel in school. Growing up on a farm in Maryland during the 1940s, he had to repeat both the first and second grades. His teachers often referred to Fox as immature, lazy and trying to be a “funny man,” when he wrote letters backwards. For that he’d get whacked across the knuckles with a yardstick.But Fox said his parents knew their son was bright, and they didn’t believe he had behavioral problems. His mother found a tutor, who recognized that Fox saw letters in almost their mirror image. “I was trying to read from right to left, and my teacher, Mrs. Annin, retrained my brain to read left to right,” Fox said. Through constant repetition, Fox did learn to read and write but it’s been a lifelong struggle, he said.Years later, after his youngest son exhibited the same signs as Fox did in his childhood; he discovered that their shared problem had a name – dyslexia.Fox graduated from high school, and eventually married and had two sons: Chuck and Mark. He continued farming. Fox said his marriage failed early on, leaving him in debt. He rented his house and lived in the basement. “There wasn’t a lot of money to be made in farming,” he said. “I loved it, but knew I needed to do something else in addition to farming to earn a living.” He started a landscaping business, and it grew and became successful. But he said he missed having someone with whom to share his success. That changed when he attended a funeral of a lifetime friend, John Raver.At the funeral, he ran into Raver’s granddaughter, Mary Martin. He said he used to baby sit Mary when their parents played cards. He was 13 years older. However, after they went out for coffee, the two found a relationship and married about a year later.In 1976, they took a 49-day winter camping vacation and visited friends in Colorado. “We both fell in love with Colorado and knew someday we would move here,” Mary Fox said. They visited almost every year from then on.In 1977, Mary Fox gave birth to their son, David, who was the catalyst for a book idea. When young David needed family history information for a school assignment, Fox said he began researching his family tree, recording on paper his favorite memories. Around the same time, he found out he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. While receiving heavy doses of chemotherapy, Fox dictated stories many stories to David. In 1993, doctors declared his cancer in remission.In 1996, Mary Fox received a job offer in Denver. “Everything fell into place quickly,” Mary Fox said. Their home, farm, livestock, the landscaping business, and machinery, all sold without a single advertisement, and they moved to Colorado. “It was God working in our lives,” Jimmy Fox said. However, the cancer returned in 1997. Fox, once again, beat it. “I think cancer was a gift for me,” he said. “My faith in the Lord grew, and I really began to work on my book.” He also freelanced as a writer and wrote cowboy poetry.In 2002, Mary Fox accepted a job in Colorado Springs, and they found a home in Falcon. They said it reminds them of the simple life they lived as children in Maryland.After 13 years, with his wife’s help, Fox finished his book, “The Legacy of a Country Boy: Life on the Farm.The book is an easy read filled with touching, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking short stories about family. Fox shares a culture and lifestyle – a simpler life – that will have readers longing for the “good old days.” He has included 60 photographs, 19 drawings and 15 pages of family recipes.The book is available at all the major bookstores or stop by Grace Community Church on McLaughlin road in Falcon. Jimmy Fox is donating 40 percent of all books sold through the church to the Grace Community Church building fund.

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