Carolyn Fox of Belle Mead, New Jersey

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“Carolyn Fox of Belle Mead, New Jersey,” Friend, May 2001, 17

Making Friends:

Carolyn Fox of Belle Mead, New Jersey

Carolyn Fox (10) is grateful that her parents, Wayne and Colette Fox, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seventeen years ago. They were the first members of the Church in both of their families.

Carolyn is thankful for the gospel and tries to live so that she will be a good example for her relatives, friends, and neighbors who are members of other churches. Having many friends who belong to other faiths is not a problem for her. She knows that the Church is true, and she is comfortable being a Latter-day Saint. “My friends are good people who are trying to do what is right. I tell them about the Church so that they will understand some of the things I do. They’re really nice about it and don’t argue with me about who’s right and who’s wrong.”

Her older sister, Katie (12), was the first girl born into the Fox family in 110 years. For the first eight and a half years of her life, Katie wasn’t able to be physically active because of a spinal condition she was born with. When Carolyn was old enough, she spent a lot of time keeping Katie company. Two years ago, after receiving a priesthood blessing, Katie underwent back surgery to try to fix the problem with her back. Even her doctor couldn’t believe how well it went. Now, though Katie plays actively with her other friends, she and Carolyn still have a closeness that’s unmatched.

Because of that closeness, the sisters have learned much from each other. In Primary, Carolyn looks out for children who are having a hard time and helps them know that they have a friend and are loved. She learned to do that from her sister, Katie.

Family is very important to Carolyn. When Grandmother Fox passed away, Carolyn knew that her grandma was OK and that she would see her again. The family planned to do Grandma’s temple work as soon as possible—one year after her death. But Katie had a strong desire to be baptized for her grandmother, so the family waited an extra six months until Katie turned twelve, the age when you can be baptized for the dead.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, they went to the Washington D.C. Temple. Katie did the baptism, and her parents did the rest of the temple ordinances for Grandma. “It was really special,” Sister Fox explained. “It helped my children see that although we’re the only members in the family right now, because of Heavenly Father’s plan, our extended family can still be together forever.”

Carolyn couldn’t go into the temple because she isn’t old enough. “I felt left out,” she said. “But that’s OK, because in two years, if I live right, I can go to the temple and do baptisms for some of my other ancestors.”

She knows that many of her ancestors are waiting for her and her family to find them and do their temple work. As Carolyn learns the history and stories of her ancestors—who they were and what their lives were like—she learns to love and appreciate them. She wants them all to have the full blessings of the gospel.

The Fox family keep very busy with church, school, work, and community activities. When the outside pressures of their lives get to be too much, they play “Foxes Aren’t Home.” It is one of Carolyn’s favorite activities. The family is home, but they don’t answer the phone or invite friends over to play. Instead, for a few hours, they just close off the outside world. They play games or watch videos as a family. Everyone is musical, so sometimes they play music together. It’s a real treat.

Saturdays are also usually family days for the Foxes. They often visit a historical site or a museum, or they may stay home. When they do that, Carolyn likes to play board games, her all-time favorite thing to do with her family. First, she gathers up everyone she can talk into playing. The more who play, the happier she is. Playing with her family makes her feel good. She never wants a game to end. When playing time runs out, she makes careful notes of where everyone is in the game and whose turn it is. Then the next time they play, they can start right where they left off.

Like most children, Carolyn has chores. She puts away her and her sister’s clothes, empties the dishwasher, and keeps her room clean. She also likes to do extra things to help her family.

“I help Adam (14) and David (16) organize their closets. I feed the cat for Mom and sometimes put the dishes in the dishwasher for her. Mom is always there for me. If I come home crying because something happened in school, she’ll say, ‘OK, let’s talk about it.’ She makes me feel really good. So I try to make her feel good by leaving little love notes around for her to find during the day.”

As a special gift for her dad, Carolyn learned to play one of his favorite hymns, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” It is a difficult piece for a third-year piano student. “I worked and worked on it until I could do it,” she said. It is a special song for Brother Fox. Before he joined the Church, his father passed away. The next Sunday was Easter, and he went to the Methodist church. They sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” It caused him to think about the Savior and to realize that he really did believe in Christ’s resurrection and that his father would be resurrected. Since then, that hymn has always made him feel close to the Savior and to his father. Carolyn’s efforts to learn to play it make the hymn even more special.

Carolyn not only serves her family but helps them serve their neighbors. Three years ago there was a drought in New Jersey. When rain finally came, it came in the form of Hurricane Floyd. Suddenly there was too much water. The Foxes could not leave their neighborhood because all the roads to it were flooded. Their whole neighborhood was without power for four days.

Their home didn’t get flooded, but nearly every other house in their area had seven to eight feet of water in its basement. “The stream in our backyard turned into a river. For a while the children sailed down it on their boogie boards,” Sister Fox said. “But they soon gave that up and went and helped people.”

The Foxes own a large pump and spent the next four days pumping out basements. It was a marvelous experience for them. They got to know their neighbors, and their neighbors got to know them. While Dad ran the pump, Carolyn, Katie, Adam, and David swam around the basements trying to save some of the families’ possessions.

“Our children came to realize that possessions aren’t very important,” Sister Fox said. “If the families were OK, everything else would be OK. It unified the whole neighborhood, and all our neighbors found out we are members of the Church.”

Whether with her family or by herself, Carolyn tries to choose the right and be a good example by living the gospel the best she can.

Photographs by Corliss Clayton and Wayne Fox

1. The Foxes love to go adventuring on vacations. They get into their car and just start driving. The children say when or where to turn or stop. The adventure usually lasts about a week. It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they are together. Here Carolyn swings at Williamsburg, Virginia, during one adventure.

2. Carolyn loves having her whole family together, although it isn’t always possible. “David goes to boarding school,” Carolyn said. “He comes home weekends, but the rest of the time, I feel like there’s something missing—like when you put a puzzle together and there’s a piece missing.”

3. Carolyn and Katie are still best friends and like to play together.

4. Carolyn likes to paint and sculpt.

5. When the family plays games together, Carolyn likes the game to keep going and going and going.

6. “Something I really, really like about Dad is that he’s not afraid to come up to me, take me by the hand, and start dancing in the kitchen. Around and around and around.”