Born December 10, 1930, she was almost a Christmas present. She laughs and says “That’s why I’m Carol, for Christmas carol!” She has a jolly, twinkling smile that could outdo Santa. The only clue to her age is knees that don’t quite move as well as they did. That doesn’t stop Carol Fuss (German for Foot, she grins) arriving early twice a week for “SitNBeFit” exercise class. Her smile radiates as the group sits on comfortable chairs to stretch giant rubber bands, row-row-row their poles, circle their arms, point their toes and generally get a pretty good work-out.
Carol was born in Salina, Kansas but didn’t live there long. Seems the family moved every two years due to The Depression, lived in lots of little towns around Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and even landed in Waco, Texas. After high school graduation, her parents settled in Kansas City, Missouri where her mother had family. Carol didn’t settle! She left for Creighton University in Nebraska to major in Speech and Drama.
After college, she wanted a career in television in an era that consigned women to the secretarial pool. Not content to answer the phone, fetch coffee and type, Carol answered an ad by Hallmark Card Company for a verse-writer. Out of hundreds of verse submissions, she was chosen as one of twelve writers to be mentored by the existing writers. Carol says that group developed the most rewarding friendships of her life. She stayed at Hallmark for 2 years, but the group has kept in touch. Their reunions have been hysterical, their accomplishments historical. Her reminiscence of celebrating New Year’s Eve of the Millennium in Santa Fe, New Mexico waiting for the “crash” is full of laughs. With pride she mentions that one of the girls was the “mother of the Texas brat in the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.
Persistent Carol landed a job with KCMO/CBS television. She wrote copy, ran technical support, directed Romper Room— even worked with Walter Cronkite. It was the job she wanted, but her wandering spirit led her to Proctor & Gamble where she became a market research consultant. Then after four years, it was time to move on, so in 1961 she married philosophy professor Peter Fuss.
She did settle down to raise two children, now 45 and 49. Peter took a position at UMSL in 1969 so they settled in St. Louis. They did take a sabbatical in Munich, Germany, but they Truly Settled in St. Louis. Carol went to Washington University to earn her masters in Social Work and Counseling. She worked the next 30 years as an elementary school guidance counselor in the Ferguson/Florissant School district. Carol LOVES St. Louis. She calls it “the greatest secret treasure in the country” and she has SEEN the country. She praises the symphony, the live theater, Forest Park and Brentwood…yes, Brentwood! She loves the staff. Carol loves the SitNBeFit class. She loves the great group of people in the class. She loves the instructor-Joanne (you can read about her in a previous blog, too). And we love Carol!