Mother Cox and Mount Olive
Mother Cox was not very tall, only five feet, two inches, but since she often wore big hats with high crowns, which made her look taller, I never thought of her as being short. Her “crowning glory” were her beautiful, large brown eyes. Today, those eyes look back at you from the faces of her son Zach, her daughter Eugenia, and some of her fifteen grandchildren.
Mother Cox loved babies, and to her, each new arrival seemed more beautiful than the last. She came to Baltimore and helped me during the birth of some of our children. When it was time for my first baby, Gerry, to arrive, she rode in the taxi with us to the hospital. We didn’t own a car, the driver was afraid I would have the baby on the way, but she assured him we had plenty of time. I wasn’t so sure – little did I know I still had hours “of pushing.” When the baby, all red and wrinkled, finally did arrive, I took one look at her and started crying. Bob didn’t think the baby looked so good either. Neither of us had ever seen a new born baby before. Mother Cox said, “What is wrong with you two? She’ll be beautiful in a few days.” Mother Cox was right, and today she is a lovely lady with two children of her own.
When my second child, Leighton, was born, two years later, Mother Cox came to Baltimore again to help me. This time she had hardly arrived before she received word that her brother Paul had died, and she had to leave immediately to go to his funeral. When Kathy, our third child, was born, eighteen months later, Mother and Father Cox arrived with Frances, who stayed and helped me for several weeks. She had helped take care of Zach and Bob when they were little. By the time Allen was born, our fourth and last child, we could afford to hire a nurse.
Every Christmas and summer, when Bob had a few days off from work at the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River, Md., we would drive to Mount Olive, N.C. to see Mother and Father Cox, Zach and Mary Gwin and family, and the other Cox relatives. Sometimes, Dena and Ed would be there with their children. We would have a wonderful time!
Mabel, the beloved maid, walked to the R. L. Cox house to work, “rain or shine,” but about 5 p.m. someone always gave her a ride home. The real cook in the house was Mother Cox. She loved food and knew how to prepare it. She was often in the kitchen, working over the hot stove while Mabel was cleaning house or outside in the garden picking vegetables.
Father Cox had one of the best gardens in Mount Olive and he spend many hours, before and after work, in his garden. I will never forget his butterbeans, corn, and huge, red tomatoes. He also had fruit trees and the best peaches I’ve ever tasted. He was a generous man and he shared his garden’s bounty with many, including his Methodist minister. Bob tells me he also shared excess milk from his cows. Zach inherited the job of milking the cows when Bob worked away from home and went to college.
It was a real vacation and joy to go to Mount Olive to see Mother and Father Cox and their children and grandchildren.
Gerie Coburn Cox