“My Brother - John Needham Cox”
As the seven childrent all started growing up and moving away from home that left fewer and fewer at home. This did not change in the least my parents care and love for the younger ones. One of the good things about being one of the younger children was that they got to drive a car to school. When I was in high school that would have been unheard of. There were a few students who drove cars to school but our family was not anywhere near that sort.
After returning from my tour the Navy in 1969 I remember looking at the house with astonishment. There was a television antenna on top. Granmother Oliver had moved in with Mom and Dad and she brought her TV with her.
My youngest sister Mary was a senior in high school. I actually was invited to be a chaperone for her Senior Beach Trip. I really felt like an old man. (I was 22 years old at the time)
A couple years after I arrived back in North Carolina I was home visiting Dad and he told me the grandest story about my youngest brother (and the youngest of the seven children) John Needham Cox. John was always to me this little little boy, the baby of the family. When I returned from the Navy he was the great big teenager, what a change. This was first person I ever knew as a newborn infant. I remember like it was yesterday Dad gathering his six children together in the living room and waiting till we were all perfectly quiet and then saying, "I've got some very important news to tell you all." And then he paused, waiting till he was sure that from the oldest Gwin who was eleven to the youngest Mary who was probably only two or three were all paying attention. That is no mean feat getting six children's attention at the same tiem. Finally we were all paying attention. I remember this because of the long pause. I could not imigine what news could be so important that he needed us all to at the same time listen like this. I was beginning to worry, what could be this important. Dad then said in a slow measured way, "You monther ... had a baby this morning ... A baby boy." All I could think was, "So what! What's the big deal!" Well it was a big deal. The youngest of seven and a boy. Over the years John was the cabosse, he did not make some of the family trips, I could not understand why I thought that having John along would be a great idea, but he missed the trip to Virginia Beach and the Great Outer Banks Camping Trip. During that trip to Virginia I remember being horribly homesick. Mom and Dad could not figure out why I was homesick, I remember missing John.
Dad was always looking for opportunities to show his children the virtues of financial responsibility. As each child reached their senior year in High School we would be introduced to a rite of passage that we would never forget. The senior class of Mount Olive High School in those days would always go on a Senior Trip. This trip was typically to Washington DC and New York City.
The rite of passage was to go with Dad down to the bank and take out a loan for the price of the trip. The amount was typically around one hundred dollars or so. Needless to say none of the children ever paid back a dime of this money and Dad probably could have paid for the trip without the loan. It was just a good way to teach his children their first lesson about finances. By the time Jim, John, and Mary got to their senior year in high school they attended the new consolidated high school, Southern Wayne High School. Sadly the senior trip was not possible for such a huge senior class. The new high school had a student body that exceed two thousand students and so each class was over five hundred.
John Cox was Dad`s only son who excelled in the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout (His grand son BC also became an Eagle). Also his senior year in High School was the occasion of the 13TH WORLD JAMBOREE - Asagiri Heights, near Fujinomiya City, 1971 on the island of Japan. Dad was ecstatic, here was a great chance, he would take John down to the bank and John could borrow the money necessary for the trip. Well John did not approach Dad about the money for the trip to Japan. As time grew near Dad began to worry. Finally he asked John, do you need any money for the trip? John replies, No. Dad cant believe this. When the story finally comes out it turns out that John has saved every single dime of his earnings at Cox Brothers for the past four years in order to go on this trip and has the eight hundered dollars necessary. Let it not be said that John did not pay attention to how Dad raised his children. The youngest of seven sees everything that comes before.
Zach D. Cox, Jr.