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A child-friendly store
                                                                                                     by F. Marie Foley

COX Variety Store
Cox Variety Store - by F. Marie Foley
Cox Inventory - Byron Crawford
Death of Dickie Cox 10-14-2007
Cox - End of an Era - Pam Cassady






















News-Democrat & Leader (December 1995)

Cox Variety Store in Auburn Kentucky

(by F. Marie Foley)

Charles Dickens wrote, "It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than
at Christmas."

When I was a little girl, I lived in Auburn and one of my loveliest memories is my visits to the Cox Variety Store. As an adult, 'if I am in Auburn at Christmas I visit there and if I am away I walk down each aisle in my memory, clearly seeing each treasure in its place. The china dolls with sparkling eyes, cardboard paper dolls and coloring books a plenty. On the shelves above the counter the whole animal kingdom lived.

The store 'was always child-friendly. Mr. and Mrs. Cox were always ready to answer a question or hand down some treasure from a high shelf a child wanted to see. As soon as school was out the store was full of boys and girls, with school bags, stopping for candy. As busy and crowded as the store became there was never one child rushed or hurried along. We took our time choosing what we would buy with our dime, or on the rare occasion a quarter. There were dozens of different candies and gum. Mr. and Mrs. Cox seemed to understand that choosing among all of these was difficult and that major decisions were in progress.

I remember my first visit to Bowling Green. The big stores with long aisles and two floors, seemed gigantic. I was scared stiff when I bumped into a mannequin, never having seen one before. In these stores one had to hold the hand of an adult and the key phrase was "Do Not Touch." On my trip home from Bowling Green that day, I gave my first day in the big city considerable thought I decided that we had at Mrs. Cox's store all the items in two aisles that took up two floors in the big stores in Bowling Green, and also I could be on my own with no "Do Not Touch" signs about. Arriving home, I immediately went next door and made my feelings on the matter known to my best friend, Gertrude Hadden. She smiled knowingly and said she though I had learned a lot that day.

When Christmas approached the variety store became a paradise. There was never more than a dollar to be spent, so it was imperative to decide wisely. In that magical sphere, I bought with much care and deliberation, all my Christmas gifts. Eventually, of course, I fell prey to the ailment most teenagers have, growing pains. I became too sophisticated for variety stores. The big department stores in Nashville claimed me. The elevators, escalators and Harvey's was the place for me.

While I grew away, the store I had loved did not change, or go away, I'm thankful to say. In time I found as do most young people that, growing up is more important than growing away.

In my travels, over these many years, in the U.S. and abroad, never have I found the quiet dignity and welcome that envelopes you when you open the door and the bell jingles at Cox's Variety Store.

My wish for every child in Auburn and elsewhere is that there will always be a Cox Variety Store, and that at Christmas there would be a sleigh, red wagon and china doll in the window; ladies buying boxed handkerchiefs and towels; and best of all a little girl dawdling over a bracelet or a gold heart on a chain, believing in dreams.


NEXT: - Cox Inventory - Byron Crawford  



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