Parties, Pools & Parades
Family history as told by sisters Mimi Robeson and Margo Pope.
Mariam (Mimi) and Margo Cox spent their youth in the town of Saint Augustine. Growing up the two sisters lived at a house on Marine Street which at one point was flooded during Hurricane Dora. Their father was the coach of a local Catholic high school. It was within the city of Saint Augustine that the two of them, along with their brother Reddy Cox would spend their adolescence developing a strong sense of community. Some of these community ties would come from local events such as those from the church. Other significant moments of their youth would be provided by places such as Flagler. Where ever they might have originated from, these community ties allowed Mimi and Margo Cox to have a rich childhood full of various and wonderful experiences.
In this photo, a promotional image for a fundraiser called Loud Skirt Night is shown. The picture shows three children having a tea party together: Miriam Cox, Cecilia McCarter, and Cathy DeVito. All three girls are dressed up formally, wearing large skirts with bright and flashy patterns. Before the Flagler Hotel became the college it is today, the estate held an integral part to the community of Saint Augustine. Many events were held within the rooms of the building, functioning to serve both clubs, schools, and other gatherings. In the dining hall, homecoming was held for the juniors and seniors of the local high school, and prom was held in one of the elegant ballrooms within the property. This image was taken in the Flagler room of the hotel, and meant to promote the fundraiser created by the local Pilot Club. This fundraiser would include awards for participants in the event, such as an award for the most beautiful skirt and an award for the most loud patterned skirt. This photo, a fond memory from Mimi's childhood is still used now and again in the informational boards downstairs in Ponce Hall.
Alongside serving to host community events and activities, Flagler also provided Mimi and Margo with fond memories in other regards, particularly during those hot summer months. The Flagler pool was not reserved solely for the residents of the Flagler Hotel. In fact the Flagler pool was often used by both guests of the Flagler Hotel and residents of the city alike. During June and July the estate would open the pool to allow local members of the community to swim and enjoy the pool during the summer heat. However locals did not only swim there. Some individuals within the city also worked there during the summer serving as lifeguards as well. Because of its easy walking distance from the downtown area of the Saint Augustine, the swimming pool proved to be a popular location. The Cox family, including Mimi pictured above, would often take advantage of the hotel's memberships and enjoy the relief of the cool poolside during the summer days. Margo would learn to swim at the pool in her early years. In later years she would then go on to join the swim team. The two also recollect other activities around the Flagler pool that are not present today. Some of the features included a clay based tennis court on the premises, formerly residing where the gazebo on the West Lawn is today. They also recollect a shower room where the laundry rooms are and a golf course existing where the oak tree is on the property as well.
Memories of their youth was not only reserved around Flagler. This photograph shows Mimi Cox and Pat McAloon standing together in front of the Bridge of Lions dressed very formally. The two of them had been crowned Mr. and Ms. Freshman by their student body at their high school. This photo was used in the yearbook called the Guardian for their high school Saint Joseph's Academy. The academy, formerly located on St. George Street before it was torn down, was a local catholic high school. This photo from their youth has gone on to appear in many places, even within the Saint Augustine historical society.
The Cox family also had strong ties with their religious community as well. This is especially evident Easter Sunday held special memories for Margo and Mimi, conjuring up images of hats made out of bread baskets and their special carriage ride through town. In the second photo is Angela, Reddy, and Margo Cox seated in a flower covered Cooley carriage. Margo and her mother are adorned in matching dresses for the occasion and her father would always give their mother orchids for that Sunday. The Saturday before church Margo and Mimi's father would go to the bayfront and rent a horse carriage. This carriage would arrive after 9 am mass and take the family on a tour of local Saint Augustine. The two have fond memories of the experience riding around town every year with their family.
Another event is that of the Blessing of the Fleet. Pictured in the photo are Mimi and Margo's brother Reddy Cox and his friend David Toner. At the time of the photo the two were in 8th grade and 11th grade respectively. After 11:30 mass on Palm Sunday, the two boys marched in the procession of the Altar servers in March of 1963. This event still transpires every Palm Sunday in the Catholic Church of Saint Augustine. In addition to this, their father, being previously mentioned as the coach of the Catholic high school, would also take Margo to the local convent every Sunday. There she would meet with the local nuns such as Sister Ambrose and spend time with them on the nun's visitation day.
Overall both Margo and Mimi Cox spent their youth rich with fond memories of their youth and obtained wonderful experiences they still happily look back on. Spread around town are parts of their youth, intertwined with the history of the town. Whether it be memories of Easter Sunday, Palm Sunday, or the summers spent swimming at the Flagler pool Margo and Mimi have had wonderful experiences within the town of Saint Augustine.