Charolotte Coxe has seen a lot of life in 98 years and is still as active and alert as ever. Coxe celebrated the milestone of her 98th birthday with friends and family at a party on Saturday, Aug 6, at her Highlands residence.
“Amazing” was the only word that Coxe could think of to describe how it felt to have so many people come to a party just for her.
“I’m a very lucky person,” Coxe reflected. “I’m very thankful for my life.”
“Everyone at the party had such a good time, were wishing her well and they stayed until the very last minute,” said Joyce, Coxe’s daughter. “Mom loves to go to and give parties.”
Coxe was born and raised in Miami, Fla. She married her high school sweetheart to whom she was married for 57 years. Her husband, Richard Coxe, was captain of the high school football team and later was the fire chief of Miami. Coxe was the registrar at the Miami Beach High School for 20 years until her retirement. During the summer months, Coxe and her family would come to the milder North Carolina mountains. As surprising as it may seem, Coxe said that she was 67 years old before she first saw snow.
“There are two things about getting old that have always annoyed me,” Coxe said jokingly. “One, my kids think I’m getting too old to drive and two, I can’t remember everyone’s names.” Coxe admitted that one thing she was proud of is that before retiring permanently to North Carolina, she drove for 82 years in Miami and never had a ticket or an accident. “If you can drive in Miami, then you can drive anywhere,” Coxe said.
Miami isn’t what it used to be, Coxe also admitted. That is why she decided to sell everything in Florida and move to North Carolina. “The only bad part about getting old is that the people I know are all gone,” she said.
When Coxe first came to Highlands with her mother during the summer in 1945, they cleared pine trees and built the first room of what is now her current home by themselves. Coxe said that she remembers Highlands when the main street was an old dirt road and every Saturday the farmers would come and sell vegetables right out of the bed of their trucks.
There was also an unbelievable difference in prices. According to Coxe, an ear of corn at that time was only five cents.
Traveling is one of Coxe's favorite things to do and she has traveled extensively. Coxe has visited Europe four times and has also visited Hong Kong, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii. If her health permits, Coxe says she wants to keep traveling. Coxe also said that she wants to visit the Panama Canal someday and this coming spring she wants to take a cruise somewhere. It is also Coxe’s fondest wish that she could walk along the Great Wall of China before she dies. Coxe said that she tells everyone she can to “travel while you are still young so when you are my age you have a lot to think about and remember.”
In the sci-fi film “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” Kirk and Spock are facing the end of their careers after one final mission aboard the starship Enterprise and Spock asks a very pointed question: “Is it possible that we have grown so old and so inflexible that we have outlived our usefulness?” Charolette Coxe would strongly disagree. She states that the key is finding something useful to keep a person busy everyday. “If you stay busy,” Coxe said, “then you won’t have time to get old.”
Coxe plays bridge three times a week and volunteers time every Tuesday at CareNet. “I’ve still got my marbles,” she commented. “I’m able to play bridge, volunteer, pay my bills and keep up with the rest of them and I don’t want to stop doing those things. If you stop using your brain, you lose it.”