Quilt honors six decades of motherhood

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

Eighty-year-old Gladys Cox makes raising children sound easy.

To hear her talk, there's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about it.

"It's all fun; if I hadn't wanted them I wouldn't have had them," Cox said. "Well, you have to work, yes you do, a lot of work. But I enjoyed every bit of it."

Email newsletter signup

What she's neglected to mention about the enjoyable process of raising children is that she has repeated it 16 times.

"Well, I don't know, that's just the natural thing I guess, if you're married," Cox said with a laugh. "And I waited until I was married to have any."

Gladys Cox has given birth 15 times, but is actually mother to 16 children, one of whom is adopted.

One of the more amazing things about Cox's 15 pregnancies is that she had them all within the span of 20 years.

Gladys' oldest child, her son Ira, passed away more than a decade ago. He'd be 61 this year. Her youngest will turn 41 later this month.

Though it may not have always been easy to keep them all clothed and fed, Cox kept her children from going without.

"I always took care of my kids, and made sure they had what they needed," Cox said. "Not what they asked for, but what they needed."

Repaying her kindness on the holidays is understandably difficult for her children, by now, figuring out how many Mother's Day gifts Gladys Cox had received would require a scientific calculator and graph paper.

So, what to get for the woman who has been given everything? Daughter-in-law Melaney Cox's answer was simply to make something. She has fashioned a very special quilt for the mother-in-law who had always made her feel like part of the family.

The blanket features a square for each of Gladys Cox's children, and around the border - the names of her grandchildren - all 51 of them. Melaney Cox said that she didn't even attempt great-grandchildren.

Melaney's father was one of 10 children, so she's used to big families. What surprised her was how Gladys Cox makes every one her children feel special, a favor she hoped to return with the handmade quilt.

"She's such an amazing woman, and it's hard to find something that someone else isn't going to come up with," Melaney Cox said. "So I thought this way she could have something to keep her warm and she could always have her kids with her."