By Dr. Phyllis Qualls, 13th Episcopal District
Dressed in gold, the McCline Twins, Christella and Novella, still argue who was born first. They looked like queens as they sat on their royal throne in their special court. The throne was designed especially for them as they celebrated their 80th birthday with approximately 200 family, friends, and well-wishers at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
It was an event that was more than a milestone recognition, it was a celebration for the specialness of two great ladies. Born at Vanderbilt Hospital, reared in south Nashville, attended Metro Nashville Public Schools, and earned their bachelor degrees at Tennessee State University, they both also received their master’s degrees in counseling. These ladies are highly regarded as women of valor. Their celebration was a true tribute to their living a life of joyfulness.
Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones, host of Bobby Jones Presents seen on major networks throughout the world and formerly of Bobby Gospel on BET, served as the Master of Ceremonies for this momentous occasion. He and the twins were great friends while they all attended TSU. “Christella and Novella are wonderful ladies and I was honored to share their 80th birthday celebration with them,” said Jones.
Novella and Christella have traveled extensively. Novella has remained a Nashvillian throughout her life while Christella has lived in several cities and currently resides in Austin, Texas. Like twins, much of their lives are parallel. They had a double wedding, birthed two children each, and have belonged to the African Methodist Episcopal Church all of their lives. They both were elementary school teachers, junior and high school counselors, and retired in that post. After retirement, they both continued to work in the field of education and counseling.
The twins were full of joy and jubilance during the celebration. They talked, sang, and laughed, as they always do. “Our secret in life is to put God first and keep a positive attitude toward life,” said the twins.
Guests at the celebration came from Nashville and throughout the United States. They included California, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Connecticut. Additionally, the national president of Phi Delta Kappa Sorority, Inc., a teachers’ sorority, Dr. Etta Carter, attended and brought greetings from the national organization of which both twins are members. Mrs. Bobbie Williams, president of Alpha Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. brought greetings to recognize these two outstanding ladies, both of which were initiated in 1958 in the Alpha Psi Chapter while students at TSU.
Their children praised them for being beautiful mothers. They were lauded with words of wisdom from program participants and others. Pastor Howard Jones, senior pastor of Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church acknowledged the ladies by extolling, “You are queens, who should be honored, respected and protected.”