September 10, 2021


Tom’s Aunt Christine was a lovely person!  She was one of his father’s two sisters—the other one being Connie. It always seemed that Christine had an interesting life, a bit more exciting than her siblings. As a young woman from Columbia in Maury County, she came to Nashville for a job as a ticket agent for Pan American Airways.  Her young Connelly nephews thought it was an exciting job and loved to visit her at the airport.

This photo was taken in the early 1970’s when Christine flew to Columbia, South Carolina to visit us.  My mother Harriett and little Heather are sitting with her in our living room. She always wore her hair up, polished her nails, and dressed smartly.  Her bright eyes and smile conveyed her friendly disposition.

At some point she transferred with the airline to work in the Philadelphia area, where she met her husband Norman Mathey. Unable to have children of their own, they adopted young siblings, Leslie and Jeff.  When the children were young teenagers, their father died suddenly.  Leslie and Jeff had many emotional problems from their earliest childhood and Christine felt very vulnerable and alone so far from any of her relatives.

She decided to relocate to Nashville and bought a comfortable home near her brother Marlin. She worked for several years and struggled to help her children through many painful adjustments.  Life continued to be very difficult for them both.  

I loved the fact that she made the effort to come see us in our South Carolina home. Her fun-loving, adventurous spirit spread light wherever she went. She understood that her children were scarred from their early experiences and showed them unconditional love through the years.  She never tried to be anyone except who she was—and that was her gift to us all.

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