Al­most 125 years of com­bined ser­vice at R.K.

Pelly sis­ters re­mem­ber life­time of ‘amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence’

The Casket - - Local - COREY LEBLANC coreyle­blanc@the­cas­ket.ca

The Pelly sis­ters’ con­nec­tion to the R.K. Mac­don­ald Nurs­ing Home, to say the least, is a strong one.

The trio has worked, com­bined, al­most 125 years at the Antigo­nish fa­cil­ity.

“We were only ba­bies when we came,” Vicky said, with a laugh.

She is the new­comer, when it comes to ser­vice time, hav­ing 37 years un­der her belt, while Eva has 44. Kandy re­tired last year af­ter 43 years work­ing in the R.K. kitchen.

“It is nice when the res­i­dents know your name,” Eva said, when asked about favourite parts of her job.

“There is a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge ev­ery day,” Vicky said.

She added there have been “a lot of changes,” since she started work­ing there.

“I was scared to death,” Eva, with a laugh, said of her first day on the job, not­ing she had never worked with se­niors.

“It has been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” she added.

The sis­ters mar­velled at the changes with the Pleas­ant Street lo­ca­tion, in­clud­ing a pair of ad­di­tions, along with a so­lar­ium, where they re­flected a few hours be­fore an open house to cel­e­brate the R.K.’S 60th an­niver­sary.

“It is in­cred­i­ble,” Vicky, who has moved to man­age­ment af­ter time in the house­keep­ing and laun­dry de­part­ments, said of the evo­lu­tion.

And, of course, they have forged friend­ships with many peo­ple – res­i­dents and staff – who have touched their lives.

“We have peo­ple here now whose par­ents were in the R.K.,” Vicky noted.

They re­called one res­i­dent, then in her 90s, who en­joyed help­ing out – fold­ing socks in the laun­dry room.

“We knew her mother,” Eva noted of the ar­rival of her daugh­ter sev­eral years later.

Loss has also come with those re­la­tion­ships, peo­ple pass­ing away over the years.

“It is just like los­ing a mem­ber of the fam­ily,” Eva said.

There have also been co­work­ers who have re­tired.

“It is nice to see them start to en­joy that, but we re­ally miss them,” Vicky said.

Mem­o­rable mo­ments

Some of their myr­iad mem­o­ries aroused sev­eral chuck­les, in­clud­ing the day, Vicky said, staff mem­bers had “to push wa­ter out the front door,” af­ter a flood took place.

There was also the smoke from a can­dle that set off the sprin­kler sys­tem.

“That was a lot of fun,” Vicky quipped.

Or shov­el­ling snow out of an of­fice af­ter the win­dow had been left open overnight.

“We had a lot of laughs,” Eva said.

In ear­lier years, they noted, fe­male res­i­dents only wore dresses.

“Some­one showed her knees one day and ev­ery­one had a fit,” Vicky said.

Great times

The sis­ters said they ap­pre­ci­ate how they have been treated by their em­ploy­ers; first, the Con­gre­ga­tion of the Sis­ters of Saint Martha and then what they called “laypeo­ple.”

“They ran a tight ship,” Eva quipped of the Sis­ters.

Jok­ing aside, they said they have en­joyed their time at the R.K.

“Ev­ery day is what you make, but it has been great,” Vicky said.

Corey Leblanc

Sis­ters Eva (left) and Vicky Pelly have worked at the R.K. Mac­don­ald Nurs­ing Home in Antigo­nish for 44 and 37 years, re­spec­tively. Their sis­ter, Kandy, re­tired last year af­ter 43 years with the res­i­dence.

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