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PHOTOS: Pelly sisters combine for almost 125 years of service at R.K. in Antigonish


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.    

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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 co-workers 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.

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