PrimeTime Magazine Spring 2020 - Page 6

How a secure and caring environment and life-long friendships help four ‘Richibucto Girls’ stay happy and healthy MARGARET PATRICIA EATON This is the story of four best friends: Bella Spence, Doris Fitzpatrick, Irene LeBlanc, and Simone Gallant. They went to school together, sang in the choir, had loads of fun, and to the tune of Ta-ra-raboom-de-yay, sang: “We are the Richibucto girls, we wear our hair in curls, we wear our dungarees rolled up to our knees…” As adults, they went in different directions. Bella married, had one son, and worked as the Activity Director at the Rexton Nursing Home. Doris worked for Bell Telephone in Ontario for 32 years. Irene was a private duty nurse in the US for seven years before returning to Kent County as a Public Health Nurse. Simone enjoyed a 33-year career as a French Second Language and French Immersion teacher. It took her from a two-room school near Campbellton to Vancouver Island, to The Netherlands with the Department of National Defence and back to Kent County. After three decades the four were reunited in Richibucto. “It was like we’d never been 6 PrimeTime SUMMER/ÉTÉ 2020 apart,” Bella says, recalling how they got together every Friday night to play cards and raise money for worthy causes. As years went by they recognized that living in their own homes presented challenges. It was Bella’s son who helped her find the perfect solution — her own apartment in Royal Court, the independent living quarters at Parkland Estates. When the others visited her, they were impressed, and one by one, first Doris, next Irene and then three years ago Simone, moved in. At last the four were reunited, ready Four life-long friends from Richibucto love living independently at Parkland Estates. From left to right: Doris Fitzpatrick, Irene LeBlanc, Simone Gallant, Bella Spence. to resume Friday night card games. “We are treated like royalty here,” Bella says, “and the staff is so good. They always find time to listen to us. I love it here and my son doesn’t have to worry about me, because the staff go out of their way to be good to us.” This has been especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic. We spoke with each of the