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She’s the Homecoming Queen at 82

She’s the Homecoming Queen at 82

Before planning Elm, we caught up with some of the residents of Outlook Mission Bay to understand how they’re enjoying apartment living. We sat down with Glennis and Bob O’Connor to hear their unique story.

These days, it’s not uncommon for people to move back home 5 or even 10 years after they move out. In the fifties, it was a completely different story. Glennis Arndt moved out of her family home in 1956 to marry Bob O’Connor. 63 years later, still married to Bob, she moved back home.

For 10 years of her childhood, Glennis lived at 236 Kepa Road. One of the sites now occupied by Outlook Mission Bay. A couple of years ago, their daughters stopped in and told Glennis they’d taken a look at what was going on at their Nana and Pop’s old site. Blown away by the quality and style of the project, the girls told their parents they needed to go check it out. Glennis wasn’t having a bar of it. Yes, her and Bob were getting a little older, but they were still incredibly active, and perfectly happy in their 3 bedroom home in Glendowie. Why would they go and look at an apartment? Even if it was built on the same land as her old home.

But her girls got her thinking. And one day, not too long after, curiosity got the better of her. She was driving along Kepa Road and stopped in at the showroom.

Sitting across the table today, Bob’s smile says it all. At home in their new apartment, gazing out over the ocean to Rangitoto, you can see he’s in his element as Glennis tells the story.

Sitting across the table today, Bob’s smile says it all. At home in their new apartment, gazing out over the ocean to Rangitoto, you can see he’s in his element as Glennis tells the story.  “I was really impressed with what I saw,” she says smiling. “I went back home and I said, ‘Bob, you’d better come and have a look at this.’” If them sitting in their Outlook apartment isn’t enough of a spoiler, Bob also liked what he saw.

But the most interesting part of the story really is the history Glennis shares with the place. “I moved here with mum and dad and my brother when I was 9 years old, and there was absolutely nothing across the road but paddocks and animals.”

As she goes on to talk of days spent blackberrying, mushrooming and playing in the bush, before being swept away by Bob to get married at the age of 19, it all seems a world away from the brand new apartment we sit in together. In the six decades since she left home, the area has become almost unrecognisable. Yet at the same time, the reason her parents moved here and the reason her and Bob moved back, aren’t that different. It’s about quality of life. Her parents moved them into a brand new state house to give their kids a great lifestyle. Glennis and Bob have moved into their brand new apartment to give themselves a lifestyle they could never dream of when they were younger.

“For the first two or three weeks I felt like I was on holiday. It’s so handy to everything. We’ve got everything just across the road.”

— Glennis

She’s referring to the paddocks of her childhood, now Eastridge - a place where all their necessities, from doctors and dentists to haircuts and the weekly shop, are covered. There’s even a new high end foodcourt. While it’s ideal for some, Glennis and Bob don’t seem the type to be out enjoying fancy meals often.

Fresh out of the oven and oh, so yummy

When we arrived, Glennis was baking cookies for family and she regularly cooks meals for those in their community, including their parish priest who they feed several nights a week.

Bob is also heavily involved in the community. Always a keen sportsman, he’s still actively involved in the local bowls and croquet clubs. They’ve stayed close enough to keep all their connections and the beauty of apartment living means they have more time to spend on these things that are really important to them. 

Glennis Laughs

The housework doesn’t take as long, that’s for sure.

“You don’t have to do the gardening, you don’t have to cut the lawns. That’s the ideal situation.” adds Bob before looking back out at the view.

If this is what heaven is like, I’m happy to die now.

— Bob