After nearly 67 years living in the same Te Atatu Peninsula house, Lorna Lyons had no plans to move anywhere else.
But when an x-ray revealed she had a broken hip the 91-year-old decided it was time to re-think her future.
“I thought I’m not going to get any fitter as I get older and it’s best to decide while I’m able,” she says.
Not that Lorna had any idea her hip was broken. She had been attending her beloved line dancing sessions as usual but the pain got progressively worse until one night when it took her an hour and a half to get into bed.
“I couldn’t believe it when they said it was broken. I’ve had a bit of arthritis but I hadn’t had a fall or anything. All I could think was that I had jarred it when stepping down from a chair.”
Being a little on the diminuitive side at under 1.5m (4’ 10”), Lorna admits she’s always climbing on ladders and stools to reach things and hasn’t let age get in the way.
She laughs as she recalls the reaction from one of her eight grandchildren on hearing she’d been line dancing on a broken hip: “My granddaughter texted me saying she was proud to have such a ‘bad ass nana’!”
Her son helped her to find out some information about the new Ryman village being built on Lincoln Road, a location she liked as it was ‘close to where I have always been’, and when Sales Advisor Craig Atkinson showed her the plans for the show home she took the plunge.
Even then she had second thoughts a couple of times as the thought of moving was so strange.
When Lorna and her late husband Kevin bought their section and built their house back in 1954 there was nothing else around.
“We lived with my parents in Grey Lynn for the first four years of our marriage and then we heard this new subdivision was being built.
“There was no motorway then and we had no car until we’d been married for 16 years so Kevin would take the bus to his job as secretary for Auckland City Council.”
After the ‘horrible’ process of packing up the house and a lifetime of memories, Lorna was amazed at how easily she adapted to her new lifestyle.
“My first night in the apartment I slept so soundly!” she says. “And I haven’t looked back since.”
She has already made friends and is delighted at the new connections.
Her neighbour across the hallway, Lois, shares the same hairdresser. And Lyndon the village maintenance man started at Matipō Primary in her last year of working there in the office.
Her family and friends are thrilled for her, describing her new apartment as ‘beautiful’.
While Kevin is no longer with her to share the new experiences, every time Lorna sees a Monarch butterfly flutter past she knows he’s still keeping an eye on her.
“They say they send a message through either a butterfly, a bird or a feather and the day before he died a Monarch butterfly went past the window several times,” Lorna explains, just moments before a butterfly flew in through the window and fluttered around her apartment.
“Yes, that’s him. He’s still with me here.”