Glen Lennox resident Robert Grantham took a circuitous path to the one-bedroom apartment that he has called home for the past 10 years. In 2008 he was a successful Raleigh accountant when a catastrophic respiratory illness left him at UNC’s Memorial Hospital fighting for his life. His recovery was slow, and after a lengthy hospital stay he was moved to a rehabilitation facility near Glen Lennox. As his health improved, he would exercise by walking the area. One day, on his regular walk, he stopped by the Glen Lennox rental office to see about a short-term apartment that would save him the commute from Raleigh for the care and rehab he still needed.
While he chose Glen Lennox strictly for its proximity to the hospital and rehab center, he found his apartment and the area suited him — so much so that he sold his Raleigh condominium. “There’s just something about Chapel Hill,” Grantham said. “There’s a small-town atmosphere that reminds me of Goldsboro, where I grew up. I really liked my apartment – the hardwood floors, the color scheme and the quality construction. It’s so quiet I can’t hear my next-door neighbors.”
He’d visited Chapel Hill in his youth, when his high school tennis team would travel by bus to play matches against UNC’s freshman squad. A lifelong athlete, Grantham knew that exercise was key to his continued wellbeing and quickly became a regular at Glen Lennox’s workout facility.
Grantham let his driver’s license expire and sold his car, saying “the bus system is just so good – not only efficient, it’s free!” Spoken like a true accountant. “I can hop on the G bus and be at the hospital in no time, or right down where the student stores and union are. Everything is close here. I can get groceries, prescriptions, everything I need with just a short walk.”
His exercise and rehab routine were time-consuming. He was able to retire, and did so to focus on his health and his artistic interests. Today his apartment is filled with his colorful artwork, products of a completely self-taught talent he developed by acquiring and consuming books on art and well-known artists. He also has volumes comprising thousands of poems, which he has been composing for most of his adult life. “They’re nothing special, really, it’s just something I do to keep perspective about things in life.”
Grantham is excited about the makeover that’s being done by Grubb Properties, and has attended all the planning meetings for the Glen Lennox redevelopment. “A lot of thought and planning has gone into this. There’s a new clubhouse, exercise facility and a swimming pool. It’s going to be great. I’ve asked Vanessa (the property manager) about moving into a new apartment when they’re available.”
The next time you’re in the Glen Lennox neighborhood, keep an eye out for this spry Lennoxian on foot, and on a mission.