CAMBRIDGE, Maine — Lula Bunker was not particularly happy with the attention she was getting Friday during an interview, but continued to be polite and showed a wide smile.
“What am I, a curiosity?” Bunker asked, her voice above a whisper.
Not a curiosity, more like a miracle. Bunker, who looks far younger than her age, turned 105 on Friday. If her looks amaze, so will the fact that she took her driver’s test in 2007 and passed it without her glasses. While she doesn’t like to drive anymore, her license is effective until 2011.
Asked to what she attributed her longevity, Bunker quipped, “It’s what I haven’t done.” That aside, she said taking good care of herself, marrying the man she adored until his death in 2005, caring for her three children, one of whom has died, and enjoying her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren are the secrets to her long life.
Her white hair neatly coifed, Bunker said she enjoys living in her own home, which she had shared with her late husband, Robert Bunker Sr. The couple, who celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2002, moved to Cambridge in 1933 and later settled into “The Island House,” a hotel in earlier years.
With the company of her cat, Tommy, Bunker is as particular about her home as she is about her looks. Her home is tidy and she makes sure her bed is made soon after she rises. If she needs assistance, she’ll call her son Robert Bunker Jr., who lives nearby, or her daughter Marita Farrar of Ripley, who both visit often.
Because she is too proud to show any weakness, the independent Bunker shuns her walker and cane as much as she can despite a bad hip, according to Farrar. When she walks to get her Bangor Daily News each morning, she takes a broom with her for support, and if a motorist spies her with it, she simply starts sweeping the driveway, Farrar said.
Along with her youthful appearance, Bunker has an acute memory. Farrar said her mother can recall with clarity the death of Bunker’s twin sister at the age of 5, as well as clothing she wore as a youngster and details of events in her early life.
She sharpens her memory with a good game of Liverpool Rummy and enjoys going for rides with family and friends.
Turning 105 and continuing to be the town’s oldest resident is just another page in Bunker’s journal.
“I don’t think it bothers me much,” she said. “I’ve had a very good life.”