Valentine resident Thelma Spencer believes travel, working in a job she adored and reading or watching Pride and Prejudice when she’s ‘‘a bit down in the dumps’’ are the keys to longevity.
Mrs Spencer turns 105 today and is one of the oldest residents in the Hunter. She has been able to avoid living in full-time care and lives with her son James, 76, at Valentine. The elderly resident has maintained her spritely personality and independence and looks dramatically younger than 105 years old.
‘‘I’ve had good care and I never really had to work a day in my life,’’ Mrs Spencer said.
‘‘I taught piano and violin up until I was 65 and I just loved it.’’
Mrs Spencer has been around the world twice with her daughter Christina, 74, and once with James and was travelling well into her 90s.
Her latest trip was to celebrate her 100th birthday while visiting her daughter in Norfolk Island.
Mrs Spencer still speaks fondly of her late husband James who suffered shell shock during the Siege of Tobruk in World War II. He died in 1959.
‘‘I absolutely adored my husband. I never put anyone in his place. He was a wonderful man,’’ she said yesterday.
Mrs Spencer recalls her father’s horse and cart, walking across the newly completed Harbour Bridge.