In her ninth decade, Enid is the embodiment of a vibrant woman– she finds joy in life every day. She loves meeting new people and adding new friends to her Rolodex. She likes to learn “what makes people tick,” and is always open to different ideas and aspects of the world. A life-long learner, she takes classes and attends lectures at American University. Her recent classes include French Conversation (4 years and running), French Literature (including a French book club), and The Russian Revolution. Each February second, she participates in the birthday celebration of James Joyce as one of the people who reads aloud a portion of his works.
Enid grew up in New Jersey, and graduated from Smith College. After World War II ended, Enid worked with the Red Cross in Italy in 1946 and 1947. After Italy, she worked at the US State Department. Those years marked the beginning of a lifetime that stretched just beyond her limit to embrace new experiences. She returned to school in in her thirties and earned an MA in Art History from American University. Upon receiving her graduate degree, she became an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia in the Northern Virginia Center and taught art and decorative arts at Mt. Vernon College. As her career as an art historian developed, Enid was invited to lecture at numerous museums around the country.
She and her husband married in 1952, and were together until his death in 2006. Enid has three children and six grandchildren. Enid’s late husband, “a very smart lawyer,” lost most of his sight in a war accident, and became completely blind early in their marriage. Enid soldiered on, rearing three children, traveling, and entertaining friends. “It was very difficult at times, and I was often forced to put on a bright face.” She found support from professional counseling, but credits her “wonderful” girlfriends with helping her manage and relieve the stress, saying, “They helped me more than the psychiatrist did!”
An early female entrepreneur, Enid formed her business, the National Fine Arts Association, in 1976, which she still runs today The NFAA organizes art and cultural tours to cities around the country, and until very recently, around the world for college alumni groups, museum members’ groups, and interested private groups, with Enid boldly charging ahead as the tour leader. After refining her programs for the US, Enid took on the world and sold the company in 1987, though she retained the foreign business to operate art tours under her own name. To date she has organized and conducted art tours to almost every country in Europe, and many in Asia. She still derives immense pleasure and intellectual stimulation in delving deeply into the cultures of other parts of the world.
Viewing art exhibitions around the world is still a priority and a passion for Enid. Only in the last few years has she begun to turn down some of the many tour requests, as she has decided to cut back her schedule just a little. “I accepted the fact long ago that I couldn’t quite “do it all” and only mild regrets still linger.
The work that I did do, the connections that I did make gave me access all over the world to museum professionals and curators, and in my extensive travels,
I uncovered many hidden treasures of ancient worlds that were little known. I derived enormous pleasure and satisfaction from those explorations. In another life, I would have done some writing, but I never had the time.”
Music is a large part of Enid’s life. Her parents had regular “musicales” in their home featuring classical musicians. Enid still attends a variety of classical and jazz performances and always has music playing in the house, most often classical, but sometimes a little Sinatra. She also has a lifelong love of nature. She maintains her connection with nature by spending time outdoors, and being in nature has been her remedy for the black woolies ever since she can remember. There have been some tough times in her life. In addition to helping her husband deal with his blindness, her father developed early Alzheimer’s.
Enid was in her twenties when she and her mother became his fulltime caretakers until her father’s death. Fortunately, neither Enid nor her brothers developed Alzheimer’s.
Tennis is her newest passion. Although Enid has played around at tennis since she was a teenager, she became a serious, two-three times a week player about thirty years ago, and has kept the sport at the top of her list ever since.
Enid follows a “Mediterranean diet.” She did drink distilled alcohol, as did everyone in her age group, when she was younger, but stopped while pregnant, and gave up the one nightly cocktail in her late fifties. These days a glass or two of white wine is her pre-dinner choice. “As everybody did,” Enid smoked in her teen years, but stopped the habit forever at twenty-eight.
Enid’s calendar looks more like a CEO’s than a senior citizen’s. When she isn’t having a morning tennis game, followed by lunch with friends, an afternoon French class, or an early dinner and evening concert, Enid delivers dinners to a sick neighbor or a new mother around the corner. She regularly takes her friends with dementia on short car trips “to give them some semblance of what their previous lives were like and to give their caregivers a break.” She also ferries her friends who no longer drive to doctor’s appointments.
Her best advice to younger generations: Embrace new ideas and new experiences, listen to other people and be open to their ideas. Learn your own limits, but always stretch just a little beyond that. Her philosophy of life: “Be flexible and know that when bad things happen they will pass, and you will have the ability to cope.”
Enid is grateful that her good health allows her to still do many of the things she loves. She is a role model for us all– a woman who sees life as a banquet, and who always goes back for seconds.