"When I was young, which is like a million years ago, I made up my mind I was going to help people. You don’t think for yourself when you have a large family. I’ve always been more interested in other people than myself and it seems like, when you are a nurse, they think that’s what you should do – take care of everybody that comes along. So I did. There was always somebody to take care of. But then when I arrived to my own old age they were all gone. It’s hard to lose all your family and friends. You’ll see what I mean when you get to be an old lady.
I have lots of regrets. I don’t think I did much for myself. I didn’t accomplish very much with my life. I had lots of opportunities. I had a chance to have a job as a nurse traveling all over the world and I turned it down because I had to take care of my mom and dad. But most of the things you plan don’t come true. At least it didn’t for me.
When you are young you think everything should go your way I think… go to a dance and dance all night and all that stuff - and you think that’s part of your life. But then, it doesn’t last for long. It’s not a forever thing. You have a different opinion of things as you get older.
Mostly if you want to write a thick book you could write about what I didn’t do that I should have done but I didn’t do it, no matter what it was. You know I drew a horse when I was in high school and I never could put a tail on it. I think it is still wondering around the family somewhere with this horse with no tail. And I couldn’t do it. I tried and tried. I traced them and tried all different tails but it never came out right. Maybe he was born to be without a tail. I don’t know."
Ena and I met at Vintage Golden Gate in San Francisco where she had been living for a number of years. Ena was always beautiful for our meetings – her hair was done, her nails painted and her jewelry pinned upon her ears and sweater. Ena is the kind of person who calls you “sweetie” and “darling” and makes you feel as though you have always known her. A nurse, Ena was a natural born caretaker; but reflecting back, she realizes that she never made the time and space to follow her own dreams. She was full of regret that she did not take the opportunities that she believed would have made her life more fulfilling and exciting. Even though we met several times, she could never understand why a young person like me wanted to interview her for this project. Ena died on February 20, 2016.