Name: Carol Ecob.
Husband: Richard Coit, 73.
Appreciates technology: Ecob, who worked more than 25 years in banking in Chicago, loves the ways technology has improved her life in retirement, but says she and Coit are determined "not to be a slave to it."
"I'm amazed at the technology at our fingertips," she says. "I wish I could have pushed current technology back into my career. My career would definitely have been enhanced."
No fear of computers: Ecob says she plunged in with considerable enthusiasm when she was trained to use an early version of computers in the 1960s and '70s, well before the advent of the Internet and the laptop.
"I was never afraid of learning about computers when I first began using them in my work," she says.
Picking and choosing: Ecob and Coit are avid users of e-mail, online bill paying and online shopping, plus the Internet and Netflix. On the other hand, they aren't interested in being tied to Facebook or using Twitter.
"We don't subscribe to cable television, so we use our TV to watch movies and documentaries from Netflix," she says. "We especially enjoy BBC programs. We love how we can order videos for such inexpensive entertainments."
No computer at home: Ecob and Coit agree they have no need for a personal computer at home.
"We use the computers at the Lynden Public Library," she says. "We use a computer maybe four or five times a week. ... We found each other in midlife and we'd rather spend time outside together than be using a computer at home. We want to participate in fulfilling activities. I don't have to have 500 friends (on Facebook)."
Remembers special phone: Ecob and Coit use cellphones for convenience, but aren't tethered to them. But Ecob has special phone memories of her own, because the height of communication technology for teens in the early 1960s was the Bell System's Princess Phone.
"Illinois Bell would come to your home to install it," Ecob says. "I had a Princess Phone installed in my bedroom. I thought it was great to be able to talk with friends."
Training, times two: Ecob began as an 18-year-old receptionist in a Chicago bank's personal loan department, and attended free business classes through the American Bankers Association. After retiring from banking in 1994 an assistant vice president of construction loans, she "took a leap of faith" and went into the travel business.
"I became part of a travel agency," she says. "The airlines have all this special language you have to learn, so I went to school at Midway (a Chicago airport) for a concentrated, six-week program on the American Airlines computer system. The only time computers ever intimidated me was when I had to score 100 percent when it came to learning all the major airport code names."
Memorable vacation: Ecob, who was still in banking in Chicago, and Coit, who was working for the U.S. Postal Service in Truckee, Calif., met while on vacation in Jamaica. They moved to Lynden in 2004, having become captivated by the Northwest's combination of mountains and water.
Loves architecture: Ecob, who loves to travel with Coit, has always been fascinated by architecture and the technology involved in creating buildings. She feels fortunate that her construction-loan work for LaSalle Bank (now part of Bank of America) enabled her to play a significant role in that field.
She also spent 15 years as a volunteer with the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb.
Breathtaking home: When they travel, Ecob and Coit take special care to visit homes designed by Wright. One of their special memories is visiting Fallingwater, the world-famous Wright home that's built atop a stream southeast of Pittsburgh.
"That home just takes your breath away with its beauty," Ecob says.
Loves letters: Ecob loves working with her hands in various fields of art. She especially enjoys creating greeting cards.
"I'm fascinated by instant communication, but I love getting letters and writing letters," she says. "I'll never stop sending cards and letters. ... I'll always remember how a friend told me when she was on the 'L' (elevated train in Chicago) and people just stared at her because she was actually handwriting a letter."
Michelle Nolan is a Bellingham freelance writer.
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