We continue a tour of each room, decorated with tastefully ordered
collections. Then there's the pantry, stocked with rows of canned fruits,
jams and Coile's chutney. Again, all neatly labeled.
This impeccable lifestyle has to serve Coile well when creating order
Q: Are you the obsessive compulsive one?
A: (laughs) I'm a straight-arrow type. But Ellen is much neater.
Q: Does your sense of order help maintain your 52-year marriage?
A: The secret to marriage is to be polite. And we always touch as we
pass, just as ants do. It's a kind of acknowledgement.
Q: So, isn't disaster on everyone's mind? What with impending terrorist
strikes, earthquakes and global warming?
A: You'd be surprised at the apathy.
Q: What's the most common misconception?
A: It won't happen here and they are gonna come and take care of
Q: Is there any way we can empower ourselves in the looming shadow
A: Yes. The role for ordinary citizens is: notice anything unusual. There's
virtually no traffi c on our street. So, if someone parked a truck, for instance,
and left it a couple days, we should tell the police or FBI about it. The
Oklahoma City bombing, etc., were local bombersnot people from Saudi
Arabia. There is potential for local, home grown terrorists. In recent years,
there have been a number of zealots. We're so attuned to foreign terrorism
we're not looking in our own back yards.
Q: What prepared you for your expertise in disasters?
A: I'm just an ordinary person. That's the odd thing. I was born in
Washington, D.C., in 1917 and my father became an offi cer. I had strict
upbringing living on Army posts and sheltered communities. The Army is
prepared to help in any sort of a disaster, whether it be a fl ood or foreign
Q: What would scare you spitless?
A: (laughs) I wouldn't like to jump out of airplanes and I never did like
Q: What was your biggest personal disaster?
A: I was married just after WWII to a teenager. It lasted nine years and
we had three children, but it was a disaster. I was on an aircraft carrier