Readers of Forest Hills Connection know Marjorie Rachlin as our ace nature writer. She also enjoys hanging out at the Chevy Chase Library. On Saturdays you will often see her volunteering for the Friends the Chevy Chase Library at their used bookstore upstairs. Barbara Parker profiled Marge for the Friends newsletter, and gave us permission to share it with you.
Meet Marjorie Rachlin: FOL’s Most Senior Volunteer
When you meet Marjorie (Marge) Rachlin, the last thing you think about is age. Her voice, demeanor, stance and passion spell ‘woman in charge.’ The fact that she is 91 – and the oldest volunteer of the CCDC Friends of the Library – is of no relevance whatsoever. That twinkle in her eye could mean almost anything.
A retired union activist, Marge worked for many years as a labor education and training expert for a number of unions and ended her career after 17 years at the AFL-CIO George Meany Center as a training expert. Her retirement in 1987 only meant that her energy and passion would be redirected.
An avid bird-watcher – “I’m very serious about birding,” she says – she’s also a volunteer in the Invertebrate section at the National Zoo and an enthusiastic gardener. She writes a nature column for her neighborhood e-newsletter, the Forest Hills Connection, and is a contributor to the Northwest Neighbors Village News.
Marge moved to DC in 1954 “after a wonderful year in London” on a Fulbright scholarship and into her current home on Brandywine in 1968 with her husband Jack. As a long-time resident of Upper Northwest, Marge “likes to write about what’s happening in my neighborhood and in my neighbors’ backyards. Many times they have no idea what they’re looking at and I enjoy being able to spell it out for them. They learn something and I’m happy to pass along the information. It works both ways.”
Marjorie can’t remember how long she’s been a member of the CCDC Friends of the Library, but she knows it’s been “forever.” She notes, “I go back before Sheila Robertson,” our first FOL president.
Born in Cleveland, Marge says her mother introduced her and her sisters to their local library with weekly visits. “I learned at an early age that the library was a welcoming and interesting place.” That hasn’t changed. She still sees the library as a “great resource” and she likes “getting great books at great prices in FOLio.”
An eclectic reader, she has recently enjoyed Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. A fan of contemporary fiction and mystery/thrillers – “a great distraction” – Marge especially enjoys Dorothy Sayer, Josephine Tey and “old faithful” Agatha Christie. But not to be pigeon-holed, her reading interests also include science tomes that deal with DNA.
When one talks about “great resources,” there is no question among her many friends, neighbors and colleagues that Marge Rachlin is at the top of everyone’s go-to list.