Marianne Dickey and her husband, Bob, moved to Fallbrook from Orange County when Bob retired in 2008. “Fallbrook had just what we were looking for,” she said. “We liked the small town feel, the trees and the open spaces.” Marianne continued working for several more years, and commuted by train to White Memorial Hospital in East Los Angeles, boarding at 4:30 a.m. every morning for the long trip.
“I have always been a history buff, even in High School,’ Marianne admitted, so when she finally retired, she visited the Fallbrook Historical Society Museum. Marianne enjoyed the experience and decided to become a Docent at the Museum, to share Fallbrook history with visitors. Before long, she was elected to the Historical Society Board of Directors. In that capacity, Marianne is Secretary and has the duties of the Treasurer. She writes the newsletters and volunteers in the Historical Society booth at community fairs and functions. “I really enjoy meeting and talking with folks in the community,” she said.
When the Caboose came to town, Marianne volunteered to design and install the display inside.” I rode trains a lot but I didn’t know that the caboose on historic trains was actually a home for the conductor and rear brakeman until I did that display.” It has proven to be very popular with the community and over 4,000 visitors toured the caboose during the 2019 Avocado Festival.
Marianne helps Fallbrook in another, more unusual way: she raises Monarch Butterflies in her home! She patiently watches a butterfly until it lays eggs. Then, she collects the eggs, brings them inside, hatches the caterpillars and feeds them milkweed until the chrysalis stage. When the adult butterflies emerge, she sets them free and again watches for them to lay eggs. “Last year I released about 400 healthy Monarch Butterflies,“ she said. “Although they are most active in summer and fall, I am hatching Monarchs 12 months a year.”
Marianne’s willingness to help out in any situation and the professional quality of her efforts have earned her the Member of the Year award. “I think that a Historical Society is important for every town,” she explained. “A lot of people today do not have a sense of community. We are so lucky to live in a small town where we can know our neighbors and work together to make things better for all of us.”