When Marge Chaplin moved into the Auburn Mall Apartments two years ago, she was dealing with severe depression. She found that tending to the duck pond helped her “pull through it.”

Now she considers the considerable flock — it has grown from 35 to more than 200 since she moved in — to be her kids.

“Actually, they mind better than kids,” said Chaplin, 63, with a twinkle in her eye.

Every Monday, after the lawn has been mown, Chaplin rakes up clippings around the pond and cleans out the drainage grate.

“I hate the thought of my ducks having to go through this stuff,” she said of the grass that ends up in the pond. But raking up the lawn and tending to the ducks are not the only things Chaplin does around the complex.

Last Halloween, she organized a party with hot food and candy for the children. She made decorations with another resident and put them up in every hallway — all 12 buildings, each three floors.


At Christmas, she helped put up wreaths on each building door. And when it storms in the winter, she is out in the parking lot helping to clear vehicles.

This spring, she planted flowers in front of a building and started a garden with other residents.  She hopes to be able to can some vegetables and give them to her elderly neighbors. But she doesn’t do anything without checking with management first.

“Marge does a lot around here,” Assistant Manager Anna McCormick said. “We love her. (She) has been a good influence.”

Next, Chaplin hopes to  get  a grill and have a cookout. Then clean out a drainage ditch. Maybe expand the garden.

“I don’t keep track of all that I do,” she said. “I just do what needs to be done.”


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