AUGUSTA — The Grey Goose that brings the greatest happiness won’t be found in the city’s taverns; it has spent the past 20 years sitting on a front lawn off Eastern Avenue, dressed to the nines, bringing to delight to those who pass.
These days the concrete goose on the front lawn of Marjorie Scott’s home at 71 Eastern Ave. is decked out in a pink birthday dress and party hat in honor of its 20th year in Maine. The party outfit is one of about 100 Scott has dressed the goose in during those years to honor holidays, occasions or even to mark the weather forecast. The goose, which the family named Georgie, has captured the attention of children and commuters for decades.
“People notice what the goose is wearing daily,” said Scott’s daughter, Sally Kinkade. “People have written her letters thanking her for the joy.”
Georgie arrived from Ohio in August 1994, carried here not by wing, but as a passenger in Kinkade’s car. She offered the concrete ornament as a gift to her mother, who took a liking to the creatures the year before on a visit to see Kinkade in Ohio.
“It was a big thing in Ohio in the ’80s and ’90s,” Kinkade said.
Residents there decked their geese out in clothing, so Kinkade arrived with three outfits, including Uncle Sam, an Indian princess and a rain coat. Scott has since added about 100 others, almost half of which she and her daughter, Linda McMullen of Oakland, have made by hand.
The only limitation was their imagination, which conjured up everything from a Cony High School cheerleading outfit to the leather gear of a Harley-Davidson rider. Scott always makes sure Georgie is dressed for the occasions, preparing dozens of outfits for holidays like Christmas, Easter and even Cinco de Mayo. At one time, Scott dressed the goose in pajamas every night.
“If the goose has a rain coat on they think, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to rain today,'” said Nancy Wade, who helps take care of Scott, who is 95.
Scott said her favorite outfit is the plaid back-to-school dress she made replete with a hat and bag.
“Her aunt told her every little girl should have a plaid dress for school,” Kinkade said.
Scott is no longer able to change Georgie’s outfits herself, but McMullen, Wade and Scott’s other caregiver, Karen Irla, have dutifully taken over to ensure Georgie remains properly attired. It was Irla who helped create the birthday outfit, which includes a cake, a circle of party hats, a balloon and a sign that includes a poem mostly composed by Scott herself.
“For 20 years she sat roadside, beneath the trees for all to see with wondering eyes,” Scott wrote. “What will she wear? What will she be? You must come by and see!”
Scott watches from the sun room that faces the road and delights to watch people pull over to take pictures. A woman recently hopped out of one of those cars to deliver a birthday card to Georgie. The card, signed only by “your avid fans,” says she always looks forward to seeing what Georgie is wearing.
“Thank you for the many smiles you’ve given us as we’ve driven by each day,” Fans wrote. “You’ve brought us a lot of happiness over the years!”
The goose, of course, has been of particular interest to children. Kinkade recalled the time a school bus stopped in front of the house so that the children could see a helicopter that had landed in McCall’s Park across the street.
“None of them were looking at the helicopter,” Kinkade said. “They were all looking at the goose.”
Georgie has made Scott something of a celebrity. She and Georgie have been the subject of multiple newspaper photos and stories and Scott keeps two notebooks of letters and photos people have sent to her over the years. Modern Woodmen of America’s youth division in 1996 named Scott’s home the “Yard of the Month.” The Goose Lady, as Scott is known, has even warmed her way into the dog-eat-dog world of yard sales.
“When I’ve taken mom to yard sales they learn she’s the Goose Lady? Oh my! Everything on this table is free,” Kinkade said. “My claim to fame is that my mother is the Goose Lady.”
Scott kept up the tradition of dressing Georgie all these years because of the joy she and the goose could bring to others.
“Everyone loves him,” she said.
Wade recalled driving past the house to show her children what Georgie was wearing. Working at the house, she has learned countless others do the same.
“I think it just kind of brightens their day,” she said.