AUGUSTA — In July 2014, Georgie the goose celebrated its 20th anniversary on Marjorie Scott’s Eastern Avenue yard in Augusta.

A Kennebec Journal article marking the occasion, piqued the interest of Barbara Walsh of Winthrop. Walsh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of four books, read the article and immediately contacted Scott.

“When I first heard about the story, I thought to myself, I have to write a book about this,” Walsh said.

Walsh said her curiosity inspires her writing. In one instance, she said, she brainstormed a story idea after overhearing a conversation in a salon.

“Being a journalist, I have a natural curiosity,” Walsh said.

THE STORY BEGINS

Walsh’s “The Goose Lady” starts at the beginning, when Georgie arrived in Maine, a gift to Scott from her daughters, Sally Kinkade and Linda McMullen.

In 1993, Scott traveled to Ohio for her granddaughter’s high school graduation. While there, McMullen observed a cement goose sitting on the lawn next to the Kinkade residence.

“Linda thought Mom would enjoy having a cement goose and dressing it,” said Sally Kinkade.

A year later, Kinkade and McMullen bought a cement goose and transported it from Ohio to Maine to sit on their mother’s lawn.

Marjorie Scott talks about her concrete goose statue on July 23, 2014 in front of her Eastern Avenue home in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

“We lifted that 90 pound goose into our suburban and drove it to Maine in July of 1994,” said Kinkade.

The first thing Scott did was create wings for Georgie. Then she started making outfits for her goose to wear.

By 2014, Scott had made more than 100 outfits for Georgie, including the popular mail carrier, farmer, golfer, graduate cap and gown, military soldier and Red Sox baseball player. As depicted in Walsh’s book, bunny and bumblebee outfits were especially popular among children.

“Marjorie Scott was very involved in the community,” Walsh said. “These were not random outfits; she really tied it into what was going on in the community.”

They were also detailed.

“She made a golfing outfit, and of course, we had to have a toy golf club and ball,” said Kinkade.

But Scott’s favorites were dresses. The first one she ever made was a pink flag dress. And upon special request, Scott would dress Georgie in a wedding gown.

It wasn’t long before neighbors and regular commuters noticed Scott’s goose, and she dressed Georgie daily.

“She didn’t want the goose to be naked,” said Kinkade, with a laugh.

People also started driving down Eastern Avenue so they could see what Georgie was wearing, with some even pulling into the driveway to get a closer look.

“When my brother-in-law came down to shovel out the driveway, he had to make a path so people could see the Goose,” said Kinkade. “It was a thing to do for 20 years.”

In “The Goose Lady,” by Barbara Walsh, Abby Grieg illustrates a young girl greeting Georgie the goose on the first day of school. Georgie is wearing a pink plaid dress, its annual first day of school outfit. Submitted photo

By 1999, the Goose gained statewide acclaim. Down East Magazine nicknamed Georgie, “The Augusta Goose,” and listed it as one of Maine’s treasured monuments in its June 1999 edition of the magazine. Television station Channel 6 and other journalists came to Scott’s house to interview her. In the book, Walsh captures this moment beautifully.

“She (the news reporter) stuck her microphone under Goose’s beak, “What is your favorite outfit?” she asked.

Scott passed away in December 2014, months after the Kennebec Journal article appeared. In her book, Walsh writes, “There in her rocking chair, Marjorie’s heart slowed and then stopped.”

The sad moment in the book is followed by a humorous one: On the very next page, Georgie is wearing a pink polka dot bikini with sunglasses and a beach hat.

“Stories should make you laugh,” Walsh said, “and they should make you cry.”

A plaque with history of Marjorie Scott and her concrete goose, seen July 20 at Farrington Elementary School in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

A NEW ROOST

In 2015, Georgie found a new home at Farrington Elementary School in Augusta.

The move made sense. Even before Georgie moved to Farrington Elementary, schoolchildren had adored the goose. Kinkade remembers when the bus driver stopped on Eastern Avenue so that the children could watch a helicopter land.

“They were not watching that,” she said. “They were all looking at the goose to see what it was wearing.”

The first day of school in September 2015 brought smiles to students’ faces as they were greeted by Georgie when they got off the bus, and a plaque honoring Scott.

Since that first day in September 2015, Georgie still wears a different outfit every day. Farrington’s custodians take the goose inside the school every night, and bring it back out the next day in time for students getting off the bus to see what Georgie is wearing. And students who perform well academically and behaviorally get the chance to choose the goose’s outfit.

“The student of the month can pick out the outfit for Georgie,” Farrington Elementary School Principal Teresa Beaudoin said.

Georgie the goose at Farrington Elementary School on July 20 in Augusta. Georgie is wearing its pink plaid first-day-of-school dress. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

MAINTAINING A MEMORY

Kinkade is inspired by her mother’s work.

“I think it’s great that a woman in her late 80s can make such a difference in the lives of so many people,” she said. “She brought joy to so many people.”

In addition to Amazon, Walsh’s book is available for purchase at Jefferson Market & General Store at 242 Waldoboro Road in Jefferson, Kennebec Cabin Company at 915 Western Ave. in Manchester, and the Art Walk Shop & Studio at 121 Main St. in Winthrop.

“Everyone who buys the book has a story to tell about the Goose,” said Lynn Farrin, owner of the Jefferson General Market.

Author Barbara Walsh, left, and Farrington Elementary School Principal Teresa Beaudoin pose with Georgie the goose July 20 at Farrington Elementary School in Augusta. Georgie is wearing a pink plaid dress. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Walsh said her book, which was published in January and is illustrated by Abby Grieg, isn’t just for children.

“‘The Goose Lady’ is being bought for all ages,” she said. “I don’t think there is an age limit. If a good story is a good story, I think it translates to any age.”

Walsh’s three other books — “Rhoda’s Rescue,” “Sammy in the Sky” and “August Gale” — are also available for purchase. “Rhoda” and “Sammy,” the latter of which was illustrated by famed painter Jamie Wyeth, are children’s books, while “August Gale” is an adult historical fiction book.

She has a fifth book, “The Deer Man,” set to be released in a few weeks.

For more information about Walsh, visit her website, Facebook page or email her at [email protected].

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