Goodwins believe there can
never be too many trees
By MARGIE WUEBKER
MONTEZUMA — Bill and Margaret Goodwin create a Christmas
wonderland inside and outside their home along Ohio 703, decking
the halls and the lawn with more than boughs of holly.
Thirty trees, ranging in size from under 12 inches to over 6
feet, can be found throughout the home that overlooks Grand
Lake St. Marys. Three more decorate the interior of their lighthouse.
The Goodwins, who own Kozy Kampground near Montezuma, laughingly
admit they “got hooked” on Christmas decorating
while living in the Dayton area. He created a lighted display
that swept first-place honors in a Montgomery County competition.
Reindeer pranced across the roof while carolers and Santas laid
claim to the neatly manicured lawn.
“You couldn’t buy decorations back then,”
she says. “Bill designed and made the entire display.
He did a wonderful job and apparently the contest judges agreed.”
They stored all the figures and old-fashioned lights at a barn
on the campground property during the off-season. A tornado
swept through the area in June 1980, destroying everything inside
including red-nosed Rudolph and his portly owner.
The retired educators moved to Mercer County 12 years ago and
continued the holiday tradition of decorating each room of the
house from bathroom to kitchen.
“We start a week or so before Thanksgiving,” Margaret
Goodwin says. “It doesn’t take that long because
we know exactly where each and every tree goes.”
Campground employees assist with bringing in the boxes from
the storage area in the garage and setting up the outdoor decorations.
Bill Goodwin chuckles before pointing out, “We need help
in our old age and they enjoy it as much as Margaret and I do.”
The towering white tree in the spacious sun room boasts purple
Santas, hot pink ornaments and dried flowers. The corsage she
wore at her son’s wedding occupies a place of prominence
near the top.
The oldest tree adorns the bathroom in the master suite. The
family heirloom, dating back more than 50 years, stands proudly
on the marble vanity showing off an array of vintage pink ornaments.
Pearlized decorations from their daughter’s wedding trim
the white tree on a counter in the dressing room.
“This is one of my favorites,” Margaret Goodwin
says pointing to the imposing tree in the master bedroom. Decorated
in Victorian fashion, it features delicate lace-trimmed fans,
elegant tassels, beaded ornaments and wine-colored velvet roses
tucked here and there. The couple found the unique rose lights
during a trip to Frankenmuth, Mich. A large wooden rocking horse
and two elaborately clad dolls give the impression Santa paid
an early visit.
“She gave me that pitiful little thing on the floor,”
Bill Goodwin says faking a grimace as he talks about the lone
tree in his bathroom. “I’m glad she left me have
one and even included my stuffed frog.”
The unusual tree in the library dates back to his hospitalization
for heart surgery five years ago. Waterford crystal designs
and handblown glass ornaments decorate the gold metal branches.
An animated figure of Bing Crosby croons a repertoire of holiday
songs including “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”
There are three trees in the foyer, and even one in the garage.
A hanging tree with mauve decorations adorns the dining room
wall while the towering tree in the family room celebrates memories
of special people and places. There is a replica of Fisher Hall
on the Miami University campus, where Bill Goodwin spent his
undergraduate years, and a souvenir from the Biltmore House,
where the couple once visited. It seems appropriate to display
the ornament in the comfortable habitat the couple calls Bil-Mar
House. Gifts from friends adorn the branches, including an origami
creation depicting the first Christmas. Six stuffed dogs wearing
red Santa hats peek from beneath the display, representing each
of the Goodwins’ grandchildren.
Margaret Goodwin purchased the tree in the breakfast nook during
a clearance sale at the former Stage store and then added festive
ribbon and new decorations. Four black ducks parade around the
base dressed in Santa finery.
Guest bedrooms and bathrooms also sport holiday decorations.
The most unusual — the presidential bathroom — was
sparked by the gift of White House towels. A lifesize cardboard
figure of George Bush stands in the corner sporting a Santa
hat while a poster of Ronald Reagan wielding a sharpshooter
adorns the door. Bill Clinton has been relegated to a space
near the toilet. The tree, safely secured in a base patterned
after Uncle Sam’s hat, is done in red, white and blue.
Walking through the house and looking at all the displays leads
one to assume the couple’s first tree bit the dust long
ago. Wrong! The silver model decked with blue ornaments and
Santa cutouts is one of three in the tri-level lighthouse. The
rotating light gave out after years of illuminating outside
“I grew up in the Depression era and my parents didn’t
have money for decorations and stacks of gifts,” Margaret
Goodwin says. “I look forward to the holidays more with
each passing year.”
The festivities begin the first weekend in December with a party
for 70 friends and relatives. There is a new theme each year
and guests have an opportunity to enjoy the inside and outside
appointments. The outdoor display, which prompts passing motorists
to slow down, includes reindeer, Santa, snowmen, carolers, lighted
toy soldiers and a large Nativity scene.
“Every year I vow no more trees or decorations,”
says Margaret Goodwin. “And then something new comes along.
Bill found three circular trees this year and just had to buy
them. Maybe someday we’ll be able to draw the line before
we run out of space.”