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The Daily



12-23-03: Zuma couple branch out for Christmas

Goodwins believe there can never be too many trees

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 decorations.
“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.”


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