Taking a Gander at the Geese

Stone Geese on Hillcrest provide a Wauwatosa Landmark


Beatrice Lazarski

The geese dressed up in their Halloween costumes during October.

Beatrice Lazarski and Ava Beisenstein

“Geese will be geese,” says Carolyn Edwards, owner and caretaker of the stone geese family on the corner of 74th and Hillcrest. Twenty-five years ago, Ms. Edwards received a sixty pound cement goose as a birthday present, as well as two outfits. It would remain in her yard (along with its growing family) for years to come and would become one of the most easily recognizable landmarks of Wauwatosa, and especially meaningful to students at Wauwatosa East. The various scenes the geese can be seen in and their ever-changing outfits are always there to brighten passerby’s days.

It began with a birthday present, as a form of ¨lawn art¨, which was a popular midwest trend at the time, and a few outfits. Then, a year later, a second goose was bought. It was after the purchase of this second goose that Edwards ¨began to take [her] ‘caretaker duties’ very seriously.¨ Henry and Greta, as they were named, lived happily in the yard. However, as Ms. Edwards comments, “geese will be geese”,  and Popcorn was added as a new member of their small family. Shortly after this monumental event, a cabinet-making neighbor volunteered to construct a house, and the ¨Gooselys¨ were given a permanent place in the yard. 

The Goosely’s have undergone tough trials throughout their long history in the yard. These have provided some struggles for their loyal caretaker. Once winter comes, the geese freeze to the ground and become impossible to move, stuck in their pose from the season before. Another issue is when harsh weather, like rain and snow, take a toll on the crumbling cement. The hard decision must be made whether to order a new goose. 

For these replacements, stone ducks were also considered, however eliminated for their ¨short necks¨ which, according to Mrs. Edwards makes it  ¨almost impossible for them to be as effective as geese are in modeling certain types of clothing.¨ The geese’s clothing, originally purchased in craft stores, must now be bought online with few retailers remaining. Ms. Edwards have never made the clothes, as she does not sew. Even with these barriers, the geese have amassed quite the collection of clothing and props, although they have never been properly counted. The geese have clothing for nearly every holiday, from Saint Patricks day to Christmas and everything in between.   

Ms. Edwards is no stranger to fame. Her geese family has been in countless pictures, and the subject of stories both in newspapers and on the TV. She recalls that one of the geese have even posed with members of a (human) wedding party. “There is no doubt that they bring moments of joy to many people – the smiles I see and the giggles I hear are abundant evidence of that.” 

The Goosely family grew and made friends over time, and have never ceased to amuse. They have become a landmark in Wauwatosa, as well as brought joy, and little bit of laughter into the day of anyone who crosses their path. For Tosa East students, and others alike, the geese have been an unforgettable part of the community, and with any luck, will continue to do so for years to come.