For Bill Goodwin, life is a great journey, and his writing just serves to record those adventures.
Goodwin, of Mossyrock, published his first book this year. The children’s book, titled “Henry the Happy Hay Bale” is available for purchase at several local retailers.
He may have waited until he was in his 70s to become a published author, but Goodwin said writing has been something he recalls doing his whole life. He remembers as a student in Morton schools, he would often write short stories and ask his teachers to read what he wrote and give him feedback. As an adult, he said he often writes down stories about travels or memories of his own childhood, mostly in the hopes his four children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren will learn from them.
“A lot of things are just for memories so I can pass them on to my kids and their kids,” Goodwin said. “I’m fascinated by history, always have been. And it’s sad to realize that you should have thought of things when you were 10, 11, 12 years old to think to ask these old timers because that history is gone now.”
Reared in the Bear Canyon area near Morton, Goodwin was the youngest of nine children. The family lived in a 798-square-foot home. Goodwin describes growing up “country poor” but said he has warm memories of his childhood because it was full of family and love. Some of his fondest childhood memories include his entire extended family crowded into their small home for holiday celebrations and his mother’s uncanny ability to feed a crowd with little or no money and what was in her fruit cellar.
“It was just a fantastic way to grow up,” he said. “I don’t care what goes on in the world, to me, family is the best foundation you can have.”
And family is what inspired Goodwin’s first published story. The inspiration for “Henry the Happy Hay Bale” came from a cross-country road trip his then 6-year-old granddaughter made with her mother and grandmother 15 years ago. Goodwin said she would call him daily and recount all of the new and different things she saw, including the round hay bales that inspired the inquisitive character of Henry in the story.
“Everywhere she went, she was seeing things she never saw before, so she had to tell me all the stops they made,” Goodwin said. “She was just so excited. My daughter said ‘dad, you need to write this story.’ So, I did.”
Goodwin previously lived in Lacey and moved back to East Lewis County about three years ago to a piece of land he and his wife affectionately named “Pooh’s Corner.” When he is not writing, Goodwin often works with his brother selling firewood to campers near Mayfield Lake as well as collecting scrap to recycle.
“Everybody seems to have a pile of something they want to get rid of in their yard,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said becoming a published author was something he had thought about, but honestly never really thought would happen, especially at his age. His daughter is an editor and publisher and encouraged him to try. She introduced him to Dr. Cameron Gonzales of Vincenza Publishing And Books, who ended up editing and illustrating the story.
“I thought ‘yeah, what the heck. I’ve got nothing better to do,’” Goodwin said with a laugh.
There are three more stories featuring Henry the Hay Bale that Goodwin has in mind and would eventually like to publish as well. He sees being able to package them as a four-book series. But he said it took an initial investment to get the first book published, so he has to save up the money for the next publications.
Regardless, Goodwin said it has been a pleasure to see the positive reactions he has gotten from parents and kids who have read the tale of “Henry the Happy Hay Bale.”
“Whether I sell 10 books or one million books, it makes no difference to me,” Goodwin said. “As long as it brings a smile to the faces of the littles ones, I think I’ve done a good job.”
Buy the Book
Copies of “Henry the Happy Hay Bale” can be purchased at Blanton’s Market in Packwood, Smith & Son Grocery in Mossyrock, Colton Pharmacy in Morton and Stanley’s Store in Onalaska. Copies can also be purchased at Amazon.com.