John Marston will hold up the side for Crozet at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville March 17-21 with a memoir describing his family’s Christmas traditions.
Marston published The Christmas Garden in December, shortly after his brother Terry’s death in November. The book is dedicated to Terry, who was a book collector.
Their parents, Rev. H. Lee and Charlotte Marston, staged elaborate toy scenes, based on train set-ups, whose themes were not revealed until Christmas Day.
One of Marston’s favorites was the Ringling Brothers circus scene.
Marston wrote an account of the tradition while a graduate student at the Curry School of Education at U.Va., but did not pursue the idea of publishing it until he came upon the manuscript recently while packing to move.
The book is illustrated with drawings by his children, who were young at the time. Marston continued the tradition with them.
Marston said self-publishing is increasingly affordable and he encourages families to preserve their own histories.