Ross Peterson is among the most beloved American history teachers ever to step inside a college classroom. Several generations of students have voted him their favorite instructor, and a fair number became teachers themselves, some with Ross’s photo on an office wall. Christmas in Montpelier offers a beguiling look into Professor Peterson’s early life, where his wry humor, work ethic, and kindness were honed. Twelve Christmases come to life as he grows from a small boy in a hardscrabble farmhouse with no running water inside and a two-hole privy outside, to one of the nation’s most honored educators.
Lee was Washington bureau chief for Scripps League Newspapers from 1975 to 1990, and president of the National Press Club in 1988. Roderick has covered politics and other breaking stories across the globe. He was the only U.S. correspondent to interview Americans held hostage by Iran after the U.S. Embassy was overrun in 1979. Roderick is a former reporter for the Associated Press and former television news director. He holds a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University.
Ralph is a pioneer in both broadcast and cable television. He came to the United States as a refugee from Nazi-occupied France. Baruch joined the late DuMont Television Network, then CBS in 1954, where he rose to group president. CBS created and spun off Viacom in 1971, with Baruch as CEO. Under Baruch, Viacom became a world leader in syndication and cable television. He testified often before Congress and the FCC, winning fairness for the cable industry. He has been given virtually every award available in television, including an Emmy. Baruch is on the boards of WNET, the PBS flagship station in New York; Carnegie Hall, and Lenox Hill Hospital.
Award-winning author Ellen Carney, born and reared in a small Idaho town, has visited nearly all the states in the U.S. and lived in most of those in the West. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a master’s from the University of Utah. A revered newspaper columnist and author, her 14 books, mostly historical, reflect her deep love of the West. Ellen’s books have won state and national awards. She originally self-published Ellis Kackley: Best Damn Doctor in the West, and sold over 10,000 copies by her own efforts.
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Bob is a principal in R&R Partners, an integrated marketing communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C. and several western states. Bob is a longtime acquaintance and colleague of Drs. Tei Fu Chen and Oi-Lin Chen, the subjects in Journey to the Sun. He has an extensive 30-year background in both the public and private sectors as a professional communications and marketing strategist. Specialities include positioning, image enhancement, and crisis communications. Bob has spearheaded election campaigns for U.S. congressional and senatorial candidates, and is also a labor relations specialist.
Young Martha Sears would lie in a pile of leaves with pencil and paper, composing poems of profound incomprehensibleness: she couldn’t even understand them herself. She now prefers crafting rhymes she can understand, hoping her reader will chortle, “Aha!” — possibly out loud, and in a library.
Newlyweds Steve and Martha Sears West lived in a sheep wagon. He fought fires for the Forest Service; she ran the radio to the lookouts and smoke jumpers. Steve has cheered Martha on in other endeavors, including being a full-time mother. Later he made many peanut butter sandwiches while she was earning a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Maryland. Martha observes that old people can remember being young, but children can’t remember being old; and every generation needs to be reminded of this. Consequently, she can be found hard at play late into the night. Her words write themselves even after she puts them to bed with a glass of warm milk.
Martha and Susan are sisters. They grew up in Thailand, where their father was an American foreign service officer. Martha, a costume designer, actress and singer, is a grandmother of ten. She began using the Tear Registry to comfort her grandchildren. Martha learned that the activity uncovered wounds, both shallow and deep, and provided a way to heal them. Susan, an elementary school teacher who has lived in a half-dozen countries, is a grandmother of eighteen. Susan saw the power of the Tear Registry to console children at school, whatever their nationality.