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Carson couple has been collecting items for village since 1980

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Jackie Bryant has been collecting pieces for her holiday village for nearly a quarter of a century.

The Carson City woman’s display takes up a wall in the living room of her home.

She started collecting the pieces in 1980, purchasing them when she and husband Tom were on trips, or receiving them as gifts from her five children.

“There are some from Germany that my daughter got me when she was in the Army,” Jackie said.

The houses light up and two trains go around tracks through the display. The entire village is set up on several boards covered with white material to simulate snow.

Jackie says she usually gets started setting up the display in late October, but this year had to rush.

There is no point in asking Jackie which of the many pieces are her favorites.

“They are all my favorites,” she said. “I don’t buy them if I don’t like them.”

Jackie started out by making some of the village pieces, though the originals are now long gone.

“My grandchildren took care of those for me,” she said, laughing.

She and the grandchildren often play with the village during the holidays.

Grandson Christopher Bryant, who graduates from Carson High School this year, plans to make a video of the display.

Jackie, 64, and Tom Bryant have been married for 40 years. They met when Tom was in the U.S. Navy and Jackie was working behind a lunch counter.

Tom, 71, served in the Navy for 27 years, rising to the rank of master chief working on Navy aircraft.

Jackie started her collection about the same time Tom retired from the Navy and went to work for the University of Nevada, Reno.

Tom was stationed at Fallon Naval Air Station 50 years ago, when there were only a handful of people there.

“I brought Jackie and the kids here later on and they liked it, so we bought a house here,” he said.

Of the couple’s five children, only the youngest attended school in Carson City. Melissa graduated from Carson High School in 1990.

The couple’s oldest daughter, Anne, retired from the U.S. Army recently as a major. Their three sons, Steven, William and Michael still live in Carson City. The couple has 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “We had 21 people in the house for Christmas,” Tom said.

The couple has owned a home in Carson City for 25 years.

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I got a call New Year’s Eve from Maggie Hinton, whose son Robert L. Johnston was making his comedy debut at the Pinon Plaza.

Maggie is a third-generation Nevadan, which makes Robert, 38, a fourth-generation Nevadan. Robert delivered papers for the Appeal for five years.

“He delivered papers on the city and the neighborhood route,” she said. “When he first started, the papers weighed more than he did. The ladies at the DMV and NDOT all loved him.”

Now Robert lives in the Bay area and works as a chemist during the day. He’s made some money as a comic and the show at the Plaza sold out, I’m told.

Maggie is getting ready to celebrate her 40th Carson High School reunion this year.

Her parents are Robert and Karen Fothergill and her grandparents are Louis M. and Maggie Nelson.

“The house over at the railroad museum was my grandfather’s house,” she said.

Kurt Hildebrand is city editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at hildebrand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.