Once upon a time, when I was little, my biggest fear was about being lost.
I was lost once at the beach, for a long time and my family was frantic. But then my father found me and ran towards me and I will remember that moment all my days. I was crying so hard, that as I ran toward him I fell and got a tongue full of sand. It’s funny now, and would have made a funny bit in a movie, but it was really scary at the time.
At the Gingerbread Castle, I met up with a real life Hansel and Gretel and they were lost once too, but when I went there, it seemed that while they were just kids, like me, they ran the show. So whatever they had lost, evil step-mothers, and wicked witches, it seemed that they found their place working as tour guides. As I grew, some of my classmates and friends were transformed into Hansels and Gretels. They had working papers and real jobs; this made them very special and “cool”, to my young eyes.
When I first had the idea for this project, in 2011, I was personally feeling much more “lost than found” because my father, my beach-rescue-hero, was in the last few months of battling Alzheimer’s. This terrible disease transports someone from being found to being very lost and it brings everyone who loves that person along for the unpleasant journey.
When I decided to do my project for school about the Gingerbread Castle, it was a way of exploring everything magical about growing up in a small town, in a loving family with lots of history in the community and it helped me personally find my way.
The people around the country who helped me make this happen through the generous contributions of their time, their talents and their interest have been nothing short of remarkable. I want thank all of them for their efforts and enthusiasm.
Judy Lannin Panagakos
The Gingerbread Castle Digital Library by Judith L. Panagakos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.