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the mystery of the missing gingerbread kid
by jude deluca

Growing up Catholic meant I had to take communion and Confirmation. I attended CCD classes every Wednesday for most of first  to fifth grade. I hated it, because of course art–– the one subject I enjoyed besides gym–––was always the last class on Wednesdays and I had to leave early.

We were brought to St. Claire’s and taught in one of their classrooms. I often wondered about what went on in these classrooms for the kids who regularly attended school in this building. We weren’t allowed to stick around; once we entered the room we’d go to our seats and that was it. The only worthwhile part of these classes was when they’d let us watch animated Bible movies. I think they were made by the same production company who released The Swan Princess.

One December, one of the classrooms was decorated for Christmas. All along the walls there was this chain of paper gingerbread kids. You know, the kind you’d print out and color in yourself. I felt so jealous because I especially loved coloring books as a kid. Somehow, I worked up the courage to ask one of the teachers if I could have a paper gingerbread kid to color at home and she obliged.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make up my mind about what colors to use. I thought about all those other gingerbread kids and wanted mine to be like them, but I ended up making a mess. Desperately, I tried to draw a new one on the blank backside. Even though it was a disaster, my gingerbread kid still went up on the Christmas tree in my house. And even though it looked ugly, I held onto that gingerbread kid when the decorations were taken down. It went back up the next year, and the year after. Then it disappeared.

I wonder what happened to it.

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