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  • Writer's picturekellinthewoods

My Childhood Gingerbread House

When we were kids my nan had a gingerbread house shaped cookie jar on her kitchen shelf. It was a small kitchen and filled with all sorts of sweet things - like her teacup collection - but that gingerbread house always stood out to us grandkids. We lost Nan when I was nineteen and her belongings were passed down to various members of my mother’s family (Nan had five daughters.) The gingerbread house went to a dear aunt, and I thought little of it until recently, when I started working on the edits for my Hansel and Gretel historical/fantasy Gingerstruck, which is, naturally, pretty heavy on the gingerbread and gingerbread house side of things. So much so that I have to wonder now if that cookie jar from my childhood played some part, however small, in the novel’s conception. My nan was fiercely proud of me and my writing. When I showed her and my grandfather my first uni essay (about the female characters in Pulp Fiction) my grandfather said, in surprise, ‘She’s used a lot of big words!’ To which my nan proudly responded, ‘Of course she did. She’s going to be a writer.’

That was the only conversation we had on the subject - Nan succumbed to cancer just months later. That conversation has always stayed with me, however, and so this Christmas my gift to myself was a vintage gingerbread house cookie jar. It’s exactly the same as the one my Nan used to have, except, instead of sitting in the kitchen, it’s on my writing desk.


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