Anyway, the second sentence in the book is already more than I can handle. I got the general meaning, but I'm still uncertain about a few things.
The narrator is talking about not believing in Santa anymore:
What I got from it is:幼稚園のクリスマスイベントに現れたサンタは偽サンタだといかいしていたし、記憶をたどると周囲にいた園児たちもあれが本物だとは思っていないような目つきでサンタのコスプレをした園長先生を眺めていたように思う。
I understood that the Santa who showed up at Christmas on kindergarten was a fake Santa, besides, as far as memory goes, [other] kindergarten students didn't think that was something true either, [judging] by their looks when the principal teacher dressed as Santa.
Is this more or less correct?
Besides that, two questions:
1- What are the とparticles (I put them in bold type) doing? AFAIK, と can mean "and" or indicate a quote. I don't see them doing any of those functions here.
2- I'm surprised by the verb-te + ita structure. I know -te + iru is more or less the equivalent of English -ing, but I think in this case, for instance, omotteinai is better translated as "didn't think" than "weren't thinking". Did I get it wrong, or do the Japanese just say it differently?
Any help will be welcome, and thank you in advance!