Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fond Memories of Narnia

Once again I was going to attempt to write about my father's honarary degree but am distracted by Ms. Noodles newest post (and for those of you who don't read her blog you should. In fact you should go and read all her archived posts because I think she's that good).

Anyway, for those of you too lazy to use the link I provided to said post, or if you like reading the full texts of posts before you read what they allude too, Noodles briefly discusses the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and the upcoming movie adaptation.

I know, it's a parable, Aslan is Jesus, I get it. Not being Christian, and raised in a Jewish home I didn't pick up on any of that the first time I read it. I just thought it was a decent book but didn't really wow me either way.

At age 15 my family moved to Israel for my father's sixth month sabbatical. We lived in Jerusalem in 38 Tchernekofsky Street apartment #2, near the 32 bus line on its way out to Giloh. From the very small back porch on this second floor apartment I had one of the best vistas of the hills of Jerusalem I have ever seen in my entire life. Every night the sun would set over the hills and cast the city ablaze. The song Yerushaliam shel Zahav (Translation=Jerusalem of Gold - Phish covers the song as a bonus track on the album Hoist) took on a very literal aesthetic as I watched through the sliding glass doors. I spent those sixth months studying in an Israeli public high located between the shook (the open air market, where people in stalls and pushcarts sell and haggle for everything from fresh dates and produce to fresh meats - killed in the market itself - to toys and gadgets, to warm baked goods) and the central bus station. Everyday for lunch a few friends and I would walk past the guards at the gate, down the street and purchase fresh baked rolls and some sort of pastry (everyday something different) and a carton of Yotvatah chocolate milk. We'd walk back to school and eat outside because it being the Middle East, it was always warm out. The down side, I had school six days a week, from Sunday-Friday. I've appreciated the calm of a five day work (in comparison) ever since.

Getting back to the apartment, for about three months - and I don't even remember the reason why - I would sit with my brother Asaf (my junior by seven years - the youngest of us four Greene boys) on the back porch and read in order, the entire Lion, Witch and Wardrobe series. From the very first book to the very last one. I don't really remember the stories that well, but I remember sitting on the porch with my brother reading them. I remember getting a blanket and sitting outside wrapped up with him when it got cold at night (as it did during the first few months). I remember watching the sun set casting the city ablaze as Narnia would be in stewing in our imaginations. I remember coming inside after a chapter or two because my voice was tired and promise to pick up again the next day, or at the very least, by the weekend. He was able to read the books himself (all of us were big readers at a very young age) but for some reason it was something we did together.

For that reason I am a bit hesitant to see the movie. I don't really remember the stories that well, but I know I would rather my association with the books be of my brother on our back porch, and not some lavish Hollywood production.


Lady K said...

I am in awe of you...I've been absolutely nowhere outside this continent. The fact that you share the things you do REALLY furthers my belief in humanity. I remember doing a LOT of things with my brothers, both being younger than I...reading, playing board games, riding bikes, visiting elders, partying, fighting...

Thank God we're all together right now. Thanks, man. Thanks. For REAL.

HitManJ said...

No one said Hollywood's interpretation had to replace your own. It is just the same as discussing the book with your brother, or fellow blogger. Except, Hollywood doesn't listen to YOU. Go in with an open mind and refuse to hate it or love it until you've seen it.

Alkelda wrote a fascinating "Garden of Eden" story that differs from the one I was taught in Catholic school. I neither hate nor love it. It was another version of something I've heard my whole life. It takes patience and practice to learn to live with Hollywood....and some Marketing classes...cuz they are ONLY in it for the money.

E.B. Noodles said...

What a precious memory, and so beautifully written as well.

piu piu said...

i guess the reason harry potter works is cos the was zeroi lag time between the books and films, so noone got to be precious about their own memories of it....

icant remeber much of the cs lewis series....but i do remember thinking that a lampost in a snowy forest is one of the most beautiful visions i've ever got from a book

Fridaysweb said...

I've never read the Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe. I'm not sure why. In fact, I've actually never read many of the "classics", at all. I remember kicking and screaming at Shakespeare in high school - to the point that Cliff's Notes got me by and I remember absolutely nothing about any of it. I believe I actually missed out on a I'm forever in love with crime, mystery and murder & forensic books.

I've rarely seen a movie that was based on a best-selling book that meets up. A Perfect Storm is the only exception I can think of. As much as I love The Shining - best one is with Jack, the one with that guy from Wings & what's-her-name wasn't bad - it does NO justice to the novel. I like to re-read the novel about once a year or so, just so I remember the best parts that just don't get shown in the movie.

I'm jealous of your travels, as well, Amichai. It truly sounds like you have accumulated many wonderful memories from your childhood. The sunset in Jerusalem sounds lovely. Perhaps one day, I'll get to visit. Not even for religious reasons (as I'm not in that headspace), but for the sheer beauty of its history.